by victoria comment



last week you all enjoyed the post on umami mart in oakland that sfgirlbybay assistant editor rachelle dunn put together, we thought it might be about time to share more of oakland — also fondly referred to as oaktown. and right in the nick of time, maia mcdonald of the awesome blog conundrum, über pinner and art director at rue magazine offered to show us around oakland with her own little guide to the best of east bay, including where to dine. so, without further ado, i give you maia’s most excellent guide to oaktown!


Umami Mart.

Since moving to Oakland almost 2 years ago I’ve become a tad obsessed with my new home. People always rave about San Francisco, but little do they know that it’s slightly grittier neighbor to the east has some pretty amazing things going on. Don’t just take my word for it, not only was it ranked in the Top 5 Places to Visit by the New York Times last year, it also got top honors for the Best Climate, boasting more sunny days than Orange county. I could probably go on forever about everything I love about Oakland, from the breathtaking views when hiking in the hills, to the vibrant First Friday art and music scene. But for the purposes of this post I’ll stick to the revitalized restaurant and shopping scene. Below are just a few of my favorites in both categories and many of them are within walking distance of the Bart for those of you who are venturing over from San Francisco without a car.


temescal alley.


2214 broadway • oakland
A local favorite helmed by executive chef Manfred Wrembel. You can’t go wrong with their deliciously modern take on California Cuisine.

Ramen Shop
5812 College Avenue • Oakland
Don’t miss the newly opened Ramen Shop in Rockridge, but get there early because there is always a crowd! Created by Jerry Jaksich, Rayneil De Guzman and Sam White, formerly of Chez Panisse, they’ve taken the classic ramen to the next level with a menu that changes weekly featuring interesting flavors such as Meyer lemon and maitake mushroom.

2442 Webster Street • Oakland
Mua’s large cavernous industrial space in uptown Oakland is perfect for large groups. With great art, loud music, superb drinks and even better food, I find myself going back again and again.


mua, photographed by tim gatto at bit by zeus.

3917 Grand Avenue • Oakland
Wood fired perfection at Camino, with former Chez Panisse chef, Russell Moore at the helm.

True Burger
146 Grand Avenue • Oakland
True Burger takes a fast food burger to the next level. Specializing in house-ground beef patties served on homemade toasted egg buns, each bite is simple perfection!

Chop Bar
247 4th Street • Oakland
A great brunch option just a short ferry ride away from San Francisco.



Wood Tavern
6317 College Avenue • Oakland
A really great neighborhood spot serving up consistently delicious locally sourced California Cuisine in a comfy environment.

Donut Dolly
482 B 49th Street • Oakland
It really doesn’t get more indulgent than the fried treats at Donut Dolly. These donuts don’t have holes but instead are filled by hand with custom, seasonal flavors, such as raspberry jelly, salted mexican chocolate and lemon curd. To-die-for!

Beauty’s Bagel Shop
3838 Telegraph Avenue • Oakland
Beauty’s takes their bagel making seriously. Done in a traditional Montreal style, which includes hand-rolling them before boiling them in honey water and baking in a wood-fired oven. All I can say is the outcome is mind-blowing!


Atomic Garden.

1915 San Pablo Avenue • Oakland
If you really want a treat try Hopscotch’s yonsei oyster, topped with sea urchin, salmon roe and citrus soy!

Boot & Shoe Service
3308 Grand Avenue • Oakland
Scrumptious wood oven pizza and a killer brunch spot on weekends.

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Parkway • Oakland
What can I say about Brown Sugar Kitchen that hasn’t already been said? It’s classic chicken and waffles. They are heavenly! Go now! Just make sure to get there early.



Atomic Garden.

Atomic Garden
5453 College Avenue • Oakland
Atomic garden is a elegantly curated shop with everything from French stoneware to beautiful Turkish towels to some of my favorite stationery finds. I can always find the perfect gift for a friend here.


Atomic Garden.

Umami Mart
815 Broadway • Oakland
Specializing in Japanese kitchenware, Umami Mart has the most stunning items for the modern kitchen. An added bonus, they host a Ramen pop-up on First Fridays and carry bento box lunches on Tuesday/Thursdays.


Umami Mart.

Crown Nine Jewelry
461 A 9th Street • Oakland
Opened by local artisan Kate Ellen, Crown Nine specializes in the most beautiful handmade jewelry, not only by Kate herself but also by other local jewelry makers.


Crown Nine Jewelry.

Marion and Rose’s Workshop
461 9th Street • Oakland
A quirky little shop featuring art, jewelry and other odds & ends that I always find irresistible.

Ali Golden
470 49th Street • Oakland
Ali Golden creates locally produced fashion, that you will cherish for a lifetime.



482 49th Street, Suite A • Oakland
Another great jewelry store featuring amazing pieces by some of my favorite local artisans.


crimson horticulture, via Stephen Lam, Special To The Chronicle.

Crimson Horticulture Rarities
470 A 49th Street • Oakland
I could probably spend hours in this tiny store in Temescal Alley. With unique botanicals and everything you need to create your perfect terrarium or succulent garden, it’s awe-inspiring.


le Kube Studio.

le Kube Studio
5451 College Avenue • Oakland
le Kube has a great collection of new and vintage, European furniture all with a modern aesthetic.

1235 Grand Avenue • Piedmont
You no longer need to venture into the city for your high end fashion fix. With brands like Carven and Jenni Kayne, you can find that special piece that you’ll love forever.

• all photos by maia mcdonald unless otherwise specified. fox theater via Noah Berger, for the SF Chronicle.

37 responses to “oaktown.”

  1. Woowhoo! Oakland! It makes you want to move over here doesn’t it? When I lived on the Great Highway in my 20’s- I always came over to Oakland for the sun!.. Temescal Alley is the new best thing. That whole area when I was growing up in Oakland in the 70’s was very seedy. (x-rated movie theatre was the main attraction and hookers on street corners all times of the day.) It has improved 100% and is so refreshing to see this generation making strides all over the City. I love it..

  2. Some Oaktown love! Yay! What a great way to start the morning.

    Don’t forget the awesome Grand Lake Theatre especially when they have the Wurlitzer on Friday & Saturday evening shows; the Saturday morning Grand Lake Farmer’s Market; walking around Lake Merritt; good dim sum in Chinatown; and my new favorite bar, Room 389, at 389 Grand Avenue near the Lake. Order the “Red Poppy”!

  3. p.s. Plus the Lake Chalet’s happy hour, and you can rent kayaks for $12/hour and get your rowing on on the lake!

  4. Hi Victoria!

    Thanks so much for the mention! I really admire your blog so it’s truly an honor, and to be mentioned with so many great Oakland spots! I’m blushing. I hope more people get out and explore all there is to see in Oakland, it is one of my most favorite places in the world. Thank you for spreading the love. xo Kate Ellen

      • Oh my, Maia is the bomb! I’ll definitely reach out and thank her for putting it together, she is such a great Oaklander, always putting our unique city on the map.

  5. Oakland’s Own is a cool website for a curated list of things to do in Oakland for natives and visitors. There’s also google calendar of all the featured events so you can easily add them to your calendar.

  6. Oakland will always hold a dear place in my heart! I was married in that temple (in the first picture) 27 1/2 years ago. I grew up in San Jose but moved long ago.
    Wow. Those pictures and places look amazing. I’d love to go back!

  7. Oh this makes me so homesick! I only moved away last year, but already there are places I haven’t been to. Wood Tavern was our spot coming down the hill from Montclair.

  8. Oakland, has a special place in my heart. Downtown Oakland has a lot of charm. And the lake! Oh My! This post comes in so handy, I will be traveling to the Bay Area next week and can’t wait to visit some of these places that I somehow missed when I lived there. So much sprouting beauty! Yay! :)

  9. Maia we must be neighbors because you’re naming my weekly routine! Hawker Fare is also a great low-key but delicious restaurant. Oh and Pican is amazing!

  10. A photo of the restored Fox Theater, over the Mormon temple would have been better representation of the revitalization of downtown, and not the hills that hasn’t much in the way of economic downturn.. Or Grand Lake district where everyone hangs out.

    Former Oaktown resident, now a Philly girl.

    • all fixed. i am not an oakland local or i might have chosen a better representation that was not as controversial as the original. thanks for your suggestions.

  11. Uh, the public isn’t even allowed in to that temple. I understand it’s (sort of) picturesque (depending on your outlook), but it couldn’t have less to do with Oakland than any of the other great buildings here. But hey, maybe a bunch of tourists will try to go and leave the REAL sanctuaries to us locals.

    Also, Lorenzo Hoops, former president of Oakland’s LDS church, and former board member of the Paramount Theatre (he was asked to leave) donated a cool $26,000.00 toward the Proposition 8 campaign. in 2008. Just thought you’d like to know about what LDS is actually up to in this fair city we call home.

    • i had no idea it was a church of any kind. my mistake. for some reason i thought it was the city hall so my bad. i feel like any church seems a bit offensive to some of you so i’m changing the photo. i did not mean to make this post political in anyway. it was simply a pretty photo.

  12. I can’t believe she left out the lovely new Lesley Evers shop on College Ave! Amazing local designer and she even personally fit me for a dress. Great tour otherwise. The coolness of Oakland is often overlooked by our SF neighbors!

  13. Nice work. To this great guide to Oakland, I’d add my other fav’s: Oakland Surf Club, Maribel Oakland, Cosecha and Flora restaurant & bar. I split my time between NYC and Oakland and there’s no place like Oakland, not even Williamsburg.

  14. What a great guide, hear lovely things about Oakland and so want to go there now!
    That’s our Cabin Deck Chair at Atomic :) Such a super store…

  15. These photos make me want to stay in Oakland! We are coming west this summer, first time (family of 5 from CT)… We might have to put Oakland on the itinerary! Thanks for the beautiful post :)

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