Bay Area/ Oakland/ Food & Drinks
Published on August 22, 2018
Comforting cuisine: The 5 best spots for Southern food in OaklandAunt Mary's Cafe. | Photo: Alvin R./Yelp

In search of a new favorite Southern eatery?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Southern joints around Oakland, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to meet your needs.

1. Lois the Pie Queen

Photo: dean c./Yelp

Topping the list is Lois the Pie Queen, a legendary corner cafe known for its pies and fried chicken. Located at 851 60th St., the soul food spot in North Oakland is the highest rated Southern restaurant in the city, boasting four stars out of 906 reviews on Yelp.

Bring an empty stomach and keep an eye out for breakfast items like eggs any style, pecan waffles, French toast, buttermilk hotcakes, and grannie's scramble, with two eggs, sweet peppers and Italian sausage. A selection of burgers, salads, sandwiches and specials like catfish, baked ham, fried chicken and meatloaf are also on offer for lunch and dinner. 

2. Smokin' Woods BBQ

Photo: evan s./Yelp

Next up is Temescal's Smokin' Woods BBQ, which is sharing space with 2nd Half Sports Lounge at 4307 Telegraph Ave. As we previously reported, the barbecue joint takes over the kitchen on Sundays and Mondays with brisket plates and pork and beef ribs cooked over cherry and oak wood. Round out your meal with sides that include baked beans, collard greens, potato salad, and macaroni and cheese. With 4.5 stars out of 171 reviews on Yelp, the smokehouse has proven to be a local favorite.

3. Aunt Mary's Café

Photo: mark a./Yelp

Temescal's Aunt Mary's Café, located at 4640 Telegraph Ave. (near 47th Street), is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the daytime cafe four stars out of 500 reviews. It's been serving up Southern fare for a decade, with offerings like a chorizo scramble, corned beef hash and grits waffles served with maple-flavored syrup. 

"A twist on gourmet soul food," Yelper Joy W. said. "I have loved everything on their menu from the pork belly hash to the oyster po'boy, to a simple breakfast of biscuits with sausage and sage gravy. Their menu changes often, but you won't be disappointed. There's something on there for every taste. Just be ready for a food coma on your way out."

4. Lena's Soul Food Restaurant

Photo: Lena's Soul Food Restaurant/Yelp

Lena's Soul Food Restaurant in East Oakland is another go-to, with four stars out of 479 Yelp reviews. Head over to 6403 Foothill Blvd. (at 64th Avenue) to try the Southern and Creole cuisine for yourself.

Get ready for buffet-style service and a $0.99 cent menu that includes rice and gravy, a fried chicken leg or thigh, one piece of fried fish, cornbread muffins or four hush puppies. Regular plates come with two sides like red beans and rice, or black-eyed peas, with main portions that include smothered chicken, fried fish, neck bones, oxtails or turkey wings. 

5. Phat Matt's BBQ

Photo: Carolen M./Yelp

Last but not least is Phat Matt's BBQ, which has earned four stars out of 469 reviews on Yelp. Located at 3415 Telegraph Ave., the barbecue joint serves classic Southern favorites made with Matt's own rubs and sauces that have no added salt. On the menu, look for Texas-style brisket, Carolina pulled pork and Memphis-style pork ribs along with collard greens, cornbread and yams. 

"This is the best barbecue restaurant I have been to," Yelper Eri F. wrote. "The chicken melts in your mouth, the ribs are moist and juicy inside but crispy outside, and their macaroni and cheese, cornbread and peach cobbler are to die for. Definitely cannot wait to go back."