Oakland restaurant Mägo opens doors, serving traditional, innovative Californian cuisine

Ella Langenthal/Staff

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On June 10, 3762 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland became home to a new Californian cuisine restaurant, Mägo, which is co-owned by Theresa Liberman and restaurant chef Mark Liberman.

Mark Liberman said in an email that he was inspired by the Parisian neo-bistro movement, which he described as “really high caliber food but being prepared in a very casual environment with a thought out beverage program.”

This is not the first restaurant founded by Mark Liberman, who was co-owner of AQ in San Francisco until 2017. According to Mägo’s website, Mark Liberman studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

According to Mark Liberman, at Mägo, the dishes serve to highlight the ingredients used. Each week, the menu changes in order to feature ingredients at their “peak.” Many of the ingredients are locally sourced from small farms or even from the garden located in the backyard patio of the restaurant. Mark Liberman, who was born in San Francisco and now lives in Oakland, said in an email that access to California farmers and producers was one reason it was important for Mägo to be located in the Bay Area.

“While I stepped away (from the Bay Area) multiple times to pursue jobs in other cities, I always loved it here when I came back,” Mark Liberman said in an email. “The producers that grow our food, raise our meat and catch our seafood are some of the best in the world.”

Mägo seats 45 people at its counter and dining room, which provides an opportunity for patrons to see the food being prepared and talk with the chefs. With the use of wood throughout the space, the restaurant has a “rustic casual” feel, Mark Liberman said in an email.

Snow White Coffee Bar owner Alex Bell said that as someone who owns a business in the neighborhood and also lives and raises his daughter there, he is excited for the introduction of Mägo as a new investment in the area.

“It’s nice there’s money and people interested in this end of Piedmont Avenue,” Bell said.

Currently, Mägo is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and only serves dinner, according to the restaurant’s website. In the future, Mark Liberman said he hopes to add a daytime service to the restaurant as well.

The website describes Mägo’s food and atmosphere as family-friendly. According to Mark Liberman, the food available is a combination of traditional flavors and more “innovative” dishes designed to make Mägo approachable and accessible to all.

“I wanted to make a restaurant that served simple food prepared in interesting/innovative ways,” said Mark Liberman in an email. “It’s a place that anyone can come eat.”

Contact Ella Langenthal at [email protected].