Comfort food can take many different shapes and forms, depending on a diner’s preferences. In Oakland, there are a great variety of restaurants serving comfort food classics and twists that are sure to fulfill anyone’s hankering for a timeless and cozy meal.
When looking for soul food to satisfy your comfort food craving, Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland is the place to go. Run by Chef Tanya Holland, author of Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-style Down Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland, this restaurant serves updated versions of soul food classics based on Holland’s African American heritage and formal training in France. Serving breakfast and lunch, Brown Sugar Kitchen draws great crowds with their signature dish of buttermilk fried chicken and a cornmeal waffle with brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup. This dish, which is served all day, is crispy, savory and perfectly sweet. You can also order simple breakfast eats such as granola and sliced bananas with a choice of yogurt or milk, as well as baked goods such as buttermilk or savory biscuits.As for the atmosphere, Brown Sugar Kitchen’s small and open kitchen allows customers to see the faces behind the food, adding charisma and character to this restaurant.
Brown Sugar Kitchen, 2534 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland, CA 94607, USA, +1 510-839-7685
For an upscale and pricey comfort food restaurant, Pican provides a delicious southern menu. This restaurant located in downtown Oakland has an open dining area, as well as a private room. Pican’s clean and simple decor and the upbeat Motown and soul music compliments their southern comfort style. Pican offers a large menu with a variety of dishes to choose from, including fried green tomatoes and smoked pork belly lettuce wraps. Do not miss their southern fried chicken with a side of smoked Gouda mac and cheese makes your mouth water as soon as it hits the table. This dish comes with an option of truffle honey, which waiters drizzle over the chicken at your request.
Pican, 2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, USA, +1 510-834-1000
If you’re looking for a casual take on comfort food, particularly fried chicken, Bakesale Betty located on Telegraph Avenue does it best. This fried chicken comes in sandwich or salad form along with their signature coleslaw with jalapeños. The sandwich has the perfect amount of crunch and spice that makes customers flock to this signless street corner restaurant. The casual joint has efficient service despite their sometimes long lines. Grab a fried chicken sandwich along or one of their delicious baked goods, such as strawberry shortcake, to picnic or relax along Telegraph. This place keeps it casual with its hand written menus, ironing boards for street dining and irregular hours. Started by Australian Alison Bakarat, Bakesale Betty is open from 11:00am to 2:00pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Bakesale Betty, 5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609, USA, +1 510-985-1213
For something other than the classic American comfort food, Ramen Shop provides homemade noodle soups that really hit the spot. Located on College Avenue in Oakland, this Ramen restaurant offers creative takes on a traditional dish. Ramen Shop serves a simple menu of appetizers and three main dishes: Spring Garlic Shoyu Ramen, Veggie Shoyu Meyer Lemon Ramen and lastly their Spicy Tantanmen. This small-scale joint’s woodsy decor is both cozy and hip, offering small tables and a long bar for seating. Their policy of no reservations causes some long waits sometimes, but it’s well worth it.
Ramen Shop, 5812 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618, USA, +1 510-788-6370
Comfort is truly in the name of this restaurant located on 40th Street. This popular restaurant provides outdoor seating, as well as communal tables and separate booths and makes the most remarkable homemade mac and cheese, a classic childhood comfort food with an adult spin. This joint offers twelve kinds of mac and cheese including Mexican mac, mac the goat, Sriracha mac and Greek-style mac just to name a few. Their buttery breadcrumbs are a must-try topping, adding a crispy texture to each creamy dish. Open Sunday through Saturday 11am to 10pm, you can eat in house or order online using their website or mobile app. Homeroom recently opened Homeroom To-Go just down the street. Pull up to their fly-through sign and employees will bring your order out to your car. This restaurant is utterly perfect if you’re trying to get your comfort on at the restaurant or in your own home.
Homeroom, 400 40th St, Oakland, CA 94609, USA +1 510-597-0400