Potato latkes from Saul's in Berkeley. Photo: Saul's/Facebook
Potato latkes from Saul’s in Berkeley. Photo: Saul’s/Facebook
Potato latkes from Saul’s in Berkeley. Photo: Saul’s/Facebook

We’re now entering full-on holiday season, and there are plenty of East Bay restaurants and bars getting in on the celebration. Wondering where to get your latke fix without getting out a potato grater or toast to the new year after eating a decadent meal? What about a few places to shop for locally made gifts while sipping on craft beer? We’ve got you covered with the best our side of the Bay has to offer.


Diners at Shakewell in Oakland. Photo: Shakewell/Facebook

HANUKKAH + CHRISTMAS AT SHAKEWELL Grand Lake’s Shakewell restaurant is serving special prix fixe Hanukkah menu on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). The $55 meal includes latkes with roasted quince butter, slow-roasted brisket with beet and cabbage salad, and apple churros with buttermilk syrup. Shakewell will also serve its regular menu that evening. The restaurant will offer a prix fixe menu on New Year’s Eve as well. That $85 menu includes an amuse-bouche, Dungeness crab toast, endive and mizuna salad, a choice between three entrees, and a choice between three desserts. Oysters and foie gras will be available as add-ons. Shakewell is at 3407 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. Connect with Shakewell on Facebook and Twitter.

LATKE TENT AT SAUL’S Starting Dec. 23 and running through Dec. 26, Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen will be frying up latkes in a tent outside the restaurant. On Christmas Day, the event will even include an eight-piece Klezmer jam band. The latke tent will be open from 12-6 p.m. Saul’s is also taking orders for takeaway latkes, as well as other Hanukkah food items, such as BN Ranch brisket, spinach and leek pierogi and two kinds of noodle kugel. Orders can be placed hereSaul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen is at 1475 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Courtesy of Comal

OAXANUKAH DINNERS AT COMAL The downtown Berkeley Mexican restaurant will hold its second-annual “Oaxanukah” prix fixe dinners Dec. 26 and 27. The dinners will take place in Comal‘s private dining room and feature traditional Hanukkah dishes infused with chef Matt Gandin’s Mexican flavors — expect everything from potato-jalapeño latkes to ancho chile brisket. Tickets are $75 and are available here and here. Comal will also host a New Year’s Eve party complete with music, a free photo booth, and special antojitos (small bites). Comal is at 2020 Shattuck Ave (between University Avenue and Addison Street). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

MARKET HALL TAKEOUT As it does every year, Market Hall Foods is preparing takeout items for Hanukkah, as well as Christmas and New Years events. The Hanukkah menu offers a full lineup of classic dishes, from latkes with applesauce to chopped liver and noodle kugel, in both sweet and savory variations. The highlight of Market Hall’s Christmas menu is a full ham dinner, serving six to nine people, which includes four seasonal vegetable sides, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and cranberry relish, in addition to maple-cured ham. The New Year’s menu includes bite-sized nibbles and dinner-sized entrees for an evening party, as well as brunch items for the next day. Find more information about the holiday menus hereMarket Hall Foods on 4th is at 1786 Fourth St. (at Delaware Avenue), Berkeley. Market Hall Foods is at 5655 College Ave. (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the store on Facebook and Twitter.


Photo: Courtesy of Lungomare

FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES AT LUNGOMARE On Christmas Eve, Jack London Square’s Lungomare will serve the traditional Italian fish-filled meal. The special, $60, four-course dinner will include dishes such as Dungeness crab with hand-cut corzetti pasta, black cod with stinging nettle risotto, monkey face eel with guanciale, and panettone with eggnog and grappa gelato. Add on $20 for a wine pairing. Lungomare will also be open Christmas Day, serving its regular menu, along with a few specials, such as ham with polenta, braised escarole, black currants and golden raisins. Reservations are recommended for both meals. Lungomare is at 1 Broadway (at Water Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

BRUNCH AT FIVE RESTAURANT Berkeley’s FIVE restaurant will serve an extensive Christmas Day buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., complete with bottomless mimosas. Dishes include crab salad with celery remoulade and fresh grapefruit, roasted turkey with truffle jus, sweet potato and butternut squash gratin, orzo macaroni and cheese with smoked gouda and tomato jam, and a winter vegetable frittata. There will also be a chocolate fountain. The menu is $70 per adult, $27 for kids aged 6-12, and free for those five-years-old and younger. FIVE is at 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

Fried chicken at Miss Ollie’s. Photo: Kate Williams
Fried chicken at Miss Ollie’s. Photo: Kate Williams

CARIBBEAN-STYLE CHRISTMAS AT MISS OLLIE’S On Christmas Day, Old Oakland’s Miss Ollie’s will serve its famous fried chicken as a part of a prix fixe meal at lunch and an early supper. In addition to the chicken, the menu includes salt cod fritters, clove baked ham and sorrel punch. There are two seatings, 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., and the meal runs $45 for adults and $25 for kids. Miss Ollie’s is at 901 Washington St. (at 9th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

TAKE HOME DINNER FROM WENTE If you happen to be out in the Livermore Valley for the holidays, the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is preparing full holiday dinners to take home. This year’s menu features a choice between black pepper and herb crusted prime rib or pan-seared salmon, plus a cheese plate, side dishes and a buche de Noel for dessert. The meal is portioned to serve six people, and it can be picked up the afternoon of Dec. 24. The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is at 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. 

New Year’s

Gather. Photo: Emilie Raguso

CHAMPAGNE DEALS AT GATHER The downtown Berkeley restaurant will be offering half-priced champagne all night long on New Year’s Eve. To pair with the bubbly, Gather will serve a variety of seafood specials, including oysters with apple mignonette and golden tobiko roe; local ceviche morado with jicama, citrus, avocado, beet and mezcal; and Dungeness crab with farro verde, citrus and XO sauce. Gather is at 2200 Oxford St. (at Allston Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

EAT UNTIL MIDNIGHT AT HOMESTEAD Piedmont Avenue’s Homestead will serve tasting menus on New Year’s Eve at two seatings. The earlier, 5 p.m. seating will include a $100 four-course meal and the 6:30 p.m. seating — that’ll run until midnight — includes a $130 five-course meal and a complementary sparkling wine toast. Dishes include kampachi crudo with caviar, seared foie gras, grilled diver scallops, ribeye cooked in the fireplace, butter poached turbot and bone marrow. There will also be an optional wine pairing for both seatings. Homestead will also be open on New Year’s Day, serving a special porchetta dish. Homestead is at 4029 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Desco Oakland. Photo: Emilie Raguso

ITALIAN PRIX FIXE AT DESCO In Old Oakland, Desco will offer its regular a la carte menu, plus a special $68 prix fixe menu starting at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The menu includes main course choices of duck breast with Savoy cabbage, chestnuts and traditional aged balsamic vinegar or seared scallops with roasted cauliflower, citrus and Prosecco butter sauce. Desco is at 499 Ninth St. (at Washington Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

TRUFFLED SCALLOPS AT ARTISAN BISTRO Lafayette’s Artisan Bistro will be serving a special, $119, five-course meal on New Years Eve that includes pan-roasted filet mignon, herb-crusted rack of lamb rack, or seared scallops with truffles wrapped in puff pastry as a choice of entree. There’s also an optional wine pairing available for $49. Reservations are recommended. Artisan Bistro is at 1005 Brown Ave. (at Mount Diablo Boulevard), Lafayette. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

Pintxos cart at Telefèric Barcelona. Photo: Beth Thomas

SPANISH FOOD AND MUSIC AT TELEFÈRIC BARCELONA Walnut Creek’s Telefèric Barcelona will hold two seatings on New Year’s Eve for its Spanish prix fixe meal and entertainment, which includes everything from live flamenco music to Salvador Dali and Leo Messi impersonators. The $85 dinner includes two cocktails, a meat and cheese plate, a flight of pintxos, two tapas of your choosing, a main course and a dessert. Telefèric Barcelona is at 1500 Mount Diablo Blvd. (at South Main Street), Walnut Creek. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

FIVE COURSES AT SABIO ON MAIN At Sabio on Main in Pleasanton, New Year’s Eve means a five-course prix fixe meal for $89. Those who choose a later, 10 p.m. seating will be treated to a complementary sparkling wine toast at midnight. Main course dishes include seared scallops with braised baby fennel, blood orange fondue, roasted beets and pistachio; grilled BN Ranch filet with smoked beef tallow potatoes, charred broccoli, crispy shallots and béarnaise sauce; or Liberty Duck cassoulet with smoked duck breast, garlic pork sausage, crispy sweetbreads, Iacopi beans and goose leg confit. Diners can also add Dungeness crab, shaved black truffle or seared foie gras to any main courses for an additional $20. Sabio on Main is at 501 Main St. (at Rose Avenue), Pleasanton. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Other events

Image: Roses’ Taproom/Facebook
Image: Roses’ Taproom/Facebook

ROSES’ TAPROOM HOLIDAY FUNDRAISER Temescal’s in-progress brewery, Roses’ Taproom, is holding a “Desert Island themed holiday wonderland” fundraiser in its empty storefront at 4930 Telegraph Ave. this Friday starting at 7 p.m. The $20 entrance fee includes a signature glass and free pours all night long. Ten different Roses’ beers will be available to taste, and the John Brothers Piano Company will perform. Roses’ will also be raffling off gift cards to restaurants like Penrose, Pizzaiolo, and Boot and Shoe Service, plus other local shops like Preserved. All proceeds go towards helping the brewery open. Hawaiian shirts are encouraged. Roses’ Taproom will be at 4930 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook.

POP-UP HOLIDAY MARKET AT TEMESCAL BREWING Down the street, Temescal Brewing will showcase a “winter wonderland” of local artisans on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. Artists include Sophie Tivona Illustration, Alé Katz mobile boutique, Ash+Oak Floral Design, Tess Young Jewelry, Silver & Bone Jewelry and Passport to Paper. There will also, of course, be plenty of beer to drink. Temescal Brewing is at 4115 Telegraph Ave. (at 41st Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Photo: Luckyduck Bicyle Café

HOLIDAY BAZAAR AT LUCKYDUCK In downtown Oakland, Luckyduck Bicycle Café is hosting its second holiday bazaar with “locally crafted gifts ready to make your day.” Such gifts include stones and gems by Crystal Cowgirl, potted plants and terrariums by Hillary Kaiser, handmade journals by Zoreal Thoughts, Galactic Love and Squalor totes and sweaters by Paul William, Wu Li Art, and BUMMER undies. Drink a beer and nosh on a sandwich while you shop. Luckyduck Bicycle Café is at 302 12th St. (at Harrison Street), Oakland. Connect with the company on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

GOOSE ROAST FEASTS AT HOPSCOTCH Starting Dec. 21 and running through Christmas Eve, Uptown’s Hopscotch will be serving a special whole animal goose roast feast. The $45 platters include goose breast pastrami, seared goose breast, confit goose wings and Vietnamese goose leg and giblet sausage. Hopscotch’s Kyle Itani recommends sharing a platter between two to three people. The restaurant is also serving a Christmas Eve brunch, a New Year’s Eve tasting menu, and a special brunch on New Year’s Day (and Jan. 2). Hopscotch is at 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at 19th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram.

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Kate Williams

Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...