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Best Of Oakland and the East Bay

169 winners—our biggest list ever—representing the tops from sausages and spirits to circus arts and pub crawls


2014 Food and Drink

Best Farmers Market

Grand Lake Farmers Market

2014 Food and Drink

Best Seafood Retailer

Hapuku Fish Shop Rockridge Market Hall

2014 Families and Pets

Best Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

Heidi Kistler, The Pawsitively Pampered Pet

If you’re looking for somebody to walk your dog or snuggle your cat while you’re at work, or take care of them when you’re gone, there are plenty of candidates offering their services. But before you hand over the keys to your home, you want to be sure the person you’re trusting with your worldly goods and your best friend’s welfare is kind and proactive—and has a good track record. Oakland resident Heidi Kistler launched The Pawsitively Pampered Pet in 1997; named Pet Sitter International’s Pet Sitter of the Year in 1999, she’s garnered a devoted fan base ever since among new and long-term clients, often becoming a lifelong caregiver for their pets. Heidi and her husband, Ryan, take the time to get to know your critters, their routines, likes, and dislikes, as well as any medical or other issues. If your job keeps you working long hours, and you’ve got a new puppy, they’ll help with that all-important socialization, as well as potty breaks. They’ll handle transport to groomers and vets. When you’re on the road, they’ll keep your house looking occupied as you request (e.g., bringing in the mail, turning on the lights) while they keep Rex and Kitty safe and content. On your return you’ll get a nice note about how everyone did while you were gone, but the best report comes from your pals, who, as many can attest, with be happy to see you, but pretty relaxed about it.

2014 Goods and Services

Best Real Estate Company

Highland Partners

2014 Goods and Services

Best Car Dealer

Honda of Oakland

2014 Food and Drink

Best Dim Sum

Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood

2014 Food and Drink

Best Italian Restaurant

Italian Colors

2014 Food and Drink

Best Chef

James Syhabout

Box and Bells, Commis, Hawker Fare, The Dock at Linden Street

2014 Families and Pets

Best K–12 Teacher

Jean-Philippe Filhol, Ecole Bilingue

When people talk about Jean-Philippe Filhol, they use words like “phenomenal,” “exuberant,” and “magical.” Filhol, originally from the south of France, has spent the past 23 years teaching at Ecole Bilingue, the French immersion school in Berkeley. And he can’t imagine doing anything else. “I feel lucky to work with such enthusiastic kids and supportive families and passionate coworkers,” he says. This, from a man who, while still challenging his class academically, has been known to break out in song. As a first- and second-grade teacher, Filhol understands that each kid is unique, and he strives to reach out to every single one, not only academically, but emotionally and socially as well. Parents of his students say that he transformed their child; he’s like family; he draws the best out of children with his “almost palpable” positive energy. Take their word, or listen to former student Max Sivolella, now in high school, who wrote of Filhol, “He helped me not just become smarter, but become a better person too.”
Photo by Pat Mazzera

2014 Goods and Services

Best Acupuncturist

Jessica Parker, L.Ac., M.T.C.M.

Root & Stem Integrative Chinese Medicine

2014 Goods and Services

Best Landscaper

jocelynalyssa Garden Design & Installation

2014 Goods and Services

Best General Practitioner

Jolene Brighten, N.D.

2014 Goods and Services

Best Plastic Surgeon,Best Surgeon

Joseph N. Togba, M.D.

2014 Food and Drink

Best Japanese-Sushi Restaurant

Kakui Sushi

2014 Lifestyle and Leisure

Best Artist

Kevin Woodson

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