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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 Goods and Services

Best Jeweler

Pavé Fine Jewelry Design

2014 Food and Drink

Best Cafe-Coffeehouse

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

2014 Food and Drink

Best New Restaurant


Penrose's allure lies in the simplicity. Brick walls and wooden rafters anchor the dining room while the Grand Lake eatery’s wall-length bar is always shaking, pouring classics such as mint juleps over crushed ice or gin and housemade tonic. Although the menu changes daily, the servers aren’t fazed as they guide you through the California cuisine that draws on Mediterranean and Spanish influences but always emphasizes fresh and local ingredients. The Hawaiian kampachi crudo is spring on a plate, the buttery fish decadent against the crisp-shaved radishes, fava beans, and oil. The tapas-style meal wouldn’t be complete without housemade flatbread and accompanying sauces—smoky harissa, herb-packed charmoula, and mind-blowing tahini yogurt. Each bite is simple and simply outstanding.
Photo By Lori Eanes

2014 Families and Pets

Best Pet Store

Pet Food Express

2014 Lifestyle and Leisure

Best Charitable Event

Pet Mayor Contest in Montclair

2014 Lifestyle and Leisure

Best Charity

Pet & Wildlife Fund

2014 Goods and Services

Best Pharmacy

Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy

2014 Food and Drink

Best Southern-Soul Food,Best Spirits Selection


Whether it’s bourbon, rye, moonshine, or white lightening, Picán’s whiskey selection is top-notch from the top-shelf to the well. The Uptown, upscale Southern and soul food restaurant stocks the bar with selections from across the United States. The origins are indeed diverse, from right in our backyard (St. George Single Malt) to Utah’s High West American Prairie, and on to the treasures of Tennessee, such as Buffalo Trace’s Thomas H. Handy Sazerac and selections from Collier & McKeel and Prichard’s Distillery. Rare and hard-to-find reserves—a selection worthy of praise unto itself—fill the bar, but it’s rounded out with household names, including Jack, Jim, and Johnny because sometimes you just want a shot of Jack—and Picán has four types from which to choose. And a quick word about the food: fantastic and among the best in town.
Photo By Lori Eanes

2014 Goods and Services

Best Grocery

Piedmont Grocery

2014 Families and Pets

Best Public High School

Piedmont High School

2014 Food and Drink

Best Office Cafeteria


2014 Families and Pets

Best Under 21 Hangout


2014 Lifestyle and Leisure

Best Pilates Studio

Real People Pilates

It’s not easy getting lost in the crowd at Real People Pilates, where the focus is on individual, undivided attention. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a couch potato, to the instructors, you’re a real person with unique needs, and they tailor your workout with care. This small, friendly studio offers no distractions: it’s classical Pilates with a complete repertoire of Pilates equipment. Real People Pilates opened 10 years ago, and as business expanded, owner Joseph Quinn chose to forgo an open floor plan—cramming clients in might be more lucrative, but at the expense of lost intimacy, he felt. All that attention makes it hard to slack. As one happy reviewer wrote, the instructor “doesn’t miss a trick.” To diffuse the pressure and the cost, try another Real People Pilates specialty: the duet session.
Photo by Lori Eans

2014 Lifestyle and Leisure

Best 10K Loop Through Oakland’s Woods

Redwood Park Sampler

Some 20 trails cover scores of miles through the 1,830 acres of Redwood Regional Park. So where do you go if you want the best “park sampler” for a moderate two-hour hike or hour-long run? Start at Skyline Gate on Skyline Boulevard and go for 3 miles on the rolling hills of the East Ridge Trail, which features bird’s-eye views of the canyon’s treetops and of the foothills that skirt Mount Diablo. Turn right and descend the steep Canyon Trail, arriving at the Canyon Meadow picnic area. From there, head north on the Stream Trail about 2.5 miles back up to Skyline Gate. The Stream Trail traverses the heart of park, site of 19th-century mills and majestic 150-foot Sequoia redwoods standing in a carpet of ferns beside a babbling creek. The loop is exactly 6.2 miles long.
Photo by Pat Mazzera

2014 Food and Drink

Best Happy Hour Drink Deals

Restaurant Chu

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