Everything You Should Know About Oakland Restaurant Week 2024

Oakland, California is a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds. This shines through in its vibrant community and particularly in the wide variety of its restaurants. Thanks to living in San Francisco, I’m pretty spoiled when it comes to food and I sometimes forget how incredible the restaurant scene is out in Oakland. Not to mention, it’s just a quick BART ride over the bridge!

The Oakland restaurant scene is incredibly diverse. It blends together a mix of cooking styles, recipes and flavors that will excite any foodie. And especially those that want to get a taste of authentic cuisines that aren’t as common in the Bay Area. To give you an idea of just how diverse it is, residents in Oakland speak over 125 languages. You can taste that cultural richness in the wide range of cuisines offered in Oakland’s restaurants.

One exciting event that showcases Oakland’s culinary excellence is Oakland Restaurant Week (check out my post from last year). Started in 2010, it has become an hugely anticipated annual celebration in the Bay Area. From March 14th to the 24th, Oakland Restaurant Week highlights the city’s best dining experiences and promotes local restaurants. The city invites everyone to indulge in unique culinary adventures at special prices exclusive to this event.

Oakland Restaurant Highlights

During Oakland Restaurant Week, you can expect a variety of special offerings from over 155 participating restaurants and bars. They’ll feature everything from family-style meals to signature dishes, prix-fixe menus, seasonal tastings, and more. Among the participants are renowned spots like Bib Gourmand-rated Jo’s Modern Thai, FOB Kitchen, Lion Dance Cafe, and MAMA Oakland. In addition, Michelin-recommended places like Brotzeit Lokal, Barcote Ethiopian and Parche. Finally, James Beard-nominated restaurants such as Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Lion Dance Cafe and Burdell Soul Food. It’s a culinary adventure not to be missed!

Some of the best areas in Oakland to eat and drink include Jack London Square and Temescal. Featured restaurants include alaMar Dominican Kitchen, The Cook and Her Farmer, Crumble and Whisk, Dokkawbier, Snail Bar, Town Fare Cafe and more.

Click here to read my full Forbes feature on Oakland Restaurant Week, complete with quotes from some of The Town’s best chefs!

I spent a full day eating and drinking at Oakland’s top restaurants — here’s where we went and what we ate:

We started the day off with coffees and pastries at Market Hall Foods. This is a sprawling food hall thats been around since 1986 in the Rockridge Neighborhood. It features a bakery & cafe; a highly curated marketplace with fresh produce, butcher, winer seller and fishmonger; and even a lovely flower shop. From fresh pastas and prepared foods to cheese cut-to-order and specialty food items, it’s a great place for foodies to shop.

We started the day with a few lattes — one chai and one strawberry latte — and a sticky pecan bun and cheese bread. Check out Market Hall Foods Oakland Restaurant Week deal here.

From Oakland’s main street, Broadway, to the Berkeley border (which eventually takes you to the University of California campus), is College Avenue. This is the mile-long, easily walkable commercial heart of the neighborhood. This charming area features great boutique shopping that includes two bookstores, two record stores, gift shops, places to thrift and more. You could easily spend an afternoon eating, drinking and shopping in the Rockridge area.

Temescal, Oakland

Next, we took a short walk over to the vibrant Temescal neighborhood. Here you’ll fine one of my favorite Filipino restaurants, F.O.B. Kitchen. My family and I have been eating here for years — back when it was just a weekend pop up in San Francisco’s Mission District. Today, F.O.B. Kitchen is an award-winning Filipino restaurant helmed by chef and owner, Janice Dulce. It features a menu of incredibly flavorful, modern Filipino food and innovative cocktails. The space is lush, bright and welcoming.

F.O.B Kitchen is offering a $15 weekday lunch special and a super affordable $35 per person dinner special/ minimum two people. On the lunch menu, I tried the tocino, a sweet house made pork steak; longanisa hash made with house made sausage, potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic sour cream and fried eggs; and the crispy fried chicken with house fire sauce & house pickles. I love that these dishes come with garlic fried, sunny side up eggs and mixed greens. They’re the perfect brunch dishes!

I also got the chance to try their dinner special which, at $70 per couple, is such a great deal. We ordered the lumpia shanghai with pork, carrot, water chestnut and sweet chili sauce; jicama salad with mango, red cabbage, carrots and a soy vinaigrette; whole fried boneless milkfish with finadene; pancit sotanghon with glass noodles, red cabbage, green beans and soy sauce; and one of my favorite desserts, suman — a coconut sticky rice cake and mango.

These dishes were so flavorful — the textures, taste and overall vibrancy of them blew me away! The food is high quality, literally the best Filipino food. I can’t wait to come back!

We then spent some time in the eclectic neighborhood of Temascal, particularly at Temascal Alley. Located on 49th Street between Telegraph Ave. and Clarke St., this is a popular alley of trendy boutiques. Crimson Horticultural Rarities for succulents and rare plants and Ali Golden for designer clothes and fashionable accessories were a couple of my favorite shops.

Laurel District, Oakland

After that, we took an Uber over to the Laurel District to take a seat at Jo’s Modern Thai. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines and this contemporary restaurant didn’t disappoint. During Oakland Restaurant Week, Jo’s Modern Thai is offering a special dinner menu priced at $45 per person.

The dinner menu will includes vegan coconut cakes with sweet corn (the below picture has tom kha scallops and shrimp ceviche) and green onion or shrimp mousse toast with pork lard, Thai mayo, pickled shallots and cucumber plum sauce; massaman curry with potato, braised cabbage, roasted cauliflower, toasted coconut and rice or drunken noodles with bbq brisket, Thai basil, bell pepper and green peppercorn; and your choice of sweet blue sticky rice with mango sorbet and pandan rice crispies or Thai tea panna cotta with strawbery coulis, blood orange, raspberry, pistachio and rose petals.

I also tried the lobster pad Thai and the crunchy catfish salad with minced fried catfish, mango, avocado, cashews, herbs and fish sauce lime dressing. I wasn’t going to get the catfish salad, but the owner insisted, and it turned out to be a total highlight!

The menu, designed by Chef Intu-On Kornnawong (formly of of Khin Khao), offers creative Thai cuisine. Bold flavors and unique takes on traditional Thai dishes fill this restaurant’s kitchen. Every dish we had was packed with flavor and had me craving another bite. The ingredients and combination of flavors were outstanding and I can’t wait to try more of the menu next time.

Complete lists of participating hotels, restaurants, menus, special events, and reservations are available here

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Chelsea is a San Francisco-based journalist whose passion revolves around exploring the world, immersing herself in foreign cultures, and of course, eating and drinking everything delicious.

Her work can be found in TravelPulse, Forbes, INSIDER, SF Gate and more. She covers all things food, drink and travel and is always up for an adventure, whether that means an adrenaline-pumping excursion or trying a new cuisine.

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