Echoing its name, Duchess is distinctively stylish, outfitted in subdued purples and creamy yellows—with a splash of coral red—and decked out with intimate booths and handcrafted walnut tables and chairs. Featuring elevated comfort food and house-baked pastries and breads, Duchess’ seasonal, well-focused menu has a coy artisanal drift. Tiny buns hold huge pieces of crispy fried chicken; a warm doughnut is filled with chicken liver mousse; crispy fries are loaded with Dungeness crab; and a beautifully aged rib eye steak is garnished with coins of crisp Persian cucumber. A sandwich filled with smoked pastrami is sublime, while the veggie curry with spiced flatbread is deeply satisfying and bright with bits of pickled onion. In addition to craft cocktails, there are select international wines and lots of local craft beers on tap.
5422 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 871-3463, duchessoakland.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tues.–Sun.