A Cote isn't necessarily a secret: It's been known as one of the best restaurants in the Bay Area for years,collecting accolades from Bon Appentit, Esquire, and The New York Times for its exquisite small plates. If the danger of visiting tapas restaurants is that your bill fills up long before your stomach, the secret is to visit A Cote for late drinks and order a couple of iteams a la carte, like the famous mussels or the pommes frites.
Located in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, Barclay's is popular for its extensive food menu and thirty beers on tap. Its outdoor patio is pet-friendly and often crowded on warm evenings. Inside, darts and TVs keep drinkers occupied.
Ben & Nick's is the perfect place to catch up with friends, with loads of tables of varying sizes, a long bar ripe for hunkering down for a few hours (and pints), and a variety of beer on tap that changes daily (as well as a full bar).
For great coffee a short walk from the MacArthur BART station, Cafe Dejena fits the bill. Prices are reasonable, there’s free wireless, and the decor is bright and welcoming. The menu is a mix of Eritrean, Italian, and standard American food.
Soul food is a tradition for the Dorsey family, and their bar and restaurant serves it up seven days a week. The lounge has table service and plenty of seating at the bar. Dorsey’s hosts a spoken-word and comedy open mic on Tuesdays, karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays, DJs on Fridays, and live music on Sunday evenings.
Celebrated for fresh and gourmet-style lunch fare, this small cafe ironically shares space with a convenience store. Although it may be somewhat disorienting to order a goat-cheese-and-arugula sandwich on Artisan bread while wire racks of candy and jerky loom in the near-distance, any cognitive dissonance vanishes with the first bite. Crunch into organic pesto, thick cucumbers, locally grown arugula, and know happiness. Like the superb and reasonably priced sandwiches, inspired smoothies feature healthy ingredients gathered from local farmers’ markets. No foodie should complain. Quality pastries served, organic and Fair-Trade coffee. Cash only.