Located along a quiet stretch of Washington Street in downtown Oakland, Caffe 817 — under the ownership of Scott and Emily Goldenberg — offers a European cafe experience with meals worth the relatively high prices. Loyal customers come back for the delicious Italian flourishes in breakfast and lunch offerings, with daily specials that appeal to the palette, the eye, and, when read aloud, to the ear — “Roasted pork shoulder sandwich with arugula and aioli.” The service, though sometimes slow, is solicitous, and the baristas make impressive coffee art, as worthy of display as the latest art show on the walls. On a sunny day, sidewalk seating under umbrellas perfects the experience. Bottled beer and wine selections vary with the season.
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a weekend brunch.
The latest outpost of Daniel Patterson’s burgeoning empire fails to match the hype, despite the star power of “it” chef Kim Alter (Ubuntu, Manresa). The Jack London Square post-warehouse design has some cool touches, and much of the menu is plated beautifully. Yet service often falters, many dishes are served with basic errors, and other items are overwrought and fussy. It’s possible that Haven may streamline its service and menu issues, but at price points this high, no one wants to play the guinea pig.
This cocktail lounge/hipster hangout/sports bar serves a menu of ambitious global cuisine that changes countries every eight weeks. The cocktails are complex and carefully crafted; the setting is an attractive mix of brick, dark wood, objets d'art, and firelight; and the Old Oakland setting can't be beat.