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  • Mandela Partners

Your Favorite Bay Area Food Businesses of 2023

Updated: 3 days ago

This year, we asked you to shout out your favorite local food businesses. Here are the 83 amazing businesses you chose! Make sure to support them this holiday season and beyond.


Favorite Restaurants/Brick-and-Mortar Food Businesses

  • Baby Bean Pie – An artisan bakeshop that provides treats made with the superfood, Navy Bean, in a creative and wholesome way.

  • Bakesale Betty – Featuring fried chicken sandwiches, cookies, and pies.

  • Bombera – A restaurant “where the culinary ways of Mexico and California intersect with the environmental urgencies of our time.”

  • Brenda's – “A new New Orleans Kitchen.”

  • Damask Rose Coffee – “Family/women-run Coffee Shop Specialty Coffee.”

  • Gaumenkitzel – Organic German Slow Food, handcrafted with love and time.

  • Ghazni Afghan Kabobs – Specializing in Afghan food, specifically kabobs and rice.

  • The Italian Homemade Company – “Nonna certified” Italian Restaurants.

  • Kiraku – Authentic Japanese Izakaya

  • Lion Dance Cafe An “ ‘authentic not traditional” award-winning Italo-Chinese-Singaporean wine bar + market plates.”

  • Lovely's Burgers – Serving delicious burgers since 2018.

  • Ly Luck – Chinese restaurant serving Oakland since 1983.

  • Lulu – “A modern, fresh, and timeless California take on Palestinian cuisine.”

  • Mela Bistro – “Modern Ethiopian Cuisine is an intimate restaurant in downtown Oakland.”

  • Mint Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant – A family-owned restaurant featuring “Authentic Southern Vietnamese cuisine with contemporary influences.”

  • Nick's Pizza – “ ‘Oakland Style Pizza’ [that] focuses on the good stuff: quality ingredients, desserts, and bringing people together over a meal.

  • Otaez – “Authentic Mexican cuisine” in the Fruitvale District.

  • Los Olivos – A Salvadoran and Mexican featuring pupusas, tamales, and seafood.

  • Las Pacitas – Salvadoran Bakery in San Leandro, featuring pupusas made to order.

  • Paradiso – “A neighborhood culinary destination” in business for more than two decades.

  • Pho Ao Sen – “Where food and atmosphere become one.”

  • Popoca – Progressive Latin & Salvadorian food.

  • Que Onda! Taco Bar – “A traditional taco experience like no other.”

  • Ramen Shop Oakland – “Celebrating Bay Area ramen with California-grown produce.”

  • Romo's Cafe – “A place to eat, drink, socialize, and study.”

  • Seqouia Diner – “A community driven restaurant serving handmade, seasonal & organic food & drink.”

  • SFIzio – Oakland Pasta Shop which opened in 2023.

  • Shangri la Vegan – Delicious, organic, vegan food.

  • The Southern Cafe – Serving classic soul food to Oakland for decades.

  • Southie – Featuring classic American and seafood dishes.

  • Tacos el Paisa – An East Oakland institution featuring “Tacos, Burritos, Tortas quesadillas platillos.”

  • Tacos Oscar – “In the alley” on 40th St. in Oakland, featuring “tacos y más.”

  • United Dumplings – “Combining the rich flavors of traditional Asian dumplings with a California-inspired twist.”

  • Vienten on Allendale – “The best down-home Laotian food” with a “soulful dining experience.”

  • Wahpepah's Kitchen – Owned by Crystal Wahpepah – from Oakland, and the Kickapoo tribe of Oklahoma.

  • Xiang Yuen Xiao Long Bao – A Chinese restaurant serving “tasty products” and a “wide range of flavors” with love.

  • Zachary's Chicago Pizza – Serving Stuffed Chicago Style pizza since 1983.


Favorite Places for Drinks (Coffee, Cocktails, Mocktails, etc.)

  • Bar Shiru – “The Bay Area's first hi-fi vinyl listening bar,” serving craft cocktails and spirits.

  • Berkeley Bowl – An independent grocery store that “sells organic and natural products and is known for its extensive produce section.”

  • Brewja Coffee – Latina-owned coffee shop with locations in Oakland and San Lorenzo.

  • The Chocolate Dragon – “Bittersweet Cafe and Bakery” serving chocolate and treats for 17 years.

  • Coco Cabana – “A unique dining experience inspired by the majestic flavors of all Latin American countries.”

  • Creative SIPS – "Boba milk tea, craft coffee and all natural smoothies."

  • Delah Coffee – “Authentic Arabian Coffee” in San Francisco.

  • Drexel – “Friendly Local Bar with Great Cocktails.”

  • Friends and Family – A proudly “woman + queer owned business” serving dinner, drinks and dessert.

  • Hasta Muerte – Worker-owned, community-centric coffee shop in East Oakland.

  • Highwire Coffee – “An East Bay owned and operated coffee roasting and tea company that serves approachable, balanced cups of coffee, with warm, welcoming service.”

  • Kinfolx – Black-owned Oakland coffee shop.

  • The Lemonade Bar – “Freshly squeezed & frozen lemonades made with real organic ingredients.”

  • Low Bar – “An alcohol bar and food kitchen in Uptown Oakland.”

  • Mohka House – “Authentic Yemeni coffee delivered with love and passion.”

  • Prizefighter – Craft cocktail bar serving tamales and chips.

  • Red Bay Coffee – Bringing “beautiful Coffee to the People,” this Black-owned company has multiple locations and is in stores nationwide.

  • Rise and Grind – Locally owned and operated coffee shop with both Oakland and San Francisco locations.

  • Seasonal Sweets – Latina-owned Mobil Snack Carts serving Mexican Snacks and Mini Pancakes.

  • SIGNAL Coffee Rosters – “Delicious, satisfying, and uncompromising coffee” in Bay Area cafes and shipped worldwide.

  • Snappy’s Cafe Hayward – “Offering delicious coffee drinks made from locally-roasted beans, pastries, sandwiches, smoothies and more.”

  • Timeless – “Plant Based Coffee Roaster and Bakery” established in 2012.

  • Ultimate Grounds et Al Coffee & Tea – Oakland coffee shop operating for more than 20 years.

  • Understory – “A worker-led restaurant, bar and community space located in Old Oakland (Occupied Ohlone Territory)."

  • Vivoz Coffee – “Conscious, Cultured, Unorthodox coffee and beverages rooted in the Bay Area.”

  • White Horse Bar – “The oldest operating gay bar in the nation & your home away from home.”

  • Xochi the Dog Cafe – A community-oriented cafe in Oakland where dogs are welcome.


Favorite Food "Pop-Up" or Food Truck

  • Baby Bean Pie – "Artisan Bakeshop specializing in tasty treats made with the nutrition packed Navy Bean."

  • Bolita – “Masa para todos” made with Mexican, heirloom maíz.

  • Comfort Collective – “A San Francisco-based pop-up dining experience, showcasing the talents of Black Trans and Queer artisans.”

  • Kubé – “Artisanal, vegan, full-fat coconut ice cream” shipping nationwide.

  • Lojo’s Tacos – “Bay Area Breakfast Tacos.”

  • Mi Grullense #3 (Derby and International) – Taco truck with extensive menu and seafood options.

  • Mishmish – “Vegan Palestinian food pop-up in Oakland.”

  • My Friend Fernando – “Chicano pop up and supper club.”

  • Porch Party – “Down to earth nostalgic comfort food.”

  • Senior Sisig – Unique “filipino street food, freshly made.”

  • Tacos Sincero – “The Chino Latino Street Taco Experience.”

  • Understory's Saturday Pop-ups – “A worker-led restaurant, bar and community space located in Old Oakland (Occupied Ohlone Territory)."

  • Vegan Hood Chefs – San Francisco chefs turning “soul food and American style favorites into delicious vegan meals.”

  • YoYo Treats – Diana and partner Diego bring their favorite fresh Mexican street snacks to San Leandro (Ashland).


Favorite Place for Groceries/Specialty Foods

  • Berkeley Bowl – An independent grocery store that “sells organic and natural products and is known for its extensive produce section.”

  • Bombay Spice House – An Indian spice shop and “one-stop-shop for foods and goods from all over South Asia.”

  • Donut Savant – “Redefining donuts in Oakland California.”

  • Farmers Joe's Marketplace – Family-owned grocery store serving Oakland since 1994.

  • Grand Lake Farmers Market – Every Saturday, this market “features over 40 local farmers, 30 specialty food purveyors, and a handful of local artisans.”

  • Hayward Farmers Market – Every Saturday this market sells “ fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

  • Mandela Grocery Worker-Owned Cooperative – Worker-owned cooperative nourishing West Oakland “with healthy food, wellness resources, and collective ownership.”

  • Preserved Goods – “A culinary shop focused on traditional methods of preserving and fermenting.”

  • West Oakland Farmers Market – Every Sunday, from 10 AM - 2 PM on on 18th and Peralta.

  • Yasai Produce Market – Family-owned business in operation for more than 30 years.

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