Fried Okra at Souley Vegan Soul Food One door closes, another door opens. Here in L.A. I’m still mourning the closure of one our best vegan soul food restaurants, Taste of Life (still serving weekend’s at the Hollywood Farmers Market), but up in Oakland they’re celebrating the re-opening of their best soul food place, Souley Vegan.

Souley’s had been a staple at the Oakland Farmers Market in Lake Merritt and had also opened up a restaurant, but they didn’t stay open for very long. Much to my luck, my recent visit up north coincided with the grand reopening of Souley’s in their new Oakland location in Jack London Square. Even though they’d only just opened their doors to the public, they were more than ready to take care of us, both with very friendly service as well as enormous portions of amazing food. They might have been extra nice to us that day because my friend and I were dressed as superheros (don’t judge) but I’m pretty sure they’re just as nice to everyone. As much as I love Taste of Life, I gotta admit the incredible food at Souley’s really gives them a run for their money. Have a gander…

Fried Okra at Souley Vegan Soul Food

These little bites of ridiculous deliciousness are the Fried Okra. Pretty much just what the sign says… battered up, deep fried, served up hot & crunchy. These are so damn good, my partner in crime Jason & I practically devoured this entire plate in seconds flat.

And that was just for starters…

Souley Vegan Soul Food

This gorgeous ensemble is the “Everything Plate”, which gets you, well, just about everything. Perfect! We’re talking black eyed peas, lentils, potato salad, BBQ tofu, collard greens, macaroni & cheese, sweet yams… damn, it was a lot of food, and every forkful of it was pure southern style heaven.

Souley Vegan Soul Food

The mac & cheese is so yummy… I wouldn’t say it tastes like real cheese, but who cares, it’s delicious. I love their BBQ tofu which tasted is if it had been marinated a good amount of time in the sauce which was nicely infused and slightly caramelized. The greens were excellent, as were the beans and lentils (though one of those two was a little bit on the salty side for me, though I can’t remember now which one). The yams were sticky and sweet and just right.

Along with the Everything Plate we splurged even further and also got the Southern Fried tofu which is meant to approximate something like fried chicken, but which, like most vegan stuff made by people with mad skills, actually tastes so much better than the “real” thing.

Southern Fried Tofu at Souley Vegan Soul Food

Seriously folks, this Southern Fried Tofu is no joke, it’s one of the best things I had on my whole trip (and I had a lot of good stuff!). It’s all about the breading with this, which is very thick, layered in scalloped chunks, crunchy and perfectly seasoned to be reminiscent of all the good things you might remember about fried chicken, but minus the dead bird of course. The inside is just basically a slab of tofu, but the tofu soaks up the flavor from the batter and once it all comes together in some blessed hot oil, something miraculous occurs and this glorious hunk of crispy fried love is the result. If you’re ever at Souley’s you absolutely must order this… do not miss the opportunity, I would say it’s their specialty and I’ve never had anything like it anywhere else.

Cornbread at Souley Vegan Soul Food

Surely you can’t have a proper soul food meal without cornbread, and you know I wouldn’t have it any other way. The cornbread at Souley’s is extra tasty, just like everything else. I love this place and it’s one of many reasons I can’t wait to get back to the Bay Area for another visit as soon as possible. If you find yourself anywhere near Oakland and are ready for some excellent food that I guarantee will rock your world, venture on into the hood and move Souley’s right up to the top of your list (and please bring me back some of that fake fried chicken- I’ll do anything).

Souley Vegan
301 Broadway
(at 3rd St)
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-1615
Tue-Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

p.s… I’ve learned that since I was there they’ve also started serving desserts such as sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, carrot cake, cheesecake and all sorts of crazy delicious shakes & juices… geez, won’t someone please take pity on me and donate a round trip ticket for one from Burbank to Oakland???

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4 Responses to “Bay Area Vegan: Souley Vegan Soul Food Re-opens”
  1. Melisser says:

    Ooh, I need to try the Okra! I love that tofu!

  2. Kevin says:

    When we were up there for the SF Veg Fest last month we tried to go there on our way out of town but had no idea it was closed. Fortunately there was one of those Supreme Master asian places across the street so we went there instead. Too bad we missed out on Souly, it looks awesome!

  3. Vegan Veteran says:

    I’ve eaten at Souley’s and I can attest to the fact that this place is DELICIOUS! Their southern fried tofu is off the hook, but so is the okra and everything else. Thanks for the review, more people need to know about this amazing vegan eatery.

  4. Trina says:

    good god that looks amazing.