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Twenty years ago, no one would have believed that Oakland would be a culinary destination for foodies from all over the Bay Area (and further!) looking to get a taste of the variety and high quality that can be found there. And yet, the number of restaurants of every kind and color continues to grow every year. One, Commis, was even the recent recipient of a Michelin star. Would-be snobs from across the bay in San Francisco and in wine country to the north can deny it no more: the food scene in Oakland has arrived.
Oakland has long been known as one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., and that fact translates into equal diversity of cuisines. In Chinatown, there are restaurants from all over the Asian continent. Cantonese, Malaysian, and Vietnamese restaurants can all be found within a block of each other. Or eat at one of the Italian restaurants in town, of which there are many.
Another food trend unique to Oakland is the ubiquitous presence of food trucks, carts, and stands. Much of the city's best food can be found on one of these mobile eateries, and although they tend to be relatively inexpensive many are also downright upscale. Oaklanders and visitors alike mark their calendars for when their favorite stand will be in town. Many such places are Mexican joints where hungry patrons can order up some of the most authentic and delicious tacos that can be found north of the border.
And like all over the rest of the Bay Area, Oakland is home to a growing population of modern American and fusion restaurants that are putting a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. In northern California, this means a wide range of meats, fish, and produce regardless of season.
Don't forget to order a bottle of wine to wash everything down, too. Many restaurants have a decently-sized wine menus designed to show off the plethora of options that come from being in such proximity to one of the world's best wine countries.