Best Permanent Popup Restaurant

Abura-ya

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.

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