Duende

4.4
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1055 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Spanish
Duende is a Spanish-inspired, neighborhood restaurant located in Oakland’s Uptown district, featuring a modern and casual dining experience, a cutting-edge cocktail program, and an inviting Spanish-based wine program including more than 20 sherries by the glass!
What 1055 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JM
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Maybe. My colleague and I ordered two appetizers that were both delicious. I then ordered the carne paella. It was quite tasty although the the overwhelming flavor was olive. I was surprised at how little meat there was in the dish. It was supposed to feed two people and cost $52. I could not make out what was in it except for some broad beans and about 8 tiny clams on the shell. The chicken was barely enough to add up to one leg. The other meat was unrecognizable. The rice on the pan was about a half inch thick. For the price, I was expecting nice pieces of sausage and hunks of chicken and maybe a shrimp or two as is the case with most paellas. I was disappointed. I'd never had a paella with so little protein.

S
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We were very pleased with Duende from beginning to end. The service was prompt and patient with our need to order in a phased manner. Cocktails were excellent. We especially enjoyed the fact that we could actually have a conversation with our friends.
The main that we had was delicious - thin pasta wrapped around corn, mushrooms cheese with a great cheese topping - couldn't have asked for more.
We will definitely be back.

MR
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love this place! The squid ink paella is enough of a reason to go on its own. The cocktails are always refreshing and on point. The tapas change a lot and always bring some fresh, new flavors. The staff is very friendly and attentive too.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love thw food, ambience, and service.

CC
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Our reservation was all ready for us, and when it turned out one of our party was not coming the restaurant was very accomodating in seating us at a smaller table. Service was outstanding, the waitress was friendly and very helpful in advising us in ordering enough food. We ordered small plates and I found it just meh. It was one of the hottest days in Oakland and the restaurant has no ac or fans, so it was pretty darn warm and stuffy. It is just across from the Fox Theater so it was handy for our evening plans.

F
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great, service was polite but rushed, it was an extremely hot day in Oakland and there is zero air circulation soooo yeah, it gets kinda uncomfortable.

c
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Conveniently located 1/2 block from the Fox Theater, Dundee is a great pre-show spot. Friendly, professional service. Nice selection of tapas. Our favorites were the patatas bravas with a smoky sauce, the grilled zucchini and the hamburger. I had been sick so couldn't enjoy a cocktail, but my tonic and soda with cucumber saved the day - refreshing and festive.

A
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We stopped in for dinner before a show a the Fox Theatre, and were thoroughly impressed with the food, service and ambiance of Duende! Service was attentive and efficient, and met our theatre timelines. Food was good - potatoes bravas, shrimp, chilled soup and olives. Simple and delish!

This will definitely be a go-to before every Fox show!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was really tasty. My friend and I shared two tapas and one entree-the fried chicken. Our server was really nice. We had two drink each. Right across the street from the Fox where we were seeing a concert. $120 for two people who had two drinks each and tipped 20%. I’d go back!

GR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great food and service at Duende. If you have not been here yet, what are you waiting for?

DR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

You’ll find wildly mixed reviews of Duende everywhere you look— and for good reason. Depending on which personnel you interact with, service can be friendly and professional, aloof and condescending, or just plain snotty.

But let’s start with the positives: cocktails at Duende are consistently top notch. The drink order for our party included a Cosmo and a glass of Chardonnay. The bartender rolled his eyes a bit (not sufficiently on trend?) and pronounced he had neither Chardonnay nor cranberry juice. Just as I was ready to deliver the bad news to my friends, he seemed to come around a bit. He told me he could whip up “something similar.” I was skeptical, but both substitutions were stunningly good. The carne paella, too, is wonderful, with a well developed socarrat and generous dollops of aioli (I had the pasta paella on a prior visit, and was disappointed). The bomba rice here has remarkable depth of flavor. Our waiter couldn’t have been more pleasant, and it was easy to overlook some forgetful moments considering how busy he was.

In general, the tapas are less successful. Patatas bravas are perhaps the one Spanish side with which the average California diner will come armed with expectations, so they need to be done correctly. And that means crispy! Alas, these were more akin to what one might expect when ordering home fries from the corner cafe. The shrimp brochette and the zucchini were similarly forgettable. Among the tapas, only the squash blossoms (ironically the trickiest preparation) really stood out.

While its imaginative interiors and location (across from the Fox Theater) might mean Duende will never have to try particularly hard, uneven service continues to bedevil this place. The pre-concert crowd Saturday night meant those of us waiting for our reservations to come due were standing with tucked elbows. When one member of our party was caught staring longingly at the empty tables cordoned off near the bar, a staff member suggested we ask the ho

J
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

My first experience with Duende was great, which is why we came back. Unfortunately, this last time was a terrible experience and we won't be back. First, the temperature was unbearable - too hot on an already very hot day. Even if they open at 5:30, they should kick in the air before they open (not actually sure they had air conditioning). While our server was nice enough, he was completely unknowledgeable about drinks/alcohol. We asked for spiced rum and diet coke, and he informed us that they don't have that brand, but suggested Wild Turkey (NOT a rum). He showed us a menu and they had Appleton's but then told us they were out. He brought a white rum to taste as it was all they had (no amber rum). My husband decided it was fine given his only option. He was served that and a regular coke. By 6:42 they 'ran out' of diet coke.

For me, I asked for a pinot noir and he said they don't have pinot noir, but since I wanted a heavy wine like cabernet, he'd suggest (another wine they had). Again, pinot noir is the opposite of a heavy/cab. Given this, we were reluctant to take his advice on anything. On the bright side, the wine I ultimately chose was delicious.

The food: we had a hard time choosing as we didn't feel the tapas selections offered enough variety. We decided on a shrimp dish, and a goat cheese dish to start. We received 4 grilled shrimp left on the skewer laid on top of one long slice of bread, topped with a 'salsa' of peppers and tomatoes. The flavor was delicious, but we had to massacre it to get it off the skewer and then butcher the bread to cut it with our given steak knife. Would have been better to a) not have it on the skewer, and b) have the break presliced. The marinated goat cheese was delicious but did not come with any bread (only slivers of croutons which were like a garnish). I asked for bread to go with it and was charged for it = bizarre. My husband ultimately ordered the burger which he said was delicious.

In

a
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Thoroughly enjoyed our meal before the Bryan Ferry concert the other day. Excellent service. Fine food — though overpriced (like what isn’t in the Bay Area). Very noisy — which prepared us for the concert. What a great bonus.

BG
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent food and creative presentation. We ordered from the “top half”of the menu (tapas, etc.), but the various paellas we saw being served looked equally good. Next time we’ll try one of those!

W
San Francisco
47 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was creative and tasty although a bit pricey for the portions provided. Nice original mixed drink options
Convenient location to get to the local theaters so worth the extra expense

MA
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

LOVE IT!!! Definitely will return when we visit Paramount Theater. Food was fantastic and well priced. Thoroughly worth it.

AZ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Pre-show at the Fox

N
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent food, enjoyable ambiance, good service and very convenient to Bart and Fox Theatre.

B
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Duende was the perfect choice for dinner before waking across the street to a concert at the Fox Theater. The location was great as was the food and service. So glad we started with the crispy potatoes (Patatas Bravas) as our opening small plate. We continues with additional Tapas but wish we had ordered the Basque styled fried chicken (Pollo Frito a la Vasca) that we noticed at a neighboring table. Next time, we'll order the chicken!

S
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I heard about Duende on Check Please Bay Area several years ago, and learned they serve Paella. We had the Paella de Carne. It was wonderful. We ordered the Ensalada Roma—it was delicious. The tart was delicious too. We will be back. Loved it. Perfect for the Fox Theater. Great service staff.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nicholas was great!! Definitely coming back

BB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything we ordered was perfect in stunning flavors and the servers were always available without being intrusive. I give this place 5 stars!

DW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place! Amazing staff and stellar food. A perfect spot for intimate and fun dinner :)

k
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

The restaurant was not crowded and our drinks arrived 20-25 minutes after we ordered them and one was wrong. Food order was also screwed up. Manager stepped in way to late to apologize. To many great restaurants in Oakland to return to Duende.

s
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great time. Been here four times in 2019, and three in 2018.

KS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Food was mediocre.
My favorite is the black rice paella. There were some pieces of fish like an afterthought!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Consistently great food!

DS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Our server was unattentive, in fact not very friendly. We let him know we had a show to go to (and were there 90 minutes before. He let us know there were "16 burgers ahead of ours." So, we cancelled and while management apologized this was still not a great experience. They can do better for their price point and atomosphere.

JP
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Duende is the perfect spot for a gourmet Spanish meal, particularly before seeing a show at the Fox or the Paramount. There were several nearby places to park for only $5 with Spot On. We like the open, spacious dining area, and the staff is very friendly and helpful as well as knowledgeable. The patatas bravas and Basque friend chicken were tangy and delicious, and the wine was good and quite reasonable. We shall return for sure.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

They need air conditioning, it’s always too hot inside!

PF
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Food was good, not great. Server was very good. Place is ‘hip’.

MM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

You walk in and feel the welcome. You sit amid people who are celebrating the enjoyment of food and eating. Then you get to select and enjoy great food from a very solicitous staff. We enjoyed patatas bravas and Paella Carne and my only regret was the crust wasn't thick enough; always want more. Cannot wait to go back and have already told a number of friends to get there, or better yet, go with us!

j
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

The atmosphere is really nice and not too loud. The happy hour drinks were good and reasonable. The food was good but pricey with small amounts of food. I'm a hungry person and if I pay $15 for something, it should fill me up and those plates did not.

VA
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Very good food if not a tad pricey. The squid ink paella was worth waiting for. The booth was comfortable...a little noisy as Sat evening wore on, but good festive energy.

JM
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

The experience was nice, but the food was subpar. In addition, I ended up spending 200+ for tapas, and an entree that wasn’t good. I could have take my out of town guests to so many places with the same great ambiance, but with better and less expensive food. I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone, and I’ll likely never go back.

MT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good ambiance, food and reasonable prices, makes this restaurant a local gem. Perfect location to dine at prior to attending a show at the Fox Theater across the street. I will be again back!

SK
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

Only if you’re desperate for an easy meal or drinks before a show at Fox. Definitely don’t go for the food.

LS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service at Duende was excellent! We ordered drinks, tapas, and platters and each item was just as delicious as the last.

y
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Duende is an exceptional find in the heart of downtown Oakland. The cocktails are very special and crafted with care. The tapas are pretty good too.

LP
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

great food, great ambiance and service was excellent

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