A San Franciscan’s Guide to Living in Oakland

San Francisco is a great town but thanks to all the artists squatting in rent-controlled housing, the price of living keeps increasing. What options are there for us regular folk who need to program for a living? Well, I recently had to face the facts and moved out of my now-unaffordable place in El Mission to a new place in Oakland. Inspired by this cool KQED blog post, I decided to make my own guide to help you get acquainted with OakLand after leaving SF.

Oakland's actually not bad, as Keak da Sneak would say, “It's good, it's good like the granddaddy.” Just don't live in the bad parts of Oakland (east, south, lower north and west) and you'll be fine.

Best Places to Eat


Zachary's. Little Star is better but whatever, make do this is your home now!


Hmmm…not sure about this one. Best bet is probably just to make your own sandwich. That way it's exactly how you like it.

Best Chinese:

Rangoon Super Stars. I've never been here but it has four and a half stars on yelp/

Best Vietnamese:

Mu Me. They deliver so you don't have to go outside. The Garlic noodles are to die for. 

Best Tacos:

El Farolito. This is technically in SF, but I haven't found any good tacos in Oakland.

Best Coffe:

Well this one is easy. Subrosa, or Blue Bottle coffee from anywhere that serves it

Best Bars:

Cafe Van Kleefe. Delicious grapefruit drinks here

Where to buy things:

The Flea Market in the Ashby BART station

Where to buy groceries:

Berkeley Bowl

Where To Go:

Art Murmur - Second Friday of every month, lots of fun

Lake Merrit - lots of water here, take a dip to cool off in the scorching hot Oakland summer

Pixar - home of Shrek!

Anyway, I've only lived here in the Oaksterdam a month, but so far, it's been hyphy. Good luck and welcome to the neighborhood.

Comments (27)

I lived in the east bay for over a decade and Oakland/Berkeley definitely has some great stuff. None of it outweighs being so far away from everything, and I definitely hope to never have to leave the City, but Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, the shops on Rockridge, Cactus Taqueria, Saturn cafe in Berkeley, Pepples Donuts, Point Isabel dog park, and Redwood Regional Park are some of the things I miss. Gather in Berkeley is my favorite nice restaurant over there. And the new-ish Berkeley Bowl West beats any grocery store in SF.

I’m too late to the party. They removed to offending paragraph before I could see what all the fuss was about.

Oh and also if you drink, The Trappist in Oakland is a great place for Belgian beers. The staff is extremely knowledgable, and they even used to have excellent beer classes (focusing on the history, making, and tasting of 1 or 2 particular varieties) on weekends. One class I took even got me to like geuzes! If those are still offered, I would definitely recommend them.

Uhm we have our own Little Star in Grand Lake–slightly different name (The Star), same owners and menu plus a FULL bar.

Also seriously?: “I haven’t found any good tacos in Oakland.” I know you’ve only been here for a month but you must not have searched very hard. Tacos in Oakland are vastly superior to any SF taco. Carnitas at Sinaloa highly recommended. Check this out for a taco primer:

Were you seriously taking this post seriously?

“Vastly superior to any SF taco.” That’s adorable!

Ruby room is the best bar I’ve found in Oakland.
Cafe Van Kleefe? Seriously? Why do people think that area is fun, it’s mainly people in their 40s dressed in polos. I still haven’t quite figured out where the cool people that supposedly left SF have gone, ruby room is my best guess. I hear theres a bar on telegraph that is ‘like zeitgeist was 20 years ago’. Never been there however

Probably the Avenue on 48th and Telegraph. Great bar that.

yea that’s probably it. Ive also heard heart and dagger is fun, but I dont have a car. Makes a lot of Oakland kind of a difficult place for me, such as heart and dagger for instance. Probably a good thing to keeping the interesting bars local, but eh.

Yeah it can be a challenge. I don’t even know how to drive so I’m in a similar spot. Heart & Dagger is great. In fact, that’s probably the Zeitgeist comparison as it has a nice back patio and is very dog friendly. There’s no BART close though so getting to and from is a pain. Oakland could really use a light rail system. The parts of Oakland that are rough (Lower Bottoms, Deep East, Sobrante Park, et cetera) are quite isolated. Some would consider to be a good thing due to violence and crime, but I think otherwise - and, no, I don’t mean that a light rail would make said areas easier to “gentrify” or whatever.

For pizza, Pizzaiolo on Telegraph and 49th is super good. The Avenue is right there too; great dive. Lansplitters Pizza is across the road too. Miss Ollie’s in Old Oakland (by where I live) is fantastic. Sarah, the chef/owner, was the original chef at Front Porch for those familiar. In that same building you have a Rosamunde and Cosecha which is really good mexican. Not far from there is Radio which is a good dive; same owner as Ruby Room and a similar vibe. The Layover is right around to corner as well. Dogwood is another good bar, albeit a tad hipsterish. Hopscotch in Uptown is amazing for something a bit more fancy.

Look, Oakland isn’t San Francisco and people who make that comparison are retarded. They’re different places and they bring different things to the table. I didn’t get priced out of SF (had a rent controlled joint in Cole Valley). I chose to move over here as 15 years in “The City” was enough. I wouldn’t move back, to be honest. Next move will probably be back to London; certainly out of the area either way. Strangely enough, it often takes me less time to get to work these days (Van Ness & Market). Well, when BART is behaving itself, that is.

That was a weak post. I live in SF and know Hella more ish than you do about lots of great spots in the O. This must be a bad joke that you didn’t spend much time writing - evidenced by your failed spelling: “COFFE

1 Star (for mentioning Art Murmur)

I hope this line is ironic: “San Francisco is a great town but thanks to all the artists squatting in rent-controlled housing, the price of living keeps increasing.”

Otherwise, it is just discredited libertarian wishful economic theory with an offensive misuse of the word “squatting.”


So much fail in this. Welcome to oakland, get out more and see some really cool places.

Good Luck in Oakland, and please take all these whiny bitches with you.


Burger King on 12th and Broadway is p tight. Recommended.

I’ve been to the East Bay thrice this year, or twice if you don’t count Alameda since it’s an island. It’s nice there!

Temescal sort of has their own version of FSC barber shop (Temescal Alley Barber Shop). But, I mean, can you REALLY get a decent haircut for only $20? Seems a bit weird to me. That’s why I still commute from Oakland to SF for FSC - I feel like I’m really paying for top quality and it’s a great place to check up on the latest apps and such while waiting in line. Plus everyone is really stylish - I see girls taking photos for their street fashion blogs and that is how I know I’ve found the right place for me. Highly recommended.

ITT: People who are too dense to understand satire.

I realize that this is a parody, but there actually is an El Farolito in Oakland! It’s on International (or E. 14th as us old timers still call it) and 37th Ave. This one still gives out free chips unlike the ones in SF!

The sandwiches section didn’t give a shout out to Genova’s? Are you guys actually living in the East Bay?

Seriously, no good tacos?!?! Hit up the taco truck on E. 14th near Rockn’ Crawfish (also amazing) and Portal (beer garden with a view of the lake, also sweet)….Oh, and why not Amazona’s for the best delivery pizza M-Sat…Ugh, the list goes on…But don’t worry, Oakland sucks, you don’t want to live here.