Spice Monkey is easily the most attractive restaurant in Oakland, inside and out. Housed in a stunning orange and black building — once home to the Robert Howden & Sons tile showroom, the name of which still emblazons the edifice — the restaurant's stained glass-and-tile facade gives way to a light-filled Mediterranean-style dining area with a tile floor, a gently bubbling fountain, and a fireplace. Glass lanterns hang from the ceiling, a painted-tile staircase leads to an upstairs lounge space, and there's greenery and dark wood everywhere. Given all this, it should come as no surprise that Spice Monkey's art is anything but an afterthought: The restaurant's co-owners see themselves as curators in their own way, and take pains to seek out and display talented, under-the-radar local artists for their rotating wall exhibits.
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