Bocanova opened in September, 2009 and serves Latin American – Californian cuisine in a colorful setting located in Jack London Square, Oakland. This area has recently seen the opening of several upscale restaurants, helping to revitalize the scene. The husband-wife team worked at Chez Panisse and MarketBar.
Decor, Vibe – Modern Jack London square waterfront dining in a converted old warehouse with lots of retro lighting and dark woods lending itself to a fun hip atmosphere. Place was about 50% full on a weekday evening with mostly urban locals in their 30’s and 40’s.
Menu (Click to zoom into any picture)
Beef, Currant, Green Olive Empanadas ($6) were 2 good sized deep fried wonders stuffed with tender beef with tomatillo sauce. Nicely done.
Prather Ranch Mini Burgers ($9) were three small sliders cooked to a medium rare and topped with guasaca sauce. Prather Ranch make some of the excellent meat.
Mexican Wild Shrimp Cerviche ($9) with fried chips, jicima, red pepper, and cilantro was an excellent. A large heap of shrimp in a tomatoey sauce with very crispy freshly fried chips. A must get dish.
Albacore crudo ($9) Veracruz style with five slices of fresh thin fish in a tomato based sauce with green accents on top.
Mojito ($10) was very strong and tall. Their bartenders clearly know how to make good cocktails.
Signature Camembert Cheese plate ($9) with a tripe creamer slice, tomato marmalade, organic honeycomb and warm acme bread. Weired seeing cheese on a Latin menu, but this is California. Pretty smooth and creamy cheese with some nice fresh honey.
Sea of Cortez Scallops ($15) in a Brazilian curry sauce consisted of about six medium sized fresh scallops cooked with a nice carmelized crust. Curry sauce gave it some color and made it a little zesty. Topped with chopped carrots and jicima.
Yucatan Seafood stew ($16) with musells, clams, roasted garlic, grapefruit, tomato took longer than our other entrees. Adequate quantity of good shell fish, but nothing truly special. Almost like a Latin cippiono.
Roasted Plantain ($6) with mild queso fresco and criollo sauce were fried with the skin on, making them extremely tough. Tasted almost like a sweet potato.
Bocanova had very good friendly service, with a minor hiccup but no need to hail for water and the like. Prices are in the expected range with good food quality. Bocanova is a good bet if you are in Jack London Square and want some Latin influenced food in a contemporary atmosphere.
Pretty good sized Wine list and impressive wine wall with moderate price markup, bottles from $26, glasses from $7.