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Best Southern/Soul Food 

Picán

Classic soul and Southern specialties reimagined in a sophisticated California setting sounds like a recipe for boring, bloodless faux food. But Pican, a striking new eatery in Oakland's burgeoning Uptown district, pulls it off with a menu of revitalized old favorites that are as satisfying as they are inventive. Fried chicken is brined, battered in buttermilk, and served with earthy truffle honey. There's a luscious slab of pork belly glazed in maple and served with pea shoots and black-eyed peas. Tender, smoky barbecued ribs come with a peanut-ribboned jalapeño coleslaw. And the she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, mac 'n' cheese, and warm, feathery biscuits are not to be missed. Sassafras ice cream and house-made pralines make delicious meal-closers, and the wrought iron/pecan-wood setting is ideal for a snifter of single-barrel bourbon (Picán has the widest selection of corn liquor in the Bay Area). The restaurant also offers a sumptuous Sunday brunch complete with beignets, crawfish biscuits and gravy, and New Orleans Ramos Fizzes.

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