Matt Horn's Oakland City Guide

The 2021 Best New Chef seeks out soul food, smoked salmon, and seriously cool vibes in the Bay Area.

Learn more about the 2021 class of Food & Wine Best New Chefs.

Feed Your Soul

"Minnie Bell's Soul Movement has some delicious, authentic food. Chef Fernay McPherson's menu isn't expansive, and that's what I like about it. She has a limited selection, all executed well and with passion. Her dishes are homestyle, mainly made from family recipes that were passed down and are rooted in tradition, so you can feel the love and warmth poured into each one. My go-to order is the signature rosemary fried chicken, braised collard greens, and mac and cheese."

Good Vibes

"For a fancy night out, I start at chef Nelson German's seafood spot, alaMar Kitchen & Bar. I order the garlic udon noodles, served with a fried egg on top, and head-on Cajun shrimp. After dinner, I would head over to Bar Shiru in Uptown Oakland. They have a cool musical vibe, playing only hi-fi vinyl records, and a top-notch drink selection. I recommend the Kurayoshi 18 whiskey; it's super smooth and pairs perfectly with the overall ambience of the space."

Caffeine Rush

"My wife, Nina, and I love the Vietnamese coffee from Orbit Coffee."

Bread Ahead

"Firebrand Artisan Breads uses simple but high-quality ingredients, and the loaves have that perfect crunchy, scored crust and soft, slightly tangy interior."

Fine Wine

"Ordinaire is my favorite wine shop. They have a large selection of California wines, and it's a great spot to discover small, local winemakers."

The Place to Be

"My family and I like to walk around Grand Lake Farmers Market at Lake Merritt to pick up fresh, high-quality produce and picnic on the lake. It's the place to be on the weekend."

Pure Eggcellence

"I like a good brunch on the weekend, and it doesn't get much better than the smoked salmon soft scramble at Limewood Bar & Restaurant [located inside the Claremont Club & Spa]."

Limited Edition

"When I need to buy a gift, I head over to Alkali Rye and grab a bottle of small-batch bourbon or whiskey. They have a great selection of top-quality, limited-run spirits."

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

"Sobre Mesa has one of my favorite cocktails in the city, the Flor y Canto."

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