“Oakland has always been very much about community,” says Ryan Sillers, captain at Haven and one of the guests at Charlie Parker’s friend-filled Thanksgiving. “You can feel that energy when it comes to the way food, drinks, and service are presented.” That sensibility extends beyond the walls at Haven to many of the city’s neighboring watering holes and restaurants. Here, the guests at Parker’s dinner party spilled on their choice spots to eat, drink, and hang out in one of America’s most rapidly evolving food cities.
Victoria Yang, Sous Chef
I’m new to Oakland and still discovering all it has to offer — I find it exciting and I love finding new places to eat and drink.
- I love the selection of beer at The Trappist, and their cozy atmosphere.
- Bún Mam Sóc Trang is a fantastic neighborhood spot that has delicious Vietnamese soups and an owner that makes you feel at home.
- Adesso has awesome house cured meats, cocktails, and wine. It’s first stop when I have out-of-town friends with me.
Hope Waggoner, Pastry Chef
I’ve only just moved to the East Bay from the City, but I’m coming to love it — people are doing really fun stuff out here.
- James Syhabout’s restaurant Commis has a quiet elegance, and I love the service there.
- I’m a big fan of our sister restaurant Plum, which my boyfriend and I frequent on Saturday nights after service to start off my weekend. The bartenders are lovely and warm (it helps we know them), we often are able to get there in time for some awesome grub, and the cocktails are always on point.
Gedeon Tsegaye, Cocktail Chef
Plum Bar has mad scientist cocktails and the highest quality barrel-aged cocktails you’ll find in the Bay. Although The Ruby Room near Lake Merritt is fantastic — sometimes you need a dark dive to brighten up your day.
Mary-Anne Rullan, Private Events Coordinator
I definitely see Oakland growing; from where Haven is in Jack London Square all the way up to Uptown, Oakland is completely night and day. I also like to eat everything in this town from tacos to brunch with oysters and rosé.
- I love Cosecha for Mexican, in the old Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. I was born and raised in San Diego, where I’m used to having Mexican food 24 hours a day, and it’s hard for me to find good Mexican food. Everything, from their handmade tortillas to a really amazing pork belly taco, I just love. They do this horchata latte, and it’s nothing I’ve ever tasted before.
- Bar Three Fifty-Five is really intimate. A lot of industry people go there, because it’s open late, and it has a relaxed atmosphere without being crowded. They’re known for making a bartender’s whim, using whatever liquor you’d like — I had a watermelon mezcal drink there on a whim.
- There’s a hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place on San Leandro called 4 Caminos. Again, I relate Mexican food with home, and they make homemade Mexican goodness that you crave early in the morning. They do amazing chilaquiles, as well as pozole on the weekends. It’s comforting food for me.
Ryan Sillers, Captain
The Oakland food scene has been on a steady rise for a while. Everywhere you go, you will find a spot where people are trying to bring you something special that they themselves care about and want to share with you.
- At Boot and Shoe Service, the wood-fired pizza is always delicious, the cocktails are inventive, and the occasional live bands make relaxing easy on a night off.
- Wood Tavern in Rockridge has become an institution in the community by demonstrating a perfect consistency of food, quality and service. I don’t know if it’s even possible to have a bad experience here!
Kim Alter, chef/owner of the forthcoming Nightbird Restaurant and Linden Room and opening chef at Haven
Oakland’s food and cocktail scene is up and coming; even though it’s sometimes overlooked, the restaurants here are on part with a lot of the restaurants in San Francisco and around the country.
- Hawker Fare is one of those restaurants which you could go to twice a week and be happy. Everything there is delicious and amazing.
- I love the setting at Juhu Beach Club. Everything has so many good flavors coming together to make cohesive dishes with nothing overpowering anything else.
Angela Neri, General Manager
Oakland’s food scene is definitely blowing up right now — it’s in the beginning stages of becoming a culinary capital.
- Nido is a Mexican restaurant around the corner, in our neighborhood. It has simple, great food, outstanding cocktails, and a fun vibe.
- Calavera is a high-end regional mexican restaurant that is brand new on Broadway, opened by really close friends of mine. The food is authentic and the cocktails and wine list extremely well-developed. My favorite dishes are the chili-chocolate braised goat birria with mezcal preserved cherries, and the fideo noodles in an heirloom black bean broth.
To experience Friendsgiving at Haven firsthand, catch our video below.
For more, including Charlie Parker’s Northern California “friendsgiving” menu, head to our Open Kitchen: Haven page.