There’s something quintessentially Oakland about Abura-ya, a punk rock-inflected popup restaurant that takes over a downtown salad shop four nights a week, serving a menu of Japanese fried chicken and izakaya-inspired side dishes. Part of it has to do with how the folks who run the place manage to make it feel so friendly and down-to-earth while simultaneously being cooler than you’ll ever be. More importantly, though, the food is legit delicious. The star attraction is the shio koji-marinated fried chicken, served tossed in your choice of an array of delicious sauces or dry spice blends. But maybe the best thing about Abura-ya is how many top-notch, seasonal farmers’ market vegetables are on the menu on any given day, and how the cooks serve them up — always some interesting Japanese-inspired preparation — without patting themselves on the back or charging an arm and a leg: like, no big deal, here’s some first-of-the-season asparagus served four different ways, and here’s a little salad that doesn’t look like much that happens to be made with the best avocado you’ve ever eaten. All of that makes this one popup we hope sticks around.
.Best Permanent Popup Restaurant