HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Duende in Oakland

So, Paul Canales new place, Duende opened officially in Oakland this week. My friends are already praising it to the rafters (and I'm mad that I couldn't join them).

Who can give us the chowhound version?



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Spanish / Basque menu looks good. Ten wines on tap. Full bar.

    There's a link to yesterday's menu buried on the reservations page.


    1. Pretty place with a lively atmosphere. Good noise control, at least along the west wall where I was sitting. Tried a bunch of tapas.

      Trotters and cheeks ($8.50) were fried cakes, crunchy on the outside and unctuous on the inside, similar to items I've had at Bocadillos and Incanto. Remoulade or something similar was a nice foil to the rich meat.

      Pork tongues and ears ($10.50) were braised and served warm with a frisée salad and a spicy sauce.

      Sobrasada ($11.50) was sort of similar to 'nduja, sour and a little spicy, tasty.

      Stuffed piquillos ($12.50) were surprising, filling was lamb with currants and pine nuts with Moorish seasoning, juicy and meaty.

      Buñuelos ($11.50) were mostly shrimp loosely held together by a tempura-like batter, very nice.

      Some very good wines on tap. I particularly liked the Andrew Lane Napa Gamay, which I see from Googling is true Gamay Noir from Napa, not "Napa Gamay" now called Valdiguié.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Like most of those reporting on this thread, I was very pleased with the food and service on my visit with hubby and two friends over the holidays. However, must disagree on the 'good noise control', at least on our visit. We also sat along the west side, and it was impossible to even hold a conversation. Given the quality of the food and the drink options and the style of the place, that otherwise encourages lingering, that was a real disappointment. There was a show upstairs that (Sunday) night, and I think we happened to go on a night when the show was particularly loud and jarring. Since there is often music Sunday nights, I'd check the line up and ask questions about the nature of the band before going back.

      2. It's got a really nice coffee and wine shop attached to it too. And, bless their little hearts, it opens at 7:00am every day so I can pop in there on my way to work.

        Spanish only wines available in store or for takeout by the bottle. Great pitstop for a night out or for arriving really early to a reservation.

        1. Good food and communal atmosphere inside. The lighting was rather low and several people were using the light from their iPhones to read the menu. Small but extremely flavorful portions--to simplify, it's gourmet tapas, so it's to be expected.

          Absolutely amazing interior! High ceilings, exposed structural members, dark wood tabletops, unique lighting fixtures.

          Txiperones: salad with fried whole baby squids (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside), delicate frisee, a gooey runny egg yolk, and a tomato-based dressing. Mixed all together, the crunchy-gooey-salty mash up was quite an exciting opener.

          Perbots farcits: half salad, half stuffed pepper dish. An herby, earthy mix of arugula, pine nuts, and shaved onion tossed in olive oil, next to two charred peppers concealing cumin-spiced lamb inside. The contrast in textures but the match in flavor turned a simple bite into a memorable dish.

          Albondigas: four pork meatballs, each 65% leek and green garlic, so lighter than usual. The broth was full of umami; comes with bread to soak it all up.

          A few local beers on tap, but otherwise a good selection. Ici ice cream was featured on the dessert menu--Canales' wife owns Ici.

          4 Replies
          1. re: acetaminophen

            I went in last night for drinks after dinner and the bartender said the kitchen had broken down a pig that afternoon and the chef was making headcheese.

            1. re: acetaminophen

              sounds great - 4 of us are going this Friday. One eats only fish/seafood - are there enough options?

                1. re: acetaminophen

                  thanks, that helps - looks like it should be no problem.

            2. I understand they have sherry brandy. I had it years ago in Barcelona. It was great. I mean to go try it soon.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zenki

                There are any number of brands of Brandy de Jerez available here . . . what kind are you looking for?

              2. I stopped in the other night, and I think I'll only go back either just for drinks, or if someone else with a deep pocket is paying. The food was good, but oh boy were the portions minuscule. We got the crispy squid, the bruleed goat cheese salad, the little gems/avocado salad, the patatas bravas, and the albondigas. All of the first three were good, but so tiny it was hard not to feel fleeced at the $10-$12 prices. The best thing was the little gems/avocado salad, the piquillos were really the star of it. The albondigas were okay, but had a kind of weird texture to me. The patatas bravas were great, though.

                The drinks were really good, I'll definitely go back for cocktails and the wine list. And the house made sodas were fantastic.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JasmineG

                  How many people were you with? The tapas portions I've had have seemed quite ample for two. The ribeye was a lot for the money.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    There were three of us. We ordered five dishes (four tapas and the albondigas) and left all a little hungry. Which, that's fine if it's one of those places where you have to order a lot more, but that makes it pretty expensive.

                    Though I do really want to go back for the ribeye with a group of good meat eaters.

                2. we loved our meal friday night. we shared the "small" rabbit and snail paella, the lamb-stuffed piquillo peppers (maybe my fave), patatas bravas, rabbit rilletes, pulpito and pork belly and a salad i don't remember... everything was wonderful, service was warm and very attentive, and we were stuffed. we had two bottles of wine, Priorat, and the sommelier gave us tastings of another wine, same grape. wonderful! i'd definitely go back.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    folks who like Spanish wines who go to Duende apparently need to ask for the actual wine list, or just go next door to the bodega section for a more detailed survey. when we went there, the wine menu wasn't left for our perusal with the regular carta, the m.o. in most places ; the dinner menu does have a fair amount of interesting wines on it. ignorant of the actual wine selection, we'd brought a bottle of excellent J.Gil Jumilla, and looked at the bodega after we'd already ordered. no worries, the wine guy at the bodega likes the wine we brought so much that he served it for his wedding, but there wasn't really a wine like it in his shop.

                    did not 'feel fleeced' with the modest portion sizes, because the flavours were vivid and rich, the ingredients clearly top notch and fresh. the bites may have been modest in size and number, but the satisfaction erased the quantity consideration. the txiperones we had were worthy of a tempura master, taken to another level of richness with the egg, the goat cheese salad a delicious twist on the usual convention, the pig ears satisfyingly unctuous, the croquets from pig trotter, crisp, delicate and complemented perfectly with fresh greens.

                    service on a busy Sat dinner was as good as anywhere in this area within our experience, which also makes the tariff completely acceptable to me.

                  2. Tried a few new things.

                    Fried squid with frisée and egg, kind of a twist on salade au lardons, really good.

                    Herring coca (crunchy flatbread), kind of like a tostada, good but a little sweet for my taste.

                    Brandade, very good. Came with olive bread toasts with red pepper paste, they were good but a bit too complicated with the brandade, which went better with plain bread.

                    Paella with asparagus, artichokes, favas, fried eggs, and rocket, very good. I wouldn't usually order a vegetarian paella but they didn't have one with much seafood.

                    Saw part of a free show upstairs, they need to work on the lighting. Acoustics aren't great.

                    1. Just wanted to say that this is a good place for a big group. We went with 10 people. They have a large table that can accomodate a group of this size, and they do a chef's choice tasting menu. The amount of food was more than abundant, and we got to taste a wide variety of things. They'll accomodate special requests as well. Very good sangria, and the arroz negro was really excellent.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: merylnet

                        I liked the arroz negro I had OK but I prefer the version at Barlata. Cuttlefish seems essential to me.