Sometimes overshadowed by San Francisco’s buzz and Berkeley’s counterculture, Oakland’s beauty comes from its diversity. There are few places in the world where you can find a salsa club, Victorian-style home, an eclectic clothing store, and a Buddhist meditation center on the same block. Serving as a bedroom community for San Francisco until the 1940s, Oakland’s rapid industrial growth invited a mosaic of cultures. Today, it’s a hub with a vibrant restaurant scene where creative culinary energy awaits within a few minutes of the FBO storing your private jet.
Where to Eat Near the Oakland Airport
A few miles from OAK, on Park Street in Alameda (the island just north of the airport), Yume Sushi is such a local secret that it doesn’t even have a website. In fact, patrons are forbidden to take photos of their meals. You’ll find the family-run establishment tucked away, almost hidden, on the second floor of a building. As its name implies, Yume specializes in sushi. The small details transform what would otherwise be ordinary seafood into little bites of heaven that melt in your mouth, prompting you to order more. Chef Hideki, for example, bases his decision on where to purchase fish on international weather to guarantee that the items on your plate are as fresh as possible. Those who eat at the eight-seat omakase restaurant advise arriving in person just before noon to secure a reservation for one of its three evening seating times, as you cannot make reservations over the phone. It’s also a good idea to call the restaurant before making a reservation in the early afternoon to ensure that it is open.
Located in a humble storefront in the Piedmont area, Commis is the only restaurant in the East Bay with Michelin stars. Rather than give you a menu that allows you to see what you have to look forward to for the fixed eight-course meal after you’re seated, Chef James Syhabout presents it after your belly is full. It’s his way of ensuring that diners arrive with an open mind. Items that you might sample include roasted duck with walnuts and persimmons, warm tuber cake with cinnamon ice cream and white chocolate, abalone with young green garlic and chicory leaves warmed in ham fat and poached egg yolk with smoked dates and alliums in malt vinegar. When you arrive at the sophisticatedly simple dining room, prepare to be there for a while; the dinner service is about three hours long.
Oliveto Restaurant & Cafe
A renowned restaurant in the Rockridge neighborhood, Oliveto features Italian-inspired cuisine that focuses on simple fresh ingredients, whole animals, meats cured in-house, homemade pasta using grains from local farmers, and the region’s best wines. Aged wines are available with a 72-hour advanced notice to allow your vintage of choice to decant properly. When making reservations, ask for a seat in the elegant upstairs dining room, where the menu changes daily. If you find yourself in love with chef Jonah Rhodehamel’s culinary creations, place a to-go order online to enjoy the wonderful food during your flight.