A decade ago, tapas restaurants were everywhere—that is, until a lot of diners decided that American tapas restaurants were overpriced and precious. It was all too easy to pay a hundred-dollar tab and walk out with two growling stomachs.
So when Chef Paul Canales opened Duende, an Oakland restaurant with a locally influenced Spanish tapas menu, Chowhounds were intrigued. Many admired Canales's work at Oliveto, and the first reports from Duende suggest that the admiration continues, at least for Robert Lauriston.
Lauriston liked Duende's piquillo peppers stuffed with lamb, currants, and North African spices, as well as the wine offerings, including Andrew Lane Napa Gamay on tap. But acetaminophen says the portions are small but flavorful, pretty much what you'd expect from "gourmet tapas." Still, JasmineG found the portions too precious—minuscule, in fact—but says the drinks (including house-made sodas) merit a return visit.
Duende [East Bay]
468 19th Street, Oakland
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Image from Duende / Facebook