photo credit: Gloria Lopez

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Old OaklandOakland

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysDate NightOutdoor/Patio Situation

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Meet wood-fired pupusa paradise in Old Oakland. At this upscale-ish Salvadoran spot, the corn cakes—full of chanterelles, loroco, or whatever’s in season—are made with masa that’s nixtamalized, ground in-house, and then perfectly blistered on the hearth. Lucky for us, the rest of the food lives by the same smoky spirit, and never fails to impress. You’ll see incredible braised chicken covered in sweet-sour fermented pineapple sauce and finished on an open flame, fried black beans with a satisfying slightly burnt flavor, and a smoked-to-order whiskey cocktail you’ll absolutely want more than one round of. This moody, low-lit place regularly pops off on weekends with glammed-up people here for date nights and birthday dinners.

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