As a lucky person who’s studied and traveled in the Caribbean, I can never go too long without eating the food. And this is a beautiful time, because there have never been this many options in the 12 years I’ve lived in Oakland. I used to cook whenever I had a taste for arroz, habichuelas y plátanos, but now it’s easy to get a quick fix of Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban food:
Borinquen Soul started off as a food truck, but now it’s a kitchen inside a convenience store in the Dimond District. From what I can tell, Town Snack Bar is out and Puerto Rican food is in – and I can’t wait to go get some arroz con guandules.
Alamar isn’t exactly a Caribbean restaurant, but the chef is Dominican and there’s a proper Dominican rice bowl on the lunch menu. The Oxtails were oh-so-tender and the beans were seasoned perfectly. ¡Puro dominicano!
I haven’t been to Caña Cafe in a few years, but it looks like they’re still going strong with bottomless mimosas and salsa dancing on Sundays.
And another Cuban restaurant is opening (hopefully soon) in the former Vo’s location on the other end of Grand Avenue: “Casa Cubana is the newest venture from veteran restaurateurs Sam DuVall and Joe Kohn, owners of Izzy’s Steaks and Chops, and Nourish Vegan Cafe in SF. Casa Cubana is a Cuban inspired experience featuring; contemporary regional cuisine, fun craft cocktails, as well as showcasing one of the largest Cuban art collections in the country.” Sounds interesting, right?
Named after the chef’s grandmother, it’s a casual restaurant that serves food from her native Barbados and other parts of the Caribbean. Miss Ollie’s is known for its Fried Chicken, but you should also try the Salt Fish & Ackee.
Can you think of any other Caribbean restaurants in the town?