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Sneak Peek: Oakland’s Oaxacan Restaurants are Hopping

Agave Uptown and Calavera offer more than delicious fried grasshoppers.


Nicholas Boer

In Oakland, hip, bar-centric Oaxacan restaurants are serving up grasshoppers—not those once-popular after-dinner cocktails concocted with neon-green crème de menthe, but the fried variety.

At the newly opened Agave Uptown, the insects are served straight up as bar snacks; choose between grande and extra crunchy or muy pequeno with a kick. They make for a colorful contrast to cocteles, such as the Guelaguetza Sour laced with passion fruit, spiked with smoky mescal (the bar boasts 30 labels), and topped with a latte-like design of foamy bitters.

At Calavera, which I checked out (and loved) when it opened last year, the crispy chapulines were sprinkled over a chilled scoop of chunky guacamole like nuts over ice cream. Pair the guac with Calavera’s chile-flecked Mezcalera margarita.

Even if locusts and loco-libations aren’t your thing, these two Oaxacan restaurants are still worth a trip. The whole grilled fish at Calavera and the carnitas with mole at Agave Uptown are both incredible. So hop to it.

Agave Uptown: 2135 Franklin St., Oakland, (510) 288-3668, agaveuptown.com. Lunch and dinner daily. Calavera: 2337 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 338-3273, calaveraoakland.com. Dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun.

Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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