Restaurant Report: Winter 2011

February 25, 2011

Wow, look at what happens when you take a few months off! Last time I posted on neighborhood restaurants was last May (good grief) and there’s been plenty happening since then. Here’s a very quick rundown of what’s opened or is opening soon in the ‘hood…

Temescal/Pill Hill

  • Homeroom, a new macaroni-and-cheese restaurant, is now open at 40th and Shafter. We have yet to try it but it sounds tasty and has been met with great fanfare—even my sister in Denver heard about it (though in fairness, she does work for the American Cheese Society, so it’s her kind of place!) Full report once we make it there.
  • CommonWealth has been open at 29th and Telegraph for a while now. Check out the details here. [Side note: One review of CommonWealth describes its location as “where Uptown meets Pill Hill.” Discuss.]
  • Remedy has been open since forever at Telegraph and 43rd, but I realized I forgot to include them in the last list. Which is bad, because they’re awesome!

Piedmont Avenue

  • Shimizu Sushi is now open at Piedmont and Echo. Haven’t been yet, but have heard good things!
  • It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve wandered down Piedmont, so I have a feeling I’m missing some changes. (Or maybe it really has been quiet?) Updates after we get a chance to walk down that way!

Grand Lake/Lower Grand

  • Ikaros (Greek) on Grand and Caña (Cuban, with a cabaret license, it looks like?) on Lake Park are both open as of this month. Yum! [Yes, I know the Ikaros link doesn’t work yet, but hopefully it will soon…]
  • Lin Jia Kitchen has been open on Lakeshore for a while now in the old L’Amyx space; still on the list of new places to try!
  • Room 389 opened this fall where the Golden Bear used to be.
  • Mimosa (at Santa Clara and Grand) has closed again after a brief revival, and is reportedly going to reopen under a new owner as a larger Ethiopian restaurant later this spring. Hopefully the third time’s the charm!
  • Sadly, Di Bartolo Café has closed, but happily,  Boot and Shoe will be taking over their space, expanding to include a patio and reportedly opening for brunch and lunch. Mmm doughnuts…
  • The Flip Side on Lakeshore, a project by the owners of Flavors of India, will be serving up gourmet burgers. (This is the old Adam’s location.)
  • Restoration of KwikWay on Lake Park is well underway at long last! Hoping they’ll be open by the summer, but that might be overly optimistic. Last I heard, the plan was still to do an upscale version of the old burger joint, but we’ll see.
  • Zoey’s Afghan Bistro has sadly closed, not too long after it opened.

Uptown/Upper Broadway

  • 3000 Broadway is now open at, umm, 3000 Broadway. Still haven’t been, but very curious!
  • Plum has been open for a while now, and is slated to open a bar soon. We checked it out when they first opened and are headed for a second visit soon, so I’ll write that one up soon.
  • Next door to Plum, the Punchdown opened quietly last fall in Franklin Square Wine Bar’s old space. Still need to check this one out too!
  • Next door to Mua, Nex is open. Check out the review here. (Can you tell how long it’s been since I’ve done one of these updates?!?)
  • Café Randevu is open too, just across the way from Mua and Nex. They have an eclectic menu spanning a number of cuisines.
  • Bar Dogwood, a new venture by the former owner of the House of Shields, is now open for  “cocktails and cured meats,” which is definitely up my alley! It’s at 17th and Telegraph.
  • Shuga Hill, the soul food truck-turned-restaurant that was originally eyeing a location at 29th and Broadway, has instead settled on a location at 27th and San Pablo that seems to be coming along nicely.
  • Xolo, the new taqueria from the Dona Tomas/Flora crew, is still under construction. Still. They’re also working on a bar in the space between Flora and Xolo.
  • Just up the street at 18th and Telegraph will be Oakland’s own branch of Brooklyn’s Weather Up. They’ll also be serving up cocktails and snacks.
  • Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café is opening its second location next-door to the Fox Theater. Apparently my wish for cocktails and brunch (no, not together…well, sure, why not together??) has been heard!

I think that’s it for now. I’ve undoubtedly missed a few openings and closings in these neighborhoods since I’ve been a bit out of the loop this fall and winter, so feel free to add them in the comments. And I promise to update this in a more timely manner next time around!



  1. re: Commonwealth, 29th and Telegraph is Pill Hill. If it were further south, it might be Northgate/Waverly (or Koreatown if you use that name), but not Uptown. My guess is they want to tap into the vibe of all the restaurants that have opened that are in Uptown.

  2. Yep, that’s what I’d say too. (In fact, I don’t think it’s on the border of anything—it’s squarely in Pill Hill in my book, given that 29th is all hospital-related in that block, and Summit is only a block away!) I should be clear that it’s not CommonWealth that’s making the Uptown claim, though—just a reviewer.

  3. I’ve heard good things about Disco Volante from various Oakland tweeters.

  4. @George–yes, me too; it’s on our list to try for dinner soon! For somewhat arbitrary reasons I don’t include Downtown, JLS, and Rockridge (or neighborhoods farther afield) when I do this restaurant rundown, just because there are other folks writing about those areas and they’re not easily walkable from where I live (though arguably I should include Downtown, since it’s not any farther from our house than the northern edge of Temescal!) But there are several great new or coming-soon spots in those neighborhoods, too.

  5. I was dismayed to learn that Flip Side, a trendy burger joint, was to occupy the site of Adam’s Burgers on Lakeshore, as I’d hoped for something healthy (and preferably vegetarian) to come into the neighborhood.

    A practicing Hindu, I’ve never eaten beef and having learned about the terrible environmental impact of the US cattle industry, not to mention the cruel treatment and unhealthy conditions that cows are forced to endure, I’m relieved that religion has kept me from being a beef consumer.

    Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the owner of this new burger place is also the Hindu owner of the Flavors of India restaurant chain. The sign may as well read: “Hindu Burger – Sacred Cow on a Bun”. I was further shocked to learn that this same individual was the owner of re4m – a store dedicated to ecological and sustainably sourced products.

    Like a Muslim-owned liquor store, sometimes personal beliefs and professed values take a backseat to entrepreneurial ambitions. But how can we expect integrity at the top when it doesn’t exist at the local level?

    I, for one, expect more from Oakland businesses and will support only those that put their money where their mouth is.

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