"Duende Impresses With Tapas, Paella," Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle

Duende impresses with tapas, paella

Michael Bauer

For many years, Paul Canales cooked Italian food at Oliveto in Oakland, garnering a solid reputation for his grilled meats and pastas. So when he went out on his own, it might have seemed logical he would follow a similar path.

But he took a different fork, calling upon his grandfather's Basque heritage for inspiration. His new restaurant, Duende, around the corner from Flora in a stunning black-tiled Art Deco building, has a decided Spanish bent, offering tapas, paella and an impressive list of Sherries. He also opened a bodega next door - a casual coffee house, market and wine bar.

- See more at: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Duende-impresses-with-tapas-paella-4358596.php

"Basque Ambition," Josh Sens, SF Magazine

Basque Ambition

With its far-flung Spanish menu, all-day bodega, and live jazz–streaming mezzanine, Duende aims high.

Josh Sens | March 14, 2013

According to Paul Canales, his buzzed-about new restaurant in Oakland’s Uptown district takes its name from a Spanish word referring to “the spirit of evocation, soul, and creative expression, of which the core elements are irrationality, earthiness, heightened awareness of death, and a dash of the diabolical.” So much for just going out to grab a bite to eat.

Sure enough, though, when you step into Duende, located in an art deco–era building with ceilings high enough to house a climbing gym, you come upon the makings of a theatrical—if not exactly diabolical—evening. The outsize space is home to a bodega with a wine bar, a cocktail bar–cum–lounge, and a dining room composed of deep, dark wood booths fringed with detailed ironwork. One wall is given over to a large, tribal-looking mural and another to installations of found object art that lend the feel of an urban gallery. A mezzanine in back doubles as a stage for live music.

- See more at: http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/basque-ambition#sthash.bs0BAg2s.dpuf

"At Duende, Uptown's Newest Hotspot, the Food is as Grand as the Venue," Luke Tsai, East Bay Express

At Duende, Uptown's Newest Hotspot, the Food Is as Grand as the Venue Paul Canales makes a stylish, free-form return to his Spanish roots.

By Luke Tsai 

Regardless of what you might read on wikiHow, there's no one-size-fits-all formula to opening a successful dining establishment. Even so, Duende, Paul Canales' ritzy new Spanish restaurant in Uptown Oakland, stands out for the sheer scale, and ballsiness, of its ambition.

How's this for a blueprint for success: Gut a cavernous, 4,000-square-foot former architect's office, then rebuild the interior from the ground up. Set up an informal art gallery and, for good measure, build a mezzanine-level performance venue for avant-garde jazz. Finally, set aside a sliver of space for a "bodega": a combination wine shop/olive oil tasting room/hipster coffee shop.

- See more at: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/at-duende-uptowns-newest-hotspot-the-food-is-as-grand-as-the-venue/Content?oid=3480978

"Duende Already an Oakland Favorite," Angela Woodall, Contra Costa Times

Duende a favorite already in the Oakland's Uptown dining scene

By Angela Woodall

Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND -- The freeze that made the Bay Area shiver for weeks finally broke Jan. 17 as people spilled into the restaurants, bars, cafes and theaters downtown.

There was the bloggerati power couple of the 2000s -- Echa Schneider (aka V Smoothe) and Jonathan Bair -- at Duende, Oakland's newest darling on the dining scene. They were standing at a table in a room, christened the Bodega, adjacent to the main chamber. Bottles of carefully selected wines and $18 bottles of artisan olive oil lined one of the walls.

After a few minutes of catching up, I marched across the street to the Fox Theater, where a 10th anniversary celebration for Oakland School for the Arts was in full swing. (Full disclosure: My child attends this school.)

- See more at: http://www.contracostatimes.com/tri-valley-times/ci_22445852/duende-favorite-already-oaklands-uptown-dining-scene