My dining companion and I just adored eating here this evening. We ordered LOTS of food, small tapas-style dishes that we shared. Everything on the menu is vegan unless you're crazy and you opt for goats' milk cheese instead of the delicious smoked pecan/macadamia nut/herbed cashew cheese. WHAT? Who would do a certifiably insane thing like that? I don't know, but my friend and I certainly didn't. OK, they also randomly have deviled eggs on the "small bites" menu. I guess it's kinda the "omni option" (I was trying to make a little joke there about restaurants having one "vegan option" but I'm not sure that it actually works as a joke, so, sorry.)
The stuffed dates with macadamia nut pate and walnut "honey" were so good that my friend got a second order of it to go. The French lentil walnut spread with crostini (it also had a bunch of arugula) was really great and I kinda licked the container after we finished. The side salad, which I got with vegan Caesar dressing due to the novelty of vegan Caesar was quality. The marinated mushrooms with smoked pecan pate, cornichon, house made prune chutney, French mustard and crisp crostini was rich and flavorful and very much like something you'd get at Millennium, but kind of a small portion, which actually suited the two of us fine because we'd ordered so much. We also got the quesadilla with cashew pecan chipotle cheese, which apparently has a different filling every day.
Each thing made us ooh and ahh. It was a LOT like spending twice as much at Millennium in SF (a restaurant I love, but cannot really afford), except I got to do it while sitting outside on a bright, quiet Oakland street while people walked their adorable tiny dogs by us (yep, everyone at the veg restaurant wants to pet your dog, you know this). This place has a great friendly and casual vibe and it seems like the people who work there are, like, happy. Not BS happy, but actually not-hating-their-jobs happy.
And, yes, we also got dessert and somehow put it all into our faces. The 4 desserts were all vegan! I opted for a raw strawberry cheesecake kind of thing that was perfection, and my friend got a little multi-layer parfait thing which was also perfection, but I liked mine better.
Go to Encuentro! It's easy to park nearby, also. This place has the best food in Oakland, I'm pretty sure of it. I want to eat all the things (except the deviled eggs)! Can't wait to return.
I've posted pictures of the food. Look and drool.Pros: best food & vegan cheese, people's tiny dogs, great friendly vibe
Cons: deviled eggs, want to eat all the things, cons?? no.