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.