OAKLAND, Calif. (TheStreet) -- Blame the influx of San Francisco chefs looking to cut their overhead: Oakland is experiencing a dining renaissance that's bringing cutting edge restaurants and quirky eateries to the Northern California city.
Several of the city's hot spots can be found in Jack London Square along the waterfront. The square will soon be home to the new outpost of Bracina, a new restaurant by Daniel Patterson, a Michelin-star earning chef at Coi in San Francisco.
The Waterfront Hotel is home to Miss Pearl's Jam House.
While you won't find a
hotel peaking above Oakland's mostly 1970s-style skyline, the
has emerged as an anchor of the square's hit shopping district. This laid-back hotel went through a complete renovation in late 2008. The hotel is home to Miss Pearl's Jam House, a haven for Creole comfort food.
Another restaurant defining the new Oakland dining scene is Camino Restaurant, owned by a former Chez Panisse protege who cooks a rotating menu of handpicked specialties on an open hearth. Dinners of provincial lamb dishes or homemade seafood paella are served on communal tables. Afterward, guests can step into Michael Mischer Chocolates for homemade truffles and caramels that will make you forget the word Ghirardelli.
Piedmont Avenue, an eclectic shopping street of mom-and-pop tobacconists and ceramic stores, is home to an independent cinema and comic book store. The street is also home to Adesso, a delightful wine bar whose raves can be heard far beyond its modest gray dining room on the ground floor of a new condo complex. There, locals seek out one of the seven homemade pates and 33 salumis created by Chad Arnold, who uses them to create platters of antipasti and rolled flat breads stuffed with cheesy prosciutto concoctions.
Further down Piedmont is Commis, one of Oakland's hottest and most-ground breaking eateries. Under a crisp white awning, this sleek dining space features an exposed, galley-style kitchen that faces a six-seat bar. Chef James Syhabout is one of California's most acclaimed chefs, training at two Michelin star-holding Manresa, following stints at Spain's El Bulli and England's Fat Duck. The result is a menu of cod with sweet corn curd, seared duck with sugar plum sauce and sirloin grilled with wild anise and parsnip. It's surprisingly affordable for a high-end restaurant, with a three-course prix fixe menu for $59 or $88 with wine.
After a night out, visitors should tuck into local watering holes such as Egbert Souse's on Piedmont or the trendy Kingman's Lucky Lounge on Grand Avenue. Kingman's Lucky Lounge is a grown-up dive bar that's lined in rococo mirrors and flirty locals, who listen to DJs spin reggae, jazz and funk till the wee hours of morning.
Reported by Michael Martin of JetSetReport.com in Los Angeles
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.