Duende

4.3
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1109 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Spanish

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Pre/post Theatre
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 sherries by the glass!
What 1109 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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A
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience2

It was something new to do for restaurant week . Food was ok, nothing too special. We are on a mission to find the best paella. This wasn’t it. Waiter gave off a weird vibe and my daughter who has worked in restaurant industry and believes in tipping well did not tip well this time. It was freezing and I left my jacket on the entire time. We probably won’t be returning.

F
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We were reminded of our paella in Barcelona. Great cabbage salad. We loved the young and diverse servers, gentle and helpful. The down side was lack of decent heating system. We had to wear our jackets the whole Time!

TB
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Intrigued by Oakland Restaurant Week we paid our first visit to Duende and we're delighted. We ordered the Prix Fixe menu and were very satisfied. We had the black squid ink paella as the main and it was delish. The Savoy lettuce salad was an eye opener and the waiter's wine recommendation was spot on.
We'll be back.

OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience4

Slow service: we stay at our table after being seated for almost 10 minutes before anyone came to take an order or see if we had any questions or most importantly explain the menu. There were only 4 other couples when we got there and it was the start if their night. So, why the poor service?

Food: nothing mind blowing Or exciting. One taps we ordered was too salty. The other was a very plain and left we wishing it had been crisps or French fries rather that bland fried potato cubes.

Cocktails: meh.

We skipped dessert.

LS
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience4

We made reservations and still had to wait an extra 20-30 minutes without any updates and had to approach the host to inquire. Seen multiple 2tops (table for 2) get seated before us. At least 4 other groups who were not there before us.

Food wise! We had the Restaurant week menu, the starting salad is really good! Something I would order again. The squid ink Paella was good too but not sure if the fish on top was suppose to be extra chewy . Everything else is eh. Potatoes def over cooked.

Overall we spent over $150 for two- I don’t think it was worth it.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Restaurant week

C
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Drinks were very slow and the plates of food were too fast. We had three plates of food before the wine came. The food is really good.

t
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was PERFECT!!! Duede never disappoints!

TA
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The menu is broad, and we shared family style. Everyone found many dishes they enjoyed. We did not feel rushed by the waiter, and had a great reunion of friends and family.

H
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The new oyster appetizer is amazing! Very nice seasonal addition to the menu.

d
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience2

Loved our meal and our server was wonderful. BUT we sat upstairs and it was cold! We might have lingered longer & bought dessert if we all hadn't had to put on our jackets due to the chill.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall1food4service1ambience3

This review is mainly about the service. The food is always good here. My husband and I had gotten married earlier in the day at the County Clerk’s office and wanted to have a romantic dinner for two. When the server took our drink order, we told her we had just gotten married and wanted to celebrate with some champagne (we were also dressed up - me in a formal white dress and him a suit and boutonnière, but she didn’t ask if we were celebrating anything so we had to bring it up ourselves). She then asked if we wanted a bottle or glasses, clear that there was going to be no celebratory glass of anything on the house.

She then walked away and returned a minute later, pointed at me, and said “I’m going to need to see YOUR I.D.” I’m 29 years old but am never rude when people card me because I know it’s their job. However, the way she did it, coming back as an afterthought and asking only for mine, did not make me feel great. It felt like either she thought I was a 19 year old bride running off with a much older man, or an underage girl with an elaborate scheme to get dressed up in white, put on a ring and try to get some free booze. I guess I should have been flattered but honestly I don’t look younger than 25.

The rest of the night we received mediocre service - she brought our food and the dessert we ordered and then the check. No complementary slice of cake or even a congratulations at the end. What was supposed to have been a very special evening became underwhelming and even disappointing.

So while I like the food at Duende, I probably won’t be back soon and definitely won’t recommend for any type of special occasion. I’d recommend to the managers that they train their staff on some sort of protocol for recognizing a special event, even if that doesn’t include a complementary glass of sparkling wine. Also might be a good to card the whole table if everyone looks like they could be in their 20’s, that way you don’t single out women in an accusatory way.

AR
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are three foodies who noticed, appreciated, savored every fine detail in the dishes we ordered. Cannot wait to return!

b
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Have enjoyed Duende in the past, but this time disappointed. Menu was seasonal, but to a degree that was all squash all the time. Drinks were ok, but not as good a I remember and service was fairly slow for drinks but fast for food, so we had most of our food finished before getting drinks.

o
London
8 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Super nice staff. We were soooooo late due to a traffic accident. They found a table for us. Food is amazing. Wait staff very knowledgeable. The kitchen can get backed up approaching showtime at the nearby Fox Theater. So be aware of that. Definitely a favorite.

LB
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Was pleasantly surprised how delicious all of our dishes were! Service was excellent as well - we'll be back!

RG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Delicious food & we appreciated the sensitivity to our dietary needs.

MF
San Francisco
332 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The squid ink paella was excellent

AB
San Francisco
94 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Generally good & imaginative food. Both the cabbage slaw and the roasted squash appetizers- visually engaging- were marred by a little too much vinegar (the kitchen is heavy on vinegar). Grilled branzino was good. Wait staff -tho very busy - were mostly attentive.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Birthday party. Was a fun time and thank god they rescued my friend’s cell phone

RH
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Very convenient place to meet friends. Not too noisy as we had a booth. However you are sitting on wood benches and after and hour or so it becomes very uncomfortable.

Food was good. Not memorable. But would good food. Each order two different paella’s. Both good. Enough for four people. We also order two small plates which were both very good.

Decent almond cake desert. Good... not outstanding and a very average cappachino.

IF
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Every item was well-balanced and artfully prepared. They obviously take care in the quality of each dish - even the goat cheese was way better than what you get at many places. Server was very attentive and helpful. We'll be returning.

IR
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Great option for vegetarians! Service was great considering how busy they were

L
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful experience.. the wait staff was very helpful & friendly.. food was great..

B
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience2

The food served was different than what was listed on the menu. Food prep was very poor and seemed inexperienced; potatoes were cold and over cooked; clams were gritty; seeds in the squash were not removed before squash was roasted. The service was good. Unfortunately, the kitchen doesn’t seem to care about how the food is prepared: slapdash.

C
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall1food1service4ambience2

Literally the worst meal I’ve had in Oakland in 20 years of dining out here. The waitstaff however was lovely.

t
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Duende never disappoints! Always one of our favorites!

F
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

innovative dishes, delicious and savory food! Will definitely go back!

LN
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Service is really lacking. We had a very new server to the restaurant, but he was apparently very new to being a server and was really oblivious to our needs.

OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Superb. Outstanding. 10 out of 10

IL
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Real Spanish Tapas are back in Oakland. Duende picks up well where Barlata left off. But don't depend too much on the online sample menu. For example, there were no pork belly items the night we went. What we did order was good...somewhat imaginative, yet traditional at the same time. Highly recommend the Carne Cruda. Prices look reasonable, but most portions were quite small. It was slow the night we were there, but it was easy to imagine the place being noisy when full. Server was knowledgeable and great, until he lost focus toward the end of our meal.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful!

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GG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food. Wonderful friendly service. Perfect location.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience4

We love Duende and always have a great time when we go. Last night was very odd. We got the wrong drinks, disliked 3/5 dishes and our waiter forgot that we had ordered our paella and asked if we wanted desert before the main arrived. I hope this isn’t the new trend as we really do love this place!

TJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good and service is delicious! My favorite place for a special meal with friends and family.

GR
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Duende is an unusual restaurant with a unique menu. We had a reservation. Were seated right away--but not welcomed by anyone for several minutes--we were pre-theatre at 6 pm and the restaurant was empty. The server could have helped us out with the menu since it was our first time but even after several questions from our party of 2, there were no relevations or recommendations from the server to help us out. The staff was in Halloween costumes, we finally determined. The food was good and sometimes great. I think if we had been more familiar with the menu we could have ordered more coordinated items to share. The drinks were amazing--we loved the "Palomas"--I think that was the name. We finished and one of my pet peeves is when you are completely finished with dinner and drinks and even your water glasses are empty it still takes awhile to get the check. Anyway, I would definitely go back feeling a little more prepared to make my selections. As far as restaurants close to either the Paramount or the Fox Theatre--it is the best in my opinion.

MC
Dallas
4 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Paul always offers amazing fresh food. Everything was seasonal and appropriate. We loved the way the selections came together and large enough to share with four.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall2food1service2ambience3

Uninspired. Bad food. Won't be returning. Nothing more to say.

B
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I went to Duende for my birthday. beautiful surroundings, unassuming and spot on service. You can tell the food is cared for and thoughtfully conceived. We did not leave hungry and it did not break the bank. They were firing on all cylinders and I can't wait to go back.

MM
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, music, energy, service, and ambiance. Will definitely be back.