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Big O

When it comes to the Bay Area, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing things to do, see and try in Oakland. Similar to Brooklyn’s indie cred—especially in relation to the more corporate cosmopolis of Manhattan—Oakland boasts fantastic eats, intriguing shops and colorful street culture. I conspired with my friend Jen Murphy, the ever-curious Deputy Editor of AFAR Magazine, to get the lowdown on this port city, offering constant undercover cool.


Ramen Shop


Noodle Town

Three Chez Panisse alums opened this noodle shop, fusing Japanese tradition with California’s market-driven cuisine philosophy. It’s become a city-wide obsession and helped kicked off the current national ramen trend. I happen to also like some of the non-ramen dishes like the halibut tartare salad. Outstanding.

Hawker Fare

Hawker Fare

Street Smarts

This is the new casual spot from Commis’ James Shyabout. It’s all Southeast Asian street-food inspired dishes. Off the hook good.



Refreshing Refuge

This is the third project from SF star chef/restaurateur Daniel Patterson, which opened early last year in Jack London Square. Rising talent Kim Alter is at the helm; her food is light, yet satisfying. I’m told the Dungeness crab salad with blood orange and porcini crisp is divine, as is her bavette steak with roasted kohlrabi.





Sugar & Spice

A restaurant & bar, both owned by Daniel Patterson (the savior of Oakland’s food scene), Plum offers more of a fine dining whereas Plum Bar is a great happy hour spot for farm-to-table cocktails and delicious snacks. There’s even a live wall in one corner.



Owl N Wood

Owl N Wood

Best of Both Worlds

I still have to get here, but friends filled me in. This is a new Scandi-inspired clothing boutique. The owner is of African and Scandinavian heritage and constantly brings in eclectic new pieces.



Fox Theater

Fox Theater

Musical Revue

Classic Oakland. Formerly a huge movie theater, now a fantastic concert venue, which re-opened in 2009 after being closed for more than 40 years. Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, and Modest Mouse are all playing soon.


For more Oakland picks, check out the favorites of San Francisco Tastemakers and OfaKind.com founders Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, fresh in the latest issue of Travel Curator.

Happy Journeys!

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