Establishment neighborhood
2257 Broadway, Oakland
The buyer, Sherri, worked at Neiman Marcus for years, so she has pretty great and sophisticated taste. To stock her elegant, comfortable shop she travels to Paris, London, and New York to bring back the best of the shows (Marni, Preen, and Natasha Zinko to name a few). It's best to let her or a member of her knowledgeable team to take the reins and fill the fitting room for you, as more often than not, they can predict what you'll want before you know you want it.
Ramen Shop
5812 College Ave., Oakland
What's cool about this awesome little ramen shop is that it's the brainchild of Jerry Jaksich, Rayneil De Guzman, and Sam White—all three are Chez Panisse alums. So it's really no surprise that the food, though not super authentic Japanese, is prepared with insane skill. Everything on the modest menu, from the pickle plate to the squid fried rice to the Hokkaido buttercorn-miso ramen is legit, but it's the veggie ramen that really rocked our world. Be prepared for a longish wait as the 45 seats are filled up on a first-come, first-served basis.
Camino (Closed)
3917 Grand Ave., Oakland
Russel Moore has been running this lively, industrial-looking spot with his wife Allison Hopelain since 2008. The massive wood-fire oven is the focal point, both aesthetically and practically, as the majority of the dishes (oysters with absinthe, grilled king trumpet mushrooms, shellbean gratin) on the pared-down, constantly evolving menu pass through it. Check back often, as they sometimes do special edition culinary events. September, for example, brings with it Paella Mondays.
5008 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
The folks at Pizzaiolo value their suppliers as much as they value their customers—an obsession Chef Charlie Hallowell picked up during his tenure in the kitchen at Chez Panisse. And it's this belief in good ingredients (organic flour, responsibly raised wild stock from local ranchers) that manifests itself in some of the best casual food in Oakland: veggie-centric antipasti, incredible proteins, and pretty epic thin-crust pizza. Oh, and the breakfast is not to be missed.