550 2nd St.
Oakland, CA 94607
Encuentro is a casual upscale restaurant in Oakland (“casual upscale??” It’s not a diner or a pub but a low lit joint serving slightly pricey food; so dress appropriately) close to Jack London Square. It used to be open daily with a menu of all vegetarian and vegan food (their vegan cheese plate was amazing) but now they offer monthly prix fixe dinner and catering services. Instead of reservations, you purchase tickets for a dinner through Eventbrite.
Dinner, as of this writing is $60 per person, including tax and gratuity. There are no selections beyond the beverage menu. Dinners are usually several small courses; the dinner Cody and I attended on Friday had six courses, including two appetizers, a salad, a soup, small main, and a dessert. We were full, but not stuffed.
The food is upscale, but it’s all vegan—ever since Encuentro switched to monthly dinners, their menus have been all-vegan (at least by my accounting, and we’ve been to at least five or six in the past 18 months are so).
The menus are always different, but always seasonal. For example, on Friday our main was butternut squash gnocchi in a thick squashy sauce with leeks, and our soup was a pumpkin miso soup with brass leaks, pears and hazelnuts (it was far more pumpkin than miso, but you get the idea). I’ve never had a bad meal; almost every dish we’ve ever had has been delicious. Once in a while, we haven’t loved a particular dish, but that accounts to just our personal taste as opposed to the kitchen’s execution.
It would be pointless to go over all the food we ate since the menus change monthly, but check out the pictures and captions below and you will get an idea of what you are in for when you buy tickets.
Encuentro has a short but decent beer and wine list; so we always enjoy a nice glass of wine when we go. The only caveat is that because it’s a timed affair, you can’t just hang out with a bottle of wine after dinner. This goes especially for the early shift (there are two dinners every night—5:30 and 8:15pm in our case; we attended the 8:15 time); so you go to eat and then you leave. You aren’t hurried out or anything; I just want to make you aware of this little detail.
I highly encourage you to check out an Encuentro dinner. Even if you don’t live in the Bay Area, but are planning to be in the vicinity, check out their calendar and see if your trip will coincide with a dinner.