Calavera Mexican Kitchen & Agave Bar

4.2
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878 Reviews
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$30 and under
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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!
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What 878 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
4.1
service
4.3
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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HO
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined a day ago
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 a day ago
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.

w
San Francisco
158 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
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 7 days ago
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!

OT
Orlando
6 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Large portions. Excellent meal and drinks!

d
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was delicious! Portions were adequate. It was a quiet Friday lunch. Overall an excellent meal and an enjoyable afternoon at Calvera. Definitely will go back.

SJ
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

The food was extremely over priced and bland. We were a large group of 12 and were ignored for the first 15 minutes of being seated. Also, upon arrival, I tried to ask the hostess if they could take the birthday cake I had brought back to the kitchen and she said no, I had to bring it to my table and wait for my waitress to take it. The cake was meant to be a surprise, and I had called ahead about it.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Ceviche and drinks were great. Ambience and location very nice. Main coarse ; Meh

OT
Miami
19 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 5

The soup was amazing! The menu was very interesting and authentic with a current twist.
All of the rest of the food was good.
Our server was terrible. She was attentive for drink orders and the initial food order and then completely ignored us. Even after I asked for the check and told her I had a flight to catch, she did many other things before bringing the check to us and never came back to collect it. I had to chase her down.

MK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The food is good, but overpriced for what you get. If it was fabulous, then I could see spending more money for really delicious combinations, however I don't feel I've gotten that at Calavera. It's good, not great, and expensive for what you do get.

ZF
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Atmosphere is not enough. For the price its service was not great, food was cold, fish taco was deep fried- no option for grilled.
when asked for more chips it as an additional $2.00. Ridiculous!
Not worth going back even if someone else pays!

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

Why oh why does it take 25 min to bring 2 pitchers of margaritas when the restaurant is half full and there are only 2 customers at the bar?

The service at Calavera, especially the drink service, is almost always slow but this was especially tortoise like.

Our server was good, friendly.

The food was delicious.

Please, train your staff to work with more urgency and care for your customers.

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

Nice lunch on the deck. Great for a warm day. Food was quite good

G
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and superb service. Would definitely go back for queso with chorizo and enchiladas.

p
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delightful!

OT
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food you’ll find yourself craving.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent menu. Everything was quite good. Service was slow and they inadvertently missed a dish (for which the server apologized, so no big deal. Would highly recommend it. The chips — thick. savory and scrumptious — were a feast unto themselves. The vegetarian tacos (breaded squash) were delicious. Will be going back to try the things we didn’t get to.

OM
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 4

Love, love, love this place!!! The location, ambiance and customer service are amazing! The drinks are excellent! The 2 suggestions I have are music (would add to ambiance) and a larger menu selection. My one pet peeve (no pun intended) is that they allow dogs and that kills the vibe for me every time! There is no way that you can’t go to dinner for a couple of hours without your pet!

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