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Jan 10, 2014 11:32 AM

Kingston 11 Cuisine in Oakland Uptown

Kingston 11 has stepped up from a Berkeley pop-up to opening a restaurant in Oakland's Uptown. Who's checked it out?

Kingston 11 Cuisine
2270 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 465-2558

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  1. Windy and I checked it out before a movie at the Paramount. It wasn't too crowded when we got there just after 6 on a Friday, but it seemed to fill in soon after. Short menu with about 6 main dishes and about 6 smaller dishes. Also a handful of mixed rum drinks on the other side of the menu.

    The music was loud - a bit of a bar type atmosphere. Not a place for quiet conversation.

    We shared the jerk chicken as a main dish and string beans and fish fritters as small dishes.

    We enjoyed the food. The fish fritters were nothing out of the ordinary, but came with a nice, green spicy sauce.

    The beans were nice and crunchy and had a good kick.

    Jerk chicken was rich and flavorful and smoky, though Windy thought they could have been spicier.

    We shared a slice of ginger and lemon pie for desert. It was a small slice, but had a rice flavor and rounded out the meal nicely.

    Service was very friendly. The owner came around and made sure we enjoyed our meal.

    They are not currently open for lunch, but I asked them if they planned to. They said yes and that hopefully a weekend brunch is in the works. Let's hope so.

    1. Had a chance to try it for dinner with a couple friends on January 21. I like what they're doing here using quality ingredients with Jamaican flavors at pretty reasonable prices. That said, my favorite thing was an offering from the rum bar, the Fern Gully cocktail, $9. As one who loves citrus-based, herbal concoctions, "angostura estate white rum, assam-cardamom syrup, grand clasico bitter, fresh lemon juice, served up with a cardamom sugar rim" was right up my alley. And the owner and staff are lovely through and through.

      Fish fritters were fried well, but too starchy for my tastes. I did like the vegan chimichurri served with it very much.

      And the highlight of the plantain app was the accompanying dipping sauce, vegan black bean dipping, as well. Wonder what spice is used.

      Black pepper tofu appetizer was too sticky and sweet for me.

      I would have liked the jerk chicken to be spicier too. I did appreciate the amount of smoke infusion, as too many examples don't feel grilled/smoked at all. Rice and peas were good. And we soon remembered the plantain overload of ordering at Jamaican places as the sides start to add up.

      Oxtails cooked down enough to release all the gooey goodness were very satisfying. We were sorry we missed out on the Thurs-Sat curry goat and will have to come back to try it.

      My return will be for a time that I want to have a rum drink accompanied by Caribbean flavors in better than average bar eats. Even on a Tuesday, the spot was more than half-full the whole time and this is a double storefront sized space. Tables seemed to turn quickly.