"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.

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