Looking for a spot to enjoy an initially polite to potentially boozy first date? How about a low-key dinner or even a wild night out? Never fear—we have you and your lucky date covered. Check out these hot date spots in Oakland, CA.
1. Caña Cuban Parlor and Cafe, Grand Lake
Planning an afternoon stroll around Lake Merritt with a crush? Take them to Caña afterward to grab a delicious bite and a yummy cocktail. Never tried Cuban food before? Don't worry, this is a great opportunity to display your sense of culinary adventure and delight your taste buds with both meat loving and veggie options that have hints of heat and complex, rich flavors. You will not be disappointed.
Caña offers two dining options within one establishment, for a daytime date you will want to try out their cafe. Offering quick grab and go Cuban pastries, rocket fuel-esque Cuban coffees, indoor and outdoor seating options with a drinks, brunch, salads and sandwiches menu, you will feel like you've taken an express train to Calle Ocho!
May I personally recommend the Rum Fresca and Sandwich Cubano (shown above, #drool) and if you're looking for a lighter bite, the Empanadas are heavenly.
For a more formal experience, come back one evening and try their restaurant. Also, a word of warning/point of interest depending on your fancy, Caña is dance party central on Sunday afternoons and evenings. They sling bottomless Mimosa's while a Cuban band plays which sets a wonderfully merry, Sunday-Funday mood.
If you seek a quieter experience, try a Saturday. But if not, party on.
2. Bar 355, Uptown
Because sometimes, dates are less about the dining and more the wining or cocktailing. Some call it "Dutch courage" but to others it is simply having a good time, whatever your definition, you've got to check out this bar.
Awesome 1930s inspired interiors, a great cocktail menu - the gin with house-made tonic is my favorite drink in Oakland - and in a great spot right between Broadway and Lake Merritt, you'd be a fool not to take a date here.
This bar is also ideal for friend dates - as great as their long, gorgeous bar is for intimate conversations for two, they also have tables that are perfect for a small group catch up.
And, if you do begin to feel hungry, pop next door for a classy dinner...
Photo Credit: @Parlour_Oakland Instagram
3. The Parlour Oakland, Uptown
Right next door to Bar 355 (and owned by some of the same folks, nonetheless), this awesome spot opened up earlier this year.
Think clean white interiors, high ceilings, rustic-yet-modern dark wood furnishings with subtle, simple lighting and you have yourself a gorgeous setting for a date with someone you're looking to woo. Now add in delicious, just the right size portions of Italian favorites with a California twist and the date gods are seriously high-fiving you for this choice.
The Parlour serves a robust variety of dishes out of their wood-fire oven and boasts a killer domestic and international wine menu with beer and cocktail options if you're looking for not only top notch dining but libations also.
Our favorites include the meatball appetizer (pictured above, YUM), with any one of their salads and a seasonal pasta, fish, steak or chicken dish, straight out of their wood-fire oven - bellissimo!
4. Zachary's, Rockridge
So you guys have been together a while now, hell, you're probably totally comfortable wearing sweatpants around each other and Netflix binging - yay, it's love! If you feel like venturing out together and actually putting on a pair of pants to go and eat or, if you guys want the perfect pizza to accompany your movie night at home, Zachary's has you covered.
The epitome of a local, employee-first establishment, Zachary's offers salads and the finest stuffed and thin crust pizzas in the Bay Area. They also serve beer and wine if you're planning on eating in and fancy a beverage.
What more can we say? You're salivating, right?! If you, like us, want to head there for dinner or take out tonight, allow yourself plenty of time - this place gets busy, but it couldn't be more worth the wait.
If you are anything like us, there is no neat and tidy way to get down on a bowl of ramen.
Our enthusiasm and vigor cannot be disguised as noodles splash broth on the table (and our shirt) and audible "yumms" are uttered. Sometimes you just want to luxuriate in the eating of something messy and feel totally and completely comfortable with it.
On those nights we take a pal or two, or even ourselves, and not a first date to the Ramen Shop.
Photo Credit: @RamenShopOakland Instagram
The attention to detail in each dish is fascinating. If possible, try to be seated where you can see the kitchen.
You will witness an assortment of beautiful staff each with fabulous skin, hair and a bone structure to die for who all play a specific role in the creation of your meal.
From a striking fellow tending to the noodles to a stylish, statuesque woman massaging lettuce - it's a feast for the eyes as much as it is the stomach.
Seasonal ingredients and intense, complementary flavors are what make this place our favorite Ramen in Oakland. The cocktail menu, stylish yet low-key interiors and the fact they have an extensive vinyl collection and record player doesn't hurt either.