Ethan Fletcher

Pasta as Comfort Food, from Bellanico to Pizzaiolo

Our favorite comfort foods are often those that we ate as kids. So perhaps it’s no surprise that in the case of pasta—one of the all-time top comfort foods—many of Oakland’s favorite versions can be traced back to an old family recipe. We touched base with a few of the city’s Italian restaurants for the story behind their signature pasta dishes (hint: there are a lot of Italian mothers and grandmothers involved).

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Rockridge Renaissance

Rockridge has long been established as one of the city’s most desirable, affluent areas. And with popular, gourmet restaurants such as Oliveto Restaurant & Cafe, Wood Tavern, and À Côté, it boasted the dining scene to match. But as the rest of the city’s dining scene exploded in recent years—Plum in Uptown! Commis on Piedmont Avenue! Bocanova in Jack London Square!—the grand dame of Oakland neighborhoods was starting to seem a little, well, stale in comparison.

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A Grand Avenue Revival

Grand Avenue seems to have always been overshadowed by its more happening neighboring thoroughfare Lakeshore Avenue. While cool coffee shops, pizzerias, and bars dotted Lakeshore Avenue, Grand seemed to be stuck in time, filled with quaint, but hardly destination-worthy, mom-and-pop businesses.

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Eating Alameda

Park Street, Alameda’s main drag, has a remarkably high concentration of ethnic food options: four Japanese restaurants, three Thai restaurants, two Mexican, and, well, you get the idea. Besides just offering a plethora of dining choices for adventurous foodies, perhaps the best part about having all these great options within a few-block radius is that the food is often as affordable as it is delicious. Here’s our guide to Alameda’s ethnic eats from $1 through $10.

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Faces of the East Bay