Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar

Food Town, USA: Maybe that’s a stretch, but the tiny strip in Oakland’s Glenview neighborhood has exploded as a culinary hot spot, and Bellanico is behind much of this area’s big bang. An open kitchen lets you watch Jonathan Luce work his magic on dishes like bright red and gold beet-filled ravioli or artichoke and erbette chard risotto with toasted pine nuts. Braised short ribs with roasted root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and AmaRosa potatoes is the perfect dish to tuck into on a chilly winter night. The familiar Bay Area mantra (local, sustainable, and organic) is evident at this cozy trattoria, too, but Bellanico refrains from listing every farmer’s name on the menu (thank you), which allows more time to ponder the list of wines by the glass, each of which is also available in a three-ounce tasting size. Images of Italian bicycles decorate the walls, as if to send a final eco-friendly message. You might not be able to pedal over from the city, but you do want to go east, young man and woman, to see what Oakland’s cooking up.

sweet seats

The two tables near the windows are the best; the continuous wooden bench against the wall is another good spot, and it’s less of a social commitment than a communal table.

chew on this

Bellanico’s menu ranges all over Italy, and it stops in one fairly atypical place, Venice, for cicchetti, the bite-size items at the top of the dinner menu. Each one can also be chased with an ombra, a three-ounce glass of wine, in the Venetian tradition.


lunch: Mon.–Fri. 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
dinner: Mon.–Thurs. 5:30 PM–9:30 PM;
Fri.–Sat. 5:30 PM–10 PM; Sun. 5 PM–9 PM
brunch: Sat.–Sun. 10:30 AM–2:30 PM

price range

$16 (risotto) to $22 (duck breast)