It was something new to do for restaurant week . Food was ok, nothing too special. We are on a mission to find the best paella. This wasn’t it. Waiter gave off a weird vibe and my daughter who has worked in restaurant industry and believes in tipping well did not tip well this time. It was freezing and I left my jacket on the entire time. We probably won’t be returning.
We were reminded of our paella in Barcelona. Great cabbage salad. We loved the young and diverse servers, gentle and helpful. The down side was lack of decent heating system. We had to wear our jackets the whole Time!
Intrigued by Oakland Restaurant Week we paid our first visit to Duende and we're delighted. We ordered the Prix Fixe menu and were very satisfied. We had the black squid ink paella as the main and it was delish. The Savoy lettuce salad was an eye opener and the waiter's wine recommendation was spot on.
We'll be back.
Slow service: we stay at our table after being seated for almost 10 minutes before anyone came to take an order or see if we had any questions or most importantly explain the menu. There were only 4 other couples when we got there and it was the start if their night. So, why the poor service?
Food: nothing mind blowing Or exciting. One taps we ordered was too salty. The other was a very plain and left we wishing it had been crisps or French fries rather that bland fried potato cubes.
We skipped dessert.
We made reservations and still had to wait an extra 20-30 minutes without any updates and had to approach the host to inquire. Seen multiple 2tops (table for 2) get seated before us. At least 4 other groups who were not there before us.
Food wise! We had the Restaurant week menu, the starting salad is really good! Something I would order again. The squid ink Paella was good too but not sure if the fish on top was suppose to be extra chewy . Everything else is eh. Potatoes def over cooked.
Overall we spent over $150 for two- I don’t think it was worth it.
Drinks were very slow and the plates of food were too fast. We had three plates of food before the wine came. The food is really good.
Everything was PERFECT!!! Duede never disappoints!
The menu is broad, and we shared family style. Everyone found many dishes they enjoyed. We did not feel rushed by the waiter, and had a great reunion of friends and family.
The new oyster appetizer is amazing! Very nice seasonal addition to the menu.
Loved our meal and our server was wonderful. BUT we sat upstairs and it was cold! We might have lingered longer & bought dessert if we all hadn't had to put on our jackets due to the chill.
This review is mainly about the service. The food is always good here. My husband and I had gotten married earlier in the day at the County Clerk’s office and wanted to have a romantic dinner for two. When the server took our drink order, we told her we had just gotten married and wanted to celebrate with some champagne (we were also dressed up - me in a formal white dress and him a suit and boutonnière, but she didn’t ask if we were celebrating anything so we had to bring it up ourselves). She then asked if we wanted a bottle or glasses, clear that there was going to be no celebratory glass of anything on the house.
She then walked away and returned a minute later, pointed at me, and said “I’m going to need to see YOUR I.D.” I’m 29 years old but am never rude when people card me because I know it’s their job. However, the way she did it, coming back as an afterthought and asking only for mine, did not make me feel great. It felt like either she thought I was a 19 year old bride running off with a much older man, or an underage girl with an elaborate scheme to get dressed up in white, put on a ring and try to get some free booze. I guess I should have been flattered but honestly I don’t look younger than 25.
The rest of the night we received mediocre service - she brought our food and the dessert we ordered and then the check. No complementary slice of cake or even a congratulations at the end. What was supposed to have been a very special evening became underwhelming and even disappointing.
So while I like the food at Duende, I probably won’t be back soon and definitely won’t recommend for any type of special occasion. I’d recommend to the managers that they train their staff on some sort of protocol for recognizing a special event, even if that doesn’t include a complementary glass of sparkling wine. Also might be a good to card the whole table if everyone looks like they could be in their 20’s, that way you don’t single out women in an accusatory way.
We are three foodies who noticed, appreciated, savored every fine detail in the dishes we ordered. Cannot wait to return!
Have enjoyed Duende in the past, but this time disappointed. Menu was seasonal, but to a degree that was all squash all the time. Drinks were ok, but not as good a I remember and service was fairly slow for drinks but fast for food, so we had most of our food finished before getting drinks.
Super nice staff. We were soooooo late due to a traffic accident. They found a table for us. Food is amazing. Wait staff very knowledgeable. The kitchen can get backed up approaching showtime at the nearby Fox Theater. So be aware of that. Definitely a favorite.
Was pleasantly surprised how delicious all of our dishes were! Service was excellent as well - we'll be back!
Delicious food & we appreciated the sensitivity to our dietary needs.
The squid ink paella was excellent
Generally good & imaginative food. Both the cabbage slaw and the roasted squash appetizers- visually engaging- were marred by a little too much vinegar (the kitchen is heavy on vinegar). Grilled branzino was good. Wait staff -tho very busy - were mostly attentive.
Birthday party. Was a fun time and thank god they rescued my friend’s cell phone
Very convenient place to meet friends. Not too noisy as we had a booth. However you are sitting on wood benches and after and hour or so it becomes very uncomfortable.
Food was good. Not memorable. But would good food. Each order two different paella’s. Both good. Enough for four people. We also order two small plates which were both very good.
Decent almond cake desert. Good... not outstanding and a very average cappachino.
Every item was well-balanced and artfully prepared. They obviously take care in the quality of each dish - even the goat cheese was way better than what you get at many places. Server was very attentive and helpful. We'll be returning.
Great option for vegetarians! Service was great considering how busy they were
We had a wonderful experience.. the wait staff was very helpful & friendly.. food was great..
The food served was different than what was listed on the menu. Food prep was very poor and seemed inexperienced; potatoes were cold and over cooked; clams were gritty; seeds in the squash were not removed before squash was roasted. The service was good. Unfortunately, the kitchen doesn’t seem to care about how the food is prepared: slapdash.
Literally the worst meal I’ve had in Oakland in 20 years of dining out here. The waitstaff however was lovely.
Duende never disappoints! Always one of our favorites!
innovative dishes, delicious and savory food! Will definitely go back!
Service is really lacking. We had a very new server to the restaurant, but he was apparently very new to being a server and was really oblivious to our needs.
Superb. Outstanding. 10 out of 10
Real Spanish Tapas are back in Oakland. Duende picks up well where Barlata left off. But don't depend too much on the online sample menu. For example, there were no pork belly items the night we went. What we did order was good...somewhat imaginative, yet traditional at the same time. Highly recommend the Carne Cruda. Prices look reasonable, but most portions were quite small. It was slow the night we were there, but it was easy to imagine the place being noisy when full. Server was knowledgeable and great, until he lost focus toward the end of our meal.
Great food. Wonderful friendly service. Perfect location.
We love Duende and always have a great time when we go. Last night was very odd. We got the wrong drinks, disliked 3/5 dishes and our waiter forgot that we had ordered our paella and asked if we wanted desert before the main arrived. I hope this isn’t the new trend as we really do love this place!
Good and service is delicious! My favorite place for a special meal with friends and family.
Duende is an unusual restaurant with a unique menu. We had a reservation. Were seated right away--but not welcomed by anyone for several minutes--we were pre-theatre at 6 pm and the restaurant was empty. The server could have helped us out with the menu since it was our first time but even after several questions from our party of 2, there were no relevations or recommendations from the server to help us out. The staff was in Halloween costumes, we finally determined. The food was good and sometimes great. I think if we had been more familiar with the menu we could have ordered more coordinated items to share. The drinks were amazing--we loved the "Palomas"--I think that was the name. We finished and one of my pet peeves is when you are completely finished with dinner and drinks and even your water glasses are empty it still takes awhile to get the check. Anyway, I would definitely go back feeling a little more prepared to make my selections. As far as restaurants close to either the Paramount or the Fox Theatre--it is the best in my opinion.
Paul always offers amazing fresh food. Everything was seasonal and appropriate. We loved the way the selections came together and large enough to share with four.
Uninspired. Bad food. Won't be returning. Nothing more to say.
I went to Duende for my birthday. beautiful surroundings, unassuming and spot on service. You can tell the food is cared for and thoughtfully conceived. We did not leave hungry and it did not break the bank. They were firing on all cylinders and I can't wait to go back.
Great food, music, energy, service, and ambiance. Will definitely be back.