With 20 tequilas, 30 mezcals, and crispy fried grasshoppers, the bar at Agave Uptown is a Oaxacan wonderland. The state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico is also known for its mole—and Agave’s version is a stunner: Complex yet harmonious, creamy not cloying, the mole deliciously complements the fish of the day, as well as crusted-to-order carnitas. Tlayuda, a Oaxacan-style pizza, was more stylish than substantial on our visit, but a Oaxacan salad with mango, avocado, and passion fruit dressing was truly a tropical refresher. Agave also specializes in rotisserie chicken and house-made tortillas; when ordered with chilled and chunky chile-flecked guacamole (and a side of mole), they make for a simply marvelous feast. 2135 Franklin St., Oakland, (510) 288-3668, agaveuptown.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Food + Drink Guide
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