Calavera Mexican Kitchen & Agave Bar

4.2
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
892 Reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Mexican
Calavera’s diverse menu celebrates the unique and layered gastronomy of Mexico. Using traditional ingredients and techniques, Chef Dario Patoja presents both new and familiar Mexican flavors with an inspired, modern perspective. Calavera offers a full bar with an extensive tequila and mezcal collection, innovative cocktails, and a 120+ bottle wine list. Come enjoy the spirit of Mexico in an artistic, comfortable environment in Oakland's uptown!
avatar copy

Private Dining

Book your next event with us

View details
What 892 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.0
service
4.2
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
78% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Filters
BH
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first visit to Calavera. Arrived at our reservation time and was promptly seated. Our waitress was very helpful and made great suggestions for drink and food choices. Food was served promptly and was delicious. This was a great find!

j
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Dinner before a show, 3rd visit. Food gets better and better

U
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a pleasure to be greeted with a smile and a professional spirit. Host seated us , our waiter Samuel introduced himself and it was a 4 star experience throughout the evening. The food arrived promptly, served warm and delicious. Everything was awesome.

ML
Mexico City
35 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

I had family in from New York who I knew would appreciate some upscale Mexican food unfortunately it didn’t work out. The cocktails were absolutely delicious and thoughtfully put together. The service was excellent. The food on the other hand was disappointing. The ceviche was chewy and not fresh, the tortilla chips were rock hard. The Chile Relleno was tough and filled with watery vegetables. One bright star was the Hen of the Woods Mole- delicious. The prices at Calavera are very high; it is inexcusable to serve this low quality food in Oakland.

NR
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food and service were especially outstanding. The waitress did not fail to deliver promptly. The food was far beyond I expected. Drinks was great too. Highly recommended!

m
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 3

Calavera is beautiful. The food is good to very good, and the staff are friendly, when they appear. The mezcal selection is fantastic but it's not easy to get any. We arrived early for a 7pm reservation and were still there at nearly 10, having seen other tables fill, be fed and leave while we waited through several inexplicable delays, mostly with our mezcal orders. Our first order of two mezcals took 50 minutes, at which time we were served one and told that the other was not available. Meanwhile a steady stream of margaritas and other mixed drinks were being delivered to the tables around us. It took another 20 minutes to get a replacement mezcal for the one they didn't have. Oddly, our food came out so fast that it could not possibly have been cooked to order. I suppose popular dishes like the pollo con mole poblano and cochinita pibil, which we ordered, are made in anticipation of orders. Both were very good. The staff knew they were failing us and our server plus two managers all made apologetic visits to our table, but they seemed unable to expedite our service at any time. Very disappointing as the occasion became centered around the restaurant, not the pleasant anniversary date we were celebrating.

M
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 5

We love this place but recently on a uncrowded Wednesday night we went and had terribly slow service and the food wasn't as good as ususal. We also had a birthday, which we reminded them about twice and after waiting 30 minutes for dessert, they forgot to put a candle in the one dessert we ordered. When the mgr finally delivered our dessert, I said: "No candle?" and he said: "It's a birthday? No one told me." and walked away. Really disappointing.

LC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 4

Excellent service and decent drinks. The Mole chicken was super dry. The beans with the chile relleno were cold and soupy. The tacos were bland. Wanted to love this place but the food just wasn't that good but all of the staff were great!

JS
San Francisco
33 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Horrible service by no fault of the staff. Shame on management for understaffing in both the back (kitchen) and front (servers). For this reason, I can NOT recommend. 2 hours 10 minutes for lunch is a ridiculous amount of time to spend.

I
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

I love this place but the last two times I’ve dined outside the service has lacked attention. Our waiter was good when he was speaking with us but we had to flag him down to order then after we received food I think we saw him once then we never saw him again.
The food was good and our drinks were Great (as usual :-).

MS
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

The food is not great. We had the ceviche verde and it was just fish. There were no chunks of avocado or jalapenos or anything but chunks of fish which at first seemed appealing because it's a big pile of meat but without the additional flavors, it was really just a very boring and bland dish. The rest of our dishes (husband had pork chop and I had the cochinita pibil and the meat was overly salty (and I'm a person who can never get enough salt) and it was just okay. I've had the tacos there a couple of times and they're pretty decent and reasonably priced. If I go back, I'll stick with the tacos.

HO
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

The service was horrendous. We waited 20 minutes before anyone came around to take our order. They cited staffing issues and new management but other tables seemed to have a bit more attentive staff working them. I asked for a straw when the drinks came because I have stitches on one side of my bottom lip and can't really drink from a glass without spilling everything around. The server seemed to be understanding of that...but no straw came for at least 15 min. I felt like the quality of the food was outweighed by how poor the service was tonight. The food was good but not enough for me to ever come back. We then waited over 30 minutes for the check after asking 3 times. We almost got it but they had to go back to resolve something with the bar staff. It was ridiculous. I have tipped 15% once in my entire life when service was bad as I usually tip at least 20% as a general rule. I tipped them about 12%. Shout out to Wayne for being the one staff member who seemed to pay attention and know what he was doing. Thanks to him, they get at least one star. (I posted this to yelp too. People should know to avoid this place. I checked other reviews too and they have all consistently said the same on how or why it’s bad. )

GP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

Service was unacceptably slow. Our table, and those around us, were waiting 1/2 hr to order, to pay or to obtain change. Good news, the food was good, but the starters and the main course came out at the same time. They appeared to be fully staffed and the restaurant was only 1/2 full. The staff was disorganized and it appeared that no one was in charge or aware of the waiting.

AY
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We have always enjoyed dining here-just a few recommendations to make the experience better.
Big shoutout to Luca who accommodated us with our guest number change.
The host-not sure what his name is but he was very attentive and pleasant
and in constant motion to take care of things.
The duck confit tacos were amazing-the combination of ingredients were well executed.
Guacamole tasted a bit watery-chips a bit dry.
The shortribs were delicious-presentation would be more complete with some sides-
meat looked lonely by itself on plate.
The cheese fondue with chorizo could use a little more chorizo.
It was a warm night and no air condition so it was a bit uncomfortable.

E
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Horrible experience from beginning to end. Our server took 30 minutes to take a our drinks order, it took another 20 minutes to receive them. After an hour we started to get a few dishes, some were wrong and never corrected/replaced. I had to get up from the table multiple times to track staff down to help us. At the end of our meal we ended up canceling part of our order since it never came. No apologies, nothing. Food was okay - would have loved to taste more had we the chance to!

s
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

It was too loud for us. Service started out great, but as soon as the restaurant filled up our waiter went MIA. The best part was the Shrimp Veracruz and their house margarita. But get the margarita during Happy Hour, otherwise, not worth the price.

w
San Francisco
161 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Was pleased to see how much service has improved since we first started going here. The food has always been delicious and different and now it Isco binned with good service.
Hands down the best margarita in the easrbay
Thank you Joseph for helping make this such a positive experience

AM
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

I requested outdoor seating, which was great. Then I ripped my pants on a nail sticking out of one of their benches... the bar manager was very apologetic and gave me her card to reimburse me, and I've reached out twice with no answer. I'm very disappointed as I go there often for business lunches and other events. I will not be returning after this experience.

BT
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

I’ll make my comments directly to the restaurant. Prefer not to criticize publicly.

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

The food was good. But considering we were only 1 of a handful of tables the service was really slow

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Calavera is a regular stop for brunch or afternoon drinks and snacks. Great open space, The food is consistently excellent and the service is always friendly and fun.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was delish and service was great

MZ
Cincinnati
7 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We went on Labor Day so maybe there was a smaller team. They told us the menu was smaller. The first server was very slow and then traded us to another server was great but was very busy and not as attentive as I would have liked. The food was okay. Not what I recall from a few months ago.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

The food was great but the service is extremely slow! This is the second time we’ve been there that the service has been exceptionally slow! The restaurant wasn’t even busy and it took 20 min after placing the order to get drinks from the bar. Appetizers showed up well before the drinks. Just doesn’t make for a nice experience when you’re constantly waiting. Not sure I’ll continue to go back.

ST
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Food is okay, service is beyond mediocre. I have been there twice and it keeps getting worse.

DM
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the vibe here as well as the food. We had a group of 8 and sat outside on the patio. We shared a bunch of plates that the staff recommended. Such great flavors! Bright and delicious. Cocktails were awesome as well.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

We started out really well, with a great specialty cocktail of the day, and a terrific margarita. Then everything went downhill. Our waitress kept forgetting about us, and never came to check on us. My pork chop was over cooked, very tough and completely dried out, and for a main course over $30, definitely not worth it. We were so disappointed and I don’t believe they really cared, or they would have made more of an effort.

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

As always.... Had a delicious time!

e
New York Area
143 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

On a previous visit I'd thought that the food at this upscale Mexican place was just so-so,, but this time it was excellent. The chicken salad was innovative and tasty, and the meat in the pork enchilada was tender and juicy.

O
San Francisco
80 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Cool space. Everything else was mediocre. Service was incredibly slow, inattentive, and marginally rude. Both the pibil and short rib were dry. The sauces were flavorful, but the meat itself was bland. Cocktails were interesting. Would only recommend for a stop at the bar.

S
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good experience, overall. I would highly recommend the establishment

SU
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is delicious, though the menu was more limited on a Monday night than what is on the website. Staff very friendly and nice, though it took awhile to place our order. Parking is a challenge.

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

Drinks and food are always good.

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

The food was great and the service was even better! Samuel is a wonderful and caring server. I highly recommend Calavera!

L
New Orleans
2 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Great food that's more authentic than your regular Mexican restaurant. Nice but not overwhelming wine list. Great ambiance, especially the outside seating on a warm evening.

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

The menu was diverse, creative and thought provoking. It was unexpected. Not your typical enchilada and burrito with rice and beans plate. Quality ingredients. I love this restaurant. We were greeted with very friendly staff. We felt welcome from the moment we walked in. Even the bartender waved us in and out. She made the most delicious handmade Margarita of my life. If I lived near Oakland I’d frequent it often to try all the dishes and handmade cocktails. It was convenient to BART as we travelled from San Jose.

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

Solid upscale Mexican food. The shrimp in tomato sauce appetizer was very good. The mole sauce on the chicken mole was also very good; chicken itself was a bit dry, as was the pulled pork. Service was efficient and very pleasant.

EG
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I like going to Calavera. Have eaten there 5 or 6 times, always happy with the food and service. The prices are a bit steep: guacamole and chip are $11 for a moderate-size order. Delicious but pricey. On the last visit our server Kris was friendly, gracious and upbeat.

OT
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

Like several other Mexican restaurants, Calavera brings food out — clearly it’s already partially made before you order it — very quickly, almost dropping on the table unceremoniously. In fact: we lost some chips off out guacamole plate! Pork was way overdone. Pollo mole was also overdone. Margarita and specialty monthly cocktail were both very good. Very loud place. Bad acoustics and loud music.

OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing service and exceptional food. Highly recommend!

1
2
3
23

Tweets by Calavera Mexican Kitchen & Agave Bar