You know a neighborhood is getting played out when the city considers a moratorium on the very thing that used to draw you there.
(*coug* Valencia Street *cough*)
Which is why we're placing our bets on Oakland as the epicenter of culinary cool in 2013.
Reason numer uno: Duende, scheduled to open this week in the old Floral Depot Building on 19th Street.
The 4,000-square-foot space centers on a battery of warm wood booths, where you can dine on up-to-the-minute Spanish cuisine that's as familiar as it is flexible.
Take the paella, for example. Its brothy goodness comes stocked with shellfish and served in the pan, just as you'd expect. But the saffron yellow rice has been replaced with vibrant red tomatoes, green arugula, and a punch of fennel.
Casual, yet sophisticated. Just as Uptown aims to be.
Parking: Street. But why drive when the 19th Street Bart is station is half a block away?
En Español: Duende means "goblin."
In the mezzanine: Stop by during daylight hours for housemade ice cream, coffee, wine and charcuterie in the mezzanine area.
About the wine: Think of the wine list as a crash course in Spanish wine, including more than 20 sherries. Like what you've tasted? Head downstairs to buy a bottle directly from the wine cellar.
Nearby: Xolo; Fauna; Make Westing