36 minutes in Temescal

Telegraph Avenue in Temescal. Photo courtesy of Berkeleyside.
Temescal, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Oakland, has gone through a bit of a revitalization recently. Telegraph Avenue, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, recently received long overdue fresh pavement and protected bike lanes, making bike travel through the area safer and improving the street's aesthetic. With so much going on in Temescal, it's easy to spend an entire day there. And with the neighborhood being just a short stroll from our MacArthur station, it's also easy to get in and out in just 36 minutes.
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Inside Marcus Books. Photo courtesy of Rothy's.

Featured shops

Just outside MacArthur station, at the corner of 39th St and Martin Luther King Jr Way, is the nation's oldest Black-owned independent bookstore, Marcus Books. Now celebrating its 60th year, the bookstore has become a literary and cultural hallmark that has hosted iconic authors including Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Angela Davis, and so many more. Marcus Books is an institution where those who have written books, produced visual work and more can see themselves on a shelf, wall, or counter surrounded by other Black makers. Stop in for an extensive collection of books and listen to the soulful background music as you browse.
Inside Preserved. Photo courtesy of KQED.

Preserved is a kitchen shop focused on traditional methods of preserving and fermenting. It's a community resource, empowering and inspiring a greater connection to food. Preserved carries supplies for making your own sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables; jams, jellies and vinegars; sourdough and other breads; yogurt, cheese and butter; beer, cider and mead (fermented honey with water); kombucha, kefir – both milk and water – bitters and tinctures; soap, salves, and kitchen wares like old school food mills, mortars and pestles, and many sizes of strainers. Preserved is at the corner at 51st Street and Telegraph Ave at 5032 Telegraph Ave.

A pastry from La Dolce Vita. Photo courtesy of La Dolce Vita.

The intersection of 40th St and Telegraph Ave has a new, family-run, Italian-inspired pastry, dessert and sandwich spot, La Dolce Vita. Owner Tegsti Woldemichael is the former owner of Oakland-based Ethiopian and Eritrean spice company Shamden Spice, which Woldemichael closed last year due to the pandemic. Woldemichael and family welcome you inside to enjoy a scrumptious sandwich on house-made focaccia or pastries and desserts such as croissants, tiramisu, fruit tarts, and cookies. La Dolce Vita is at 3931 Telegraph Ave.

Other places we love

Temescal has no shortage of great restaurants, drink spots, and sweets -- almost every option in the neighborhood is a good choice.

An array of dishes from Asmara. Photo courtesy of Asmara.


Head to Arthur Mac's Tap & Snack for hand-made pizza, beer, and wings, Kansai for late-night sushi, Cholita Linda for Latin American street food, Moo Bong Ri for Korean, and Asmara for Eritrean/Ethiopian.

The Avenue bar. Photo courtesy of Visit Oakland.


Temescal Brewing has been pouring fresh beer since 2016, the dark rocker dive, The Avenue celebrates Halloween year-round, or if warm pinkish tones are more your thing, check out Roses' Taproom for beer and wine.

The case of donuts at Golden Gate Donuts. Photo courtesy of Berkeleyside.


Golden Gate Donuts is a popular locals spot for breakfast, Curbside Creamery serves up vegan and non-vegan ice cream, and Bakesale Betty specializes in hefty buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches and classic desserts.

Let's talk for a minute. 

What's your favorite spot in Temescal? Have a suggestion for our next 36 minutes feature? Let us know via social media, @SFBARTable #SFBARTable! Keep up with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see all of the best BARTable (virtual) events, places to eat (grab take out from) and have fun (outside) around the Bay. 

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