Shakewell in Oakland: Spanish Tapas Plates & Fried Chicken

In Oakland’s hip Lakeshore area, there is no shortage of great places to eat. I for one have always been partial to those that are trying to do something different though and for that I have become a fan of Shakewell. With a menu that stems primarily from the traditional tapas plates you would see in Spain, and a wood-fired paella, Shakewell deserves a spot on your list of Oakland restaurants to try. Here is all the information.

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Details

  • Cost: ~$25 – $30
  • Recommendations: Crab toast, octopus, fried chicken and churros
  • Location: 3407 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Getting There

Located in the Lakeshore area of Oakland on Lakeshore Ave, Shakewell is hard to miss. There is some street parking around the restaurant, but the best bet is the parking garage near Trader Joes. This lot generally lets you park for an hour or two for free, be sure to read the signs though.

The Restaurant

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The restaurant itself has a quaint yet open layout with lots of small tables and wrought iron lights.

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There is a large bar in the middle which serves lots of craft cocktails, ranging from traditional old fashioned’s all the way down to a you-call-it where the bartender just makes you a drink based on your alcohol choice.

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The Food

We sat down and looked at the large variety of options on the menu, with our waiter telling us to choose 3-5 for a table of two. Here is what we ordered:

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Bacalao croquettes – Salt cod mixed with potatoes and garlic, fried then topped with squid ink aioli. It is not something I would traditionally order, but it came highly recommended, so I went with it. I have to say I was impressed. I wouldn’t order it every time, but the savory fried fish and the black squid ink sauce is full of well thought out flavors that make for a good dish if you are adventurous. The fennel pollen on the outside adds just the right kick to complete the plate. It’s almost like a high-class fish stick, which I loved growing up, so it worked for me.

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Crab Toast – This dish is pretty mind blowing. It is super rich with decadent crab that melts in your mouth. The miso dressing adds a nice sweet tang to the dish, and the fresh celery is much better than the kind you would get at the store. Add to that a lightly buttered and grilled bread which rounds out the plate. I wish there would have been another one to eat.

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Tempura Fried Cauliflower – Another win; the cauliflower was lightly battered, so it was not mushy. The romesco sauce is almost like a spicy red pepper sauce and it comes from Spain, which I should have guessed since I was in a Spanish restaurant. The Thai basil is a nice addition that just adds a little flavor without overpowering it.  My wife is a vegetarian and she said this is a vegetable dish that she will actually remember, which is high praise.

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Spanish Octopus – Served with potatoes celery, salsa verde and pickled Fresno chili, this is another spicy dish but oh so good. The octopus melts in your mouth and is not chewy like it so often becomes when you order it. It still maintains a little bit of crisp on the skin though which is what you want. This is the dish I was most impressed with here.

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Fried Chicken – Choice cuts of the bird cooked to retain the moist consistency with a ton of flavor. The chicken is again lightly fried so as not to get greasy and it is served with a yogurt chili sauce that is hard to describe but that works really well. It is funny to have such good fried chicken at a Spanish tapas place but it is prepared in a very nontraditional way. I couldn’t recommend it enough Irs fantastic. The dairy adds an almost cream like consistency to the dish which I loved, and I cleaned my plate without any problems.

Pretty much every dish has a spice that comes with it. It’s never overpowering, but it lets you know you are eating Spanish food.

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Chocolate and churros – I hate to describe it as melt in your mouth again, but the churros have a crunchy outer shell with a melt in your mouth interior. These are like the ones you would have in Spain where the chocolate is not very sweet, and I prefer that since it’s is a good lightly sweet end to the meal. For me, this is a great sharing dessert to finish your time at Shakewell.

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Tres leches – Almost a complete 180 from the churros. This dish tastes like something you would be eating on a beach in the Carribean. The base has a rum cake flavor with a coconut / pineapple topping. It is soft and fluffy with a heavy fruit taste to finish it off. I enjoyed it a lot as well, especially the rum whipped creme that comes on top of it.

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Honestly, I really enjoyed everything here. The dishes were all very well thought out and the service from Jeff was top notch. I am a huge fan of this spot in Oakland, let me know what you think in the comments.

Disclosure: This meal was provided free of charge, all opinions are my own.

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