Duende opens in Oakland
By Paolo Lucchesi
Paul Canales made his name cooking rustic Italian food at Oakland's Oliveto for 15 years. He left that restaurant a few years ago, and now he's opened Duende, his own Oakland project.
Duende is a stylish, ambitious Spanish restaurant located in the historic Floral Depot building in the shadow of the Fox Theater.
Actually, it's more than just a restaurant. In addition to a bar specializing in sherry cocktails, the two-story space features an all-day "bodega" selling coffee, churros and other light snacks, proprietary olive oil, and bottles of wine to drink at home or in the restaurant. Upstairs is a private event space that will double as a music venue.
But the main attraction is the restaurant. Along with general manager and partner Rocco Somazzi, Arcsine Architecture and a host of local artists, Canales has carved out a vibrant 84-seat dining room in the high-ceilinged space, the walls covered in colorful murals.