Oakland is a city where flavor meets culture, from hyphy music to Afro-Cali fusion food, it’s a gem in Northern California and a must-visit for every food lover. From celebrations of Black joy to Afro-Llatin cocktail lounges and fusion Ethiopian cuisine, Oakland offers diverse food options and local events that everyone can enjoy.
Check out our BLACK FOODIE Guide to Oakland below!
The Bay area is home to a large community of East Africans so the Ethiopian food scene is flavorful and authentic. Mela Bistro is a bright and beautiful two-story restaurant that serves up fresh and creative takes on Ethiopian food. Try Mela’s classic Ethiopian dishes with a bit of twist like their colorful vegetarian platter with spicy lentil misir. Mela Bistro’s menu is fresh and creative and features bold flavors that will have you doing the happy dance.
Located in Swan Market, The Cook and Her Farmer is the perfect place to stop by for a casual lunch while exploring the sights in Oakland. Try their shucked oysters or fried oyster po’boy if you’re feeling hungry. They offer outdoor seating, so you can enjoy the California sun while eating a delicious locally sourced meal.
Steps from The Cook and her Farmer are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. Enjoy one of the many creative flavors like key lime pie or their classic red velvet. Grab dessert or take a box to go for later.
Kinfolx is anything but your average coffee shop. Located in downtown Oakland, this beautiful space doubles as a wine bar and gathering place for community events. Kinfolk is a great place for a cozy drink and a snack, or come in later for a glass of wine with friends. Look out for their curated selection of Black-owned wines and their special events!
This new restaurant and market fuses Afro-Caribbean and Iranian flavors. Try their Iranian spreads or their brunch — their french toast alone is worth the trip!
For over 50 years, Everette and Jones BBQ has supplied heart, hope, and flavor to the community of Oakland. Initially located on the historic 7th street in West Oakland, this BBQ joint served as a cultural hub for Oakland’s Black community in the ’60s and ’70s. Now located on Broadway, you don’t want to miss out on their amazing BBQ brisket or the many sides like mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread.
With great vibes, food and flavor, Sobre Mesa is a must-visit for Bay Area travelers. This Afro-Latin cocktail lounge is well-known for its hand-crafted drinks and tasty tapas. Sobre Mesa’s vibrant color and design makes it a great fit for a fun night out or a unique romantic dinner for two.
Located inside the Oakland Museum of California, Town Fare offers a variety of soul food favorites like shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and mac and cheese. Town Fare also boasts unique fusion dishes like their curry spring rolls and jackfruit carnitas tacos. Come check out the Oakland Museums’ Angela Davis exhibit and end your visit with a delicious bite at Town Fare!
Mushin is a popular spot amongst Oakland natives because of its swanky vibe and delicious cocktails. The boutique sports lounge is Nigerian-owned and offers a unique menu that merges American, African American and Nigerian cuisine. Stop by with friends to watch your favorite team and enjoy their famous avocado margarita.
True to its name, Solely Vegan offers delicious plant-based soul food. From gumbo to jambalaya to cajun spaghetti, their dishes are packed with flavor. Those who love the soul food classics like fried chicken and mac and cheese will not be disappointed by their vegan take on these dishes. Souley Vegan is a unique gem that is located near some of Oakland’s most popular bars and lounges.
Where to Stay
Kissel Uptown is a great option for Bay Area visitors. The hotel offers beautiful special rooms and a wide array of amenities. The hotel’s rooftop bar, High Five, boasts a great brunch menu and also serves delicious, well-crafted cocktails. Kissel Uptown is located within walking distance of several Black-owned restaurants, bars, and hotspots. For a sweet treat, we recommend Kissel’s donuts!
For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, we encourage you to take a walk around Oakland’s Lake Merritt, which is also located near some great restaurants like Lake Chalet and Portal. You can also get some food to go and take a trip to Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. You won’t be disappointed by the beautiful Redwoods or great hiking trails!
Oakland is also home to amazing events every BLACK FOODIE needs to add to their list from Black Vines, a celebration of Black wine, culture and art to Black Joy Parade, an incredible celebration of Black joy, music and community.
Black FOODIE’s trip to Oakland was full of delightful flavors and unique dining and cultural experiences. Check out some of the restaurants above during your next trip to Oakland and let us know about your experience in the comments!