One of the most striking things about Mockingbird, a California-style bistro in Uptown Oakland, is how grown-up the place feels: smooth jazz on the speakers, tied curtains in the window, and candles and fresh flowers on every table. If ever a restaurant was tailor-made for “date night,” this is it. The food is straight-up Northern California cuisine, with a menu that takes detours to Asia and the Middle East. Best of all, the prices are exceedingly reasonable: a complete meal — a big hunk of meat and generous sides — for less than $20. Favorites include the Asian-inflected crispy pork torchon (drizzled with house-made fish sauce caramel), the classic bistro steak and fries, and one of the most succulent roast chickens in the East Bay — served, in the late fall, with a Moroccan spice rub, pomegranate-studded Israeli couscous, and crispy Brussels sprout leaves.
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 5:30-10 p.m.
Cash, all major credit cards