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Souley Vegan

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 66 reviews )
Contact 510-922-1615
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301 Broadway (at Jack London Square), Oakland, California, USA, 94607

Vegan soul food restaurant with plenty of seating. Weekday happy hour with a full bar. Menu features BBQ tofu, southern fried tofu, mac n cheese, red beans and rice, corn bread, potato salad, gumbo, spaghetti with falafel, and burgers. Fresh baked cakes and cookies made-in-house. Has a booth at Grand Lake Farmers Market on Sat. Holds cooking classes.

Category: Vegan, American, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Bakery, Catering, Southern, Soul Food

Reviews (66)

First Review by

So/So - Edit

I had really high expectations, but was a bit disappointed. I heard such great things so I brought my omni mother and friend in to show them how awesome vegan food is. Well, my mother and I shared the southern fried tofu, mac n cheese, and potato salad. The mac n cheese was ok for me, but she didn't like it all. The tofu had no flavor. The best part was the potato salad, that was good. My friend ordered the Black bean and quinoa burger. She said it was ok, but I think she was being polite since she hardly ate it. I tried it and it was terrible. Really lacking in flavor and super mushy. Very off-putting consistency. I saw other diners enjoying their food, so maybe we ordered wrong. I would be willing to give it another try. The red beans and rice looked good.
We ordered a couple of cupcakes, and they were dry and the frosting was so sweet we had to scrape most of it off. Even too sweet for my mom, and she loves her sugar!!!

Pros: all vegan, very friendly


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Disappointed... - Edit

What happened in the past 6 years??! I was in town during spring break 2016, and I had high hopes for an expanded menu with delicious-looking offerings, only to have my hopes hogtied.

The country fried steak and the buffalo wings (anything with their seitan) have a strange consistency. I do not know if they make their seitan in-house or buy it elsewhere, but they need to go back to the drawing board on that. It is WAY TOO chewy and laboring to process. One bite took 10 minutes to chew! Fix the seitan issue, STAT. My sister got the nachos and said it was extremely salty. She couldn't eat it and ordered something else instead. My sister and Yaya, who are both local, stated that they've actually not been here in a couple of years because everything is too salty for them. I didn't have anything salty, but I don't eat cheese (not even vegan cheese), and by process of elimination, I believe the cheese may be the culprit. The greens are still bland and flavorless, compared to how real, southern greens are supposed to taste. And yes, there are amazing vegan greens out there, but not here.

The potatoes are delicious! I loved the mashed potatoes, the seasoned fries, and the garlic fries with the aioli sauce. Yum! I had a strawberry lemon cake, which was also yummy. They have improved the Southern Fried Tofu dish. It's no longer thick blocks of fried tofu. They are now thinner tofu slices and much more enjoyable. Delicious!

The BBQ tofu, cornbread, potato salad are all ok, good even, but nothing to write home to momma about.

I hope that they improve because they do have the potential for greatness.

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So good you could use them to cater a southern family reunion & they wouldn't know the difference. I got the Everything Platter (but they forgot my fried okra and red beans & rice :( ) & it was SO amazing that I was scraping my plate! Yams, potato salad, BBQ tofu, greens, cornbread, southern fried tofu (JUST like catfish breading!!), & peach cobbler!! The greens were my least fav. EVERYTHING else was beyond amazing! Even when I ate meat, I was more interested in the crusts, breading, & how seasoned they were. Well Souley Vegan apparently felt the same way. She nailed it! And the tartar sauce??!!! OMG!!!! She needs to bottle & mass market that! Then she needs to tour the country & teach vegan soul food cooking classes. I LOVED it!

Updated from previous review on 2010-08-13

Pros: vegan soul food, 100% vegan

Cons: the seitan is too chewy


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My #1 Fave Restaurant ON THE PLANET! - Edit

This is truly my favorite, most loved restaurant in the whole wide world. I worship the food here. I take everyone when I'm in town and even all the vegan-skeptics have raved about the food. I freakin loooooove this place and I've never had anything less than stellar on the menu. Super desserts and creative drinks too. Goooooo!

Pros: Unique, big portions, good vibes


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High Expectations - Edit

The location itself had a hole in the wall vibe. Very casual and low key. Great to hang out with friends and socialize.

I initially read reviews online and Souley Vegan came highly recommended from a lot of the locals. We ordered a few things and I would say the food was okay, unfortunately it did lack the wow factor for me.

The chik'n n waffles was good, it's hard to mess up a waffle and the mock meat for the chik'n did taste closer to country fried steak (based on what I remember) and the color was that of red meat too. It was a good dish though.

I went to veggie grill last week and ordered their mac n cheese and was pleasantly surprised. So perhaps veggie grill raised the bar with vegan mac n cheese, but when ordered at Souley Vegan, I am sad to say it was quite the disappointment.

My initial response was to spit it out in my napkin, however I did stomach it and gave it the benefit of the doubt. The noodles reminded me of soggy dumplings and the cheese sauce tasted like pureed potatoes and veggies. It was funky.

Overall, I think if I were to ever go back, I would stick with a burger and fries. Something basic and simple.

Pros: Decent Size Portions, Unique Options to choose from

Cons: Expensive for the Quality of Food, Horrible Mac n Cheese, Customer Service could have been better


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Good But Not Great - Edit

My husband and I ate dinner at Souley Vegan before attending a concert in Oakland this week. As a vegan, I was excited about dining there after reading all the great reviews. The hostess who greeted us was very sweet and helped us choose what to order. She suggested I try the combo plate so I could sample three different items. She suggested the collard greens, southern fried tofu and mac & cheese. The collard greens were good, but nothing over the top. The fried tofu was uninspired -- just plain tofu that was breaded and deep fried with no sauce or anything to give it flavor. The mac & cheese was horrible. Sorry! I know the other reviewers love it, but I thought it was a tasteless pile of glop. I could not eat it. My husband had the seitan steak burger, which he said was very good. We shared a basket of fried okra which was plentiful, but it came with this tiny ramekin of sauce which was not nearly enough. When I asked for more sauce, I was told that it would cost $1.10 more. Really ?!!!! Lastly, there are many photos on the walls - and when we asked the staff member who delivered our food about the photos, he had no idea who anyone of the people in the photos were -- not even the owner who appeared in most of the photos. Second to last, it was not inexpensive. We also each had a glass of wine and our dinner came to more than $50!

Pros: Friendly staff, Casual and clean

Cons: Tasteless deep fry, Charges for extra sauce, Expensive


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Love This Place!!! - Edit

I've never eaten soul food and this amazing restaurant does a wonderful version of vegan soul foods. Between three of us we got a lil excited and ordered about six dishes! All dishes were quite large and it was a challenge to eat through it all!

The tofu nuggets were probably the tastiest.
And the selection of dessert cakes makes you want to order them all.

If your in the mood for vegan fried comfort come to this place.

Word of warning - gf and soy free options don't exactly exist here....

Pros: 100% Vegan, Friendly Staff/Service


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soul food heaven - Edit

Stumbled upon this Vegan eatery on our way to Albany. Amazing food! Best Grits I have ever eaten. The Southern Fried Tofu is incredible. So, many great flavors you will question if this could really be vegan food. Traditional eaters will be happy dine here too


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Bay Area destination eatery - Edit

One of my "destination eateries" in the Bay Area, Souley Vegan does vegan deliciously! We usually get the combo platter, when dining in, and to go, because comfort food Souley vegan style, is just that comforting. Mac & cheese, of course, with black eyed peas, rice, collard greens, sweet potatoes... Even the non-vegans in the family have standing Souley Vegan favorites, BarBQ tofu, and the southern fried tofu with a side of Mac & cheese. Desserts, they do these Justice, too. Peach cobbler (which they usually run out of midway thru dinner), carrot cake, red velvet cake... Food is quite rich, so unless you burn calories easily, not an eat-there-every-day place. But hey, it's comforting.
Recently started a Sunday brunch. Service was slower than slow, so this is a work in progress. Can get quite crowded & noisy at dinner. On street parking.

Pros: Vegan comfort food, Excellent tasty food, Great desserts

Cons: Crowded dinner times, Moderate, On street parking


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Fantastic comfort food - Edit

If you've never been to Souley Vegan, I highly recommend you get their everything plate and do the add on to get a few more items. Trust me. The best things, in my opinion, are the bbq tofu, tofu friend chicken, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, spicy lemonade and corn bread (make sure to ask that they heat it up). The greens/beans n rice/okra are all good as well. Hell, it's all good. The atmosphere is casual but cool. They serve booze. Prices are good. Parking can be a little bit of a pain but other than that, I love it.

Pros: great comfort food, really nice staff, good drinks

Cons: parking, area isn's the best


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Wow!!! - Edit

Oh my god that was amazingly delicious. I mean, I knew it was going to be good based on all the other great reviews here on happy cow... but yeash, that was one of the best meals of my life. so so good.

Pros: very very very good food, perfectly reasonable prices, nice atmosphere

Cons: it's 300 miles from where I live :(


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Very delicious, slow service - Edit

The food is good and worth waiting for. You'll definitely wait.

I love Southern comfort foods, and Souley does them very well. Definitely worth waiting.

Pros: All vegan, Delicious

Cons: Slow


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Delish! - Edit

Wandering around Jack London Square and needed a place for dinner. Looked to HappyCow and found Souley Vegan. The pun in the name was reason enough to try it, and we weren't disappointed! The combo plate was great - Southern Fried Tofu was my favorite. My husband had the seitan po'boy that was yummy as well. Vegans and non-vegans all found something they liked. Will definitely return!


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Indeed, Vegan Food with Soul - Edit

When I'm in Oakland, I make a point of eating at Souley Vegan at least once and the place never lets me down. First of all, they understand the potential Tofu has and do wonderful things with. Forget the faux meats and try southern fired tofu. Delicious. I also love the sides... great potato salad, great greens and fantastic fries. Good Value.

The decor, music and atmosphere suit the homey soul food being offered, and the people who run the place treat you like family (the rare sort one actually likes).

Pros: Great food, nice fresh take of soul food, Very friendly staff, Good Value

Cons: very casual (not a con for me)


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Food with soul - Edit

Love love this place! During the year that I lived in the Bay area, I ate here more than any other vegan restaurant (and there are luckily plenty to choose from).
#1 pro - great price! Everything is super overpriced in the Bay, and a vegan lunch/dinner can cost an arm and a leg. You get huuuge portions at a fabulous price here.
#2 everything is so delicious! From mash potatoes and gravy, to a huge 'shrimp' sandwich, to their cakes, everything is a must try and everything is awesome!

Pros: Great Price, Delicious filling food, Relaxed vibe


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Best Soul Food On Earth - Edit

No joke. Do it. Bbq tofu, Po-boy. Amaze balls.

Pros: Fast , Delicious, 100% vegan

Cons: Closed Monday's, Not in charge of world government, I'm not married to their head chef.


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Sooo Good! - Edit

Really yummy food, I ate the nachos and was feeling very satisfied but not overly full, which was great. I also tried my friends jalapeno poppers with some kind of ranch dressing which was AMAZING. Also had a bite of the 'steak' burger! Very good! I felt really comfortable and at home in the place, its pretty relaxed vibe and delicious food! Would love to go again.

Pros: nice chilled vibe, raspberries in the water!


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One of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area. - Edit

I love Souley! Its one of my favorite restaurants when I am home. My favorite item is the Crispy Tofu Burger (Spicy). My favorite side is the potato salad. Causal atmosphere, all around good vegan comfort food.

Pros: Great tofu burgers, Great sides

Cons: Can get busy and seating can get limited, street parking only


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Impressive - Edit

I had the po boy sandwich and creole popens and they were both delicious. Typically when something is so oily and salty I do not like the food but I must say I was impressed overall with this place. The portions were huge for the price, filling and full of flavor. If you are in the area definitely check this place out. They had a lot of desserts and peanuts to munch on at the bar. I loved the music and ambiance as well. Very spacious, definitely big enough for a bug group. Parking is a little difficult. Order at the counter and serve yourself water and get ready for a big meal!

Pros: Big portions, Great price, yummy!!!!

Cons: Parking


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vegan soul food - Edit

We stopped in for lunch with another couple. You order at the counter and take a number to your table. The interior was bigger than I was expecting, so there was no problem finding a table. We ordered the spinach dip for the table, but it only came with six crackers. When we asked for more, we were told that's all the package contained. We had to eat the dip plain with nothing else. Our friends got the chicken burger and okra gumbo. The gumbo was served on a sheet of nori which was an odd flavor combo. Dirk got the couscous plate, but substituted quinoa as they were out of couscous. He enjoyed the plate. I got the shrimp po'boy and it was excellent with tasty flavor combinations. We shared a couple of desserts too. Very moist and coconutty. Overall, we had a good lunch, but the service was slow although we hope to come back again.

Pros: vegan soul food, desserts

Cons: slow service


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Vegan food for non-Vegans - Edit

I have been here twice and have not really been impressed. The food is greasy to the point that is is inedible. Not filling for the price, healthy or fresh.

Cons: long wait time, greasy


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Great food, generous portions - Edit

The portions here are so huge. A three item combo is two meals for me so the value for money is incredible here. The southern fried tofu is so realistic looking. I really wondered how they could get the batter to stick on in that way that made it look as though it wasn't squares of tofu. The mashed potatoes were also delicious. Tameara is very friendly and welcoming.

Pros: great food, huge portions, friendly people


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southern fried vegan goodness and bar - Edit

Update 11/30/2014: Have been cash only for a few months, be prepared with cash.

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Definitely don't come here looking for something light; all the food is real, hot, heavy loads of nom. They also have a decent bar selection, with some bottled beer and cider and mixed drinks. Kind of a loud place but a fun vibe for sure. Order at counter.
Updated from previous review on Saturday June 07, 2014


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very good, very unique! - Edit

Really yummy vegan "soul food"- we had the sides sampler that included pretty much everything, and also got the artichoke dip and seasoned fries. The fried tofu, yams, Mac and cheese, and greens were my favorite! The cornbread was good too, and also the potato salad- all of it was great, really, the only thing I didn't care for as much was the bbq tofu because it was a little too "meaty" in texture. The bbq sauce itself was really good, they have is a little extra to eat with the fries. They had a great dessert selection that I didn't try, but might have to check out tomorrow...definitely a place to stop if you're in the area!!

Pros: delicious food, friendly staff, fast service, creative menu

Cons: cash only- which was fine, but we ordered a lot an


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best in bay area - Edit

Im very glad I had time to visit souley vegan on my trip to san francisco. As I have been pretty disappointed with herbivore, I was hoping for some amazing vegan food I wouldn't find anywhere else and this is it! The wings were the best out of everyrhing we ordered. They had the perfect amount of spice and great wing-like texture. The southern fried tofu was also amazing and unlike anything i've
ever had. The mac n cheese was good but not the best i've ever had (that would be chicago diner) but pretty close as most have a sickening artificial soy cheese taste, theirs was creamy and delish.


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Great food, great vibes - Edit

Souley Vegan does comfort food right. Great flavors and textures. The spicy wings and the southern fries tofu bowl are great places to start. They have a bunch of great desserts, too.

The servers are very warm and friendly, making the whole experience a delight.

Prices are very reasonable and portions generous.

We also appreciate that they make a point of using non-GM tofu. It could only be better if they went organic

Enjoy!

Pros: Delicious, friendly, good value


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Yummy Soul Food - Edit

We went into this experience knowing we weren't going to be eating "healthy". We all felt a little cruddy the next day from the full-out fried food, but all agreed it was worth it for this one time experience and a trip back into comfort food land, which was a fun and nostalgic adventure for me. Together, our whole group tried the fried okra, chicken fried steak, chicken fried tofu, artichoke dip and rosemary bread, red beans and rice, corn bread, and mac and cheese. Everything was good, we had tons of leftovers, it was all filling. The red beans and rice tasted authentic (everything did). The chicken fried steak and artichoke and rosemary bread was my favorite. My husband really liked the corn bread. I wish they would give a little more rosemary bread with the meal, but they were happy to give us more when we asked. They served vegan butter and my non veg friends were amazed at how much it tasted like genuine clarified butter. The chicken fried steak was great, but it was definitely fried. Overall, a great experience. Go into it knowing that you're going to be eating some great, but greasy food.

Pros: Great Food, Friendly Staff, Good Vibe


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Great food, hot restaurant - Edit

I ordered the fried tofu + grits bowl. A little less "fresh" than I was originally wanting, but what do you expect with soul food?? Food was great, service friendly, but they don't have air conditioning. I was basically dying by the end of the meal - especially considering it's a lot of heavy menu items.


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Nice flavors, heavy food - Edit

I like this place, and I love vegan soul food. But I also love food to be freshly vibrant and not too much oil/gluten/tofu , well processed type of stuff....

That said, I was not too impressed. The flavors were all delightful, so that was a huge plus...eating out I often find food bland so this was was greatly appreciated.

We ordered the sampler plate ($20 I believe) and to offset all that fried and heavy stuff we got the Monster Salad. It was way too much food, one sampler would have been enough.

I liked the flavors of the BBQ tofu especially, and the greens were the highlight for sure. YUM! The mac and chz was a little weird, it seemed blended...hmm...
Don't bother with the salad at all! It's huge, but the taste is not very nice....lots of romaine entirely slicked with a very oily-mayonnaise type of dressing and a lot of croutons.
I didn't much care for the okra or the beans....sort of meh....
I left feeling a bit heavy, I would not avoid this place entirely, but not go out of the way to go again...

Pros: Nice flavors

Cons: heavy, salad not good


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Disappointed - Edit

I was really disappointed by Souley Vegan last night. The chicken wings were way, way too spicy and I could not eat them. (However, the Southern Fried Tofu Bowl that I got as a replacement was delicious.) The service was incredibly slow. I don't think I'll be going back there.

Pros: Southern Fried Tofu

Cons: Slow service, Wings too spicy


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Soul and Southern Fried Comfort - Edit

I love Love LOVE Souley Vegan! They actually catered our wedding, and busted out some incredibly elegant, off-menu surprises! Amazing! The regular menu is full of our favorite comfort food -- corn bread, mac-n-cheese, BBQ tofu, black-eyed peas, and southern fried everything! So good! Great atmosphere, great people.

Pros: Delicious, Affordable, Great staff

Cons: You'll get addicted! ;)


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Always the best! - Edit

Souley Vegan is the place for all the foods you thought were written off. Where else can a vegan go for chicken fried steak? Their menu is creative, the employees are always warm and friendly and the food is consistently the best! The experience is always a treat.

Pros: Wonderful food quality / creative menu, Well informed / helpful staff, Easy Parking / Location


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Get Born Again! \;p... . - Edit

Must admit: I was unclear about what precisely was meant by the term "Soul Food." That said, I am effusively happy to have discovered what "Soul Food" REALLY means...at Souley Vegan.

Yah. It's really that good. Hype? Really?! I don't know where some of these folks are coming from... .

I had the $20 sampler platter the first time I went. Brilliant. Plentiful greens, beans, and comfort foods like mac n cheese...so, so good!

After that experience, I had to have one of their sandwiches. It just so happened that upon my second visit, they were featuring a Buffalo Wings Sandwich. If you're lucky, they'll be featuring this sandwich when you go there, too. Chyah!!! Freakin' good! Spicy...but I like it like that.

Besides...the vegan beers they serve on tap 'll comfort your poor overheated tongue.

I also tried my fiance's Southern Fried Tofu Sandwich...a regular item on their menu...and for a good reason - no other vegan restaurant I know in the Bay Area serves up their tofu fried...Southern style.

Love the array of choices for seating areas - so far the upper area in front has been a "go to" favorite spot.

Pros: Southern Fried Awesomeness, A Plethora of Healthy Sides Available , Vegan Beer + Mixed Drinks

Cons: Indoor/Outdoor, Upper/Lower Seating, Very Fast + Kind Service, Mac n Cheese is Unforgivably Delicious!


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Phenomenal - Edit

After many years of wanting to go, I finally decided to try Souley Vegan instead of going back to my favorite places. It was well worth stepping out of my usual vegan comfort zone. The food was amazing and both times it arrived just minutes after ordering. It was super filling and the price is right for the amount of food you get. I can't wait to go back and try the desserts.

Pros: Delicious, Fast, Filling


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Excellent food. A must visit. - Edit

I really liked this place. It's not by any means fancy, but, if food is most important, this is the place. You order at the counter, from a rather large menu, go sit down at a table, mostly large communal tables, and they bring out the food. The food is not going to win any healthy eating awards, but it is very good and the prices are very reasonable. I got the sampler plate, which was loaded with beans, greens, BBQ, fried tofu, yams, and I can't remember what else, but I could not finish it, and that never happens.

Pros: 100% vegan , Good food, Reasonable prices

Cons: Decor


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Who doesn't love Souley?? - Edit

Souley is one of my favorite spots in the East Bay to hit up. Love the atmosphere, and love the food.

Their new "wings" and chikn fried steak are absolutely delicious.

It's a must visit for anyone.

My only sad factor is the cornbread. I order it every time I go, as a diehard cornbread lover, hoping I'm wrong, but it's just too sweet and too cakey for a cornbread. Everything else I've had, absolutely amazing.


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A place not to be missed! Loved it! - Edit

This was another place recommended to me on my most recent trip to the San Francisco/ Oakland area. I have my favorites in the Bay area, but always love to try new places (and, just like Portland, Oregon, there are always new places to try).

My younger brother, myself, and a friend of mine checked out Souley Vegan for dinner one night. We split the medium platter (Sweet Potatoes, Mac and Cheese, Lentils, Greens, Black Eyed Peas, BBQ Tofu, Chicken Fried Tofu, Potato Salad and Cornbread PLUS Red Beans, Rice, and Fried Okra). Holy shit! That place was off the hook.

Mentioned to one of the employees that I would be fine if they decided to expand to Portland, Oregon. Also posted the same message on their Facebook page.

This place was really good, with a great decor featuring tributes to Blues legends, and the staff were all fantastic.

Do not miss Souley Vegan!

Pros: great decor, delicious food, friendly staff


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Impressive feast! - Edit

Visited August 2013. This was my first Soul Food experience and I loved it because it is the type of dishes which typically take some effort to veganify.. meaning you don't find them too often! I'm talking vegan versions of mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, that kind of thing. The Souley Sample Platter is great for two people, it's two huge plates with an array of their finest morsels. My favourites were the sweet cornbread, the mac n cheese & the BBQ tofu. I also tried the Southern Fried Tofu Burger, delicious crumbed tofu, not heavy & with a brown bread bun. The spaghetti was alright, instead of meatballs they used felafel, but compared to the rest of the amazing dishes this one didn't stand out to me. They also had an array of amazing looking layer cakes by the slice & other tempting home made sweet things which I couldn't possibly fit in. The venue is spacious enough, light filled & nice comfy tables. The service is warm & casual. Overall it's creative wholefood renditions of all your favourite comfort food, yet somehow still seems nutritious. Go there!

Pros: Vegan versions of old faves!, Warm & casual setting, Wholefoods (rather than mock meats)


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Wow! - Edit

The food is amazing! I couldn't decide so I got the $20 sampler player, which was a TON of food. I don't typically eat American-style meals, but this one is a number one new favorite for when I do indulge :) very grateful to live so close to something so good!

Pros: Quick, Delicious


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dont believe the hype - Edit

i am sorry, i want to like this place .. but i have been here three times and tried different menu items and left feeling like i was ripped off everytime. for what you get it is not good value and i found the food is either salty or dried out and/or both. i think that since this place doesnt have competition with a similiar menu people give it too much credit. i have been veggie/vegan for 18 years and i always try to support an all veggie restaurant over restaurants with veggie options, but i would honestly rather go to other places in oakland that are not veggie yet have better veggie food. i am sorry, but bbq tofu as a house special is not that special , i can make that a home .. would give it a one rating but happycow will not let me ..
if this place was in portland, brookyln, minneapolis or austin it would already be out of business ..
Updated from previous review on Saturday February 02, 2013

Pros: vegan

Cons: not good value, salty, dry food, long wait


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Souley Vegan - Edit

I love vegan soul food, but Souley Vegan was average in comparison to their peers (across the US).

The waiter highly recommended the southern tofu burger, he even said it tasted like catfish. I don't know what catfish tastes like, as I've never had it in my life, so I went with his recommendation. I found the tofu to be very overwhelming, it would have been better if the slice of tofu was smaller, or just cut into two smaller slices of fried tofu. The middle was just too "tofu mush" for me. But besides the mush, the overall flavoring and crispy outside were pretty good.


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Real Southern Vegan Food for the Win! - Edit

Souley Vegan was amazing! Order at the counter and they'll bring it out to you. You can mix and match almost anything on the menu and they had a wide variety of options.

Southern Fried Tofu: Just like fried catfish. Big pieces, good spices! Even comes with tartar sauce and lemons.

Mac and Cheese: Not the BEST mac and cheese I've ever had but very good. Creamy and big noodles!

BBQ Tofu: The BEST BBQ tofu I've ever had. Period! Order this!

Cornbread: A little sweet and moist. Very good.

Yams: Too sweet for my taste but very delicious.

Chocolate Chip Cookie: Gooey and tasty!

Pros: all vegan menu, amazing bbq tofu, truly soulful

Cons: expensive drinks, no A/C


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Get the Southern Fried Tofu - Edit

I had read about this vegan restaurant on happycow and decided to give it a try. Here's my Souley Vegan review.

On our way to San Francisco today, my friend and I stopped in to eat a late lunch. This place is a few blocks from Jack London Square, we parked on the street (metered). Around the corner appears to be Oakland's fruit and vegetable wholesale markets, which had all closed by the late afternoon hours. A few more blocks over from Souley Vegan is Encuentro Wine Bar which I will write about separately.

Didn't know what to expect and was surprised to see a spacious interior with 2 different seating areas: dining are in front plus bar and table seating in the back. On this day the counter displayed a large range of vegan baked goods, from cinnamon rolls to cookies to cupcakes and large cakes. Our friendly hostess told us that the baker comes in the morning to bake the goods in the onsite kitchen.

The overall feel of the restaurant is slightly old school, a bit dim but with character. The menu is fairly concise with choices in some hot foods, sandwiches, and their signature gumbo and sample platter.

We opted for the platter for 2 to share, at $20, which comprised a bit of everything: the Southern fried tofu, smoked and saucey sweet BBQ tofu, cold potato salad, dark greens, mashed yam, mac n cheese, lentils, and cornbread on top. This food was totally filling and delicious.

The Southern fried tofu was not like anything I've had before. It looked like a large crusted donut (without any hole in the middle) and tasted like a savory battered donut, too, except this with a thick piece of soft tofu inside. It was soooo yummy and without greasy. Wow.

The other stuff on the sample platter were delicious, too. The mac n cheese with soft and yummy with a garlicky cheezy sauce. Yum.

The drinks menu was extensive and colorful with all sorts of cocktails and alcohol, but we opted for a strawberry ginger juice.

If you like soul food, definitely try the samples platter. Next time I return, I'd like to try the gumbo.

Pros: one of a kind southern fried tofu


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Stopped here while on vacation - Edit

My husband and I both got the 'toasties' and then ordered a selection of sides. The toasty was basically a burger with 'southern fried' tofu and BBQ tofu. DELISH. All the sides were amazing too. I wish I lived in Oakland so I could eat here every day!

Pros: Amazing food, Good prices, Great service


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A Gem in downtown Oakland - Edit

This was an amazing little restaurant in downtown Oakland just south of the 880 freeway. Not much in terms of selection but I liked the atmosphere as well as the Monster Salad. The spicy salad dressing they included was really good (and actually spicy) and the tofu appetizer was definitely a good choice. They also had a very interesting selection of beers that I found to be interesting. The only downside was the fact that some things on their menu were not available. Still, I liked it very much.

Pros: Great good, Very friendly staff


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yum!! taking vegan to the next level - Edit

visited this wonderful jewel of a place for dinner on recent visit to Bay Area. got off plane at OAK... son had heard this was good eats so we went straight there.

unassuming, comfy atmosphere, great service and delish fare!!

interesting combo of unlikely niches... vegan and soul foods... what a wonderfully successful idea!

gumbo was a *little* too spicy, tho it was really really fabulous once it cooled down. the fried stuff was light and very tasty... i'd have eaten every meal there, but we were visiting for Thanksgiving... so we actually did make our own meals as only a seriously foodie family can.

still... next time we fly into OAK... early January ... i hope to get another chance to enjoy their innovative comfort souley vegan food... tasting as many menu choices as i can without being absolutely obnoxious.

p.s. sign on front door said they were hiring... asked if i could work there. :D

Pros: clever, clever idea , excellently done, can you come to San Antonio, please?

Cons: they are only in Oakland, have to go to CA to eat there again


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Southern Fried Tofu of my dreams - Edit

Oh, how I love Souley Vegan -- the beautifully welcoming people and the invariably fabulous everything plate (it's sort of a pre-prepared all-you-can-eat buffet for two) with its dreamy southern fried tofu. Also the barbecue tofu. Also the yams. Also the greens. Also the black-eyed peas.

It's actually healthier (maybe apart from the southern fried etc.) than you might think. And anything that makes you this happy has to be good for you, doesn't it?


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Amazing food - Edit

I ordered the $27 food platter and it was enough to feed at least 3 people, maybe even 4. All of the food was good. The Mac n cheese was amazing and so was the bbq tofu. The mashed potatoes and gravy was also really good. Everything I had was great. The staff was really helpful. Great service.

Pros: excellent food, large portions

Cons: lack of online menu


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whoa...Southern Heaven... - Edit

I have waited a year to get to Souley Vegan, I don't drive much. BUT man oh man was it worth the wait! I ordered the Mac n Cheese, Southern Fried Tofu,BBQ Tofu,Mashed potatoes and a Cayenne lemonade. First off the Staff is EXTREMELY friendly, helpful and HAPPY, I like the way you order then sit down and eat. 2nd the food is REAL SOUL FOOD, not watered down imitations so be prepared for a EXPLOSION of SOUL in your mouth! They have recipes that have been handed down for 3 GENERATIONS! and you can taste it. I haven't tasted BBQ like this since I went Vegan 20+ years ago but I remember, REAL BBQ! the Mac n Cheese was the best I have ever tasted and the Southern Fried Tofu is well for lack of a better description, a catfish lovers rival. the mashed potatoes were creamy and spicy and chunky and DELICIOUS to wash it down I chose the Cayenne Lemonade, not as spicy as I like it but the lemonade was sweet and got me drooling lemons...The prices are affordable too and the portions are HUGE!!overall I would visit @ least once a week if I lived in Oakland. oh yeah can't wait to try the Potato Salad

Pros: Staff is GREAT!, Food is Incredible, plenty of parking


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Try the crispy burger and bbq tofu - Edit

This is one of my favorite restaurants. I live in Central California and visit the Bay Area several times each year, and I try to incorporate a stop by Souley Vegan every time.

The $19 sampler is great on your first visit so you can try a little bit of everything and see what you like best. That said, now I usually get a 3 item sampler with my personal favorites: potato salad, the black eyed pea salad, and the greens. [I'm not big on the mac n cheese - now that there are decent vegan cheese available, I'm over nutritional yeast, which never really grabbed me). I like the creaminess of the potato salad. The black eyed peas hare cooked with other things (not quite a sauce, but not dry either) as a well-rounded side dish. The greens are good, too - not overcooked, and they are a nice contrast with the other selections.

Sharing the three item sampler and a basket of fried okra (which is excellent - I don't think I've ever had better okra than what they have here, and the dipping sauce with it is wonderful too) with friends, I then manage to also have room for a sandwich. I love the crispy tofu with the bbq tofu added to it (this has a name on the menu, but I can't think what it is). The texture of both tofus and the accompanying sauces are perfect.

I haven't been overly impressed by the desserts, but with all the non-dessert food we order when we go, there's no room for dessert anyway! If you like spicy stuff, be sure to try the cayenne lemonade - definitely tart and spicy, but extremely refreshing if you like that kind of thing.

Pros: excellend food, good-sized portions


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do not miss this place! - Edit

If you skip this place while you are visiting here or if you live here and haven't been, shame on you.
I live across the country and this was the first place I stopped for breakfast with my carnivore fiance, and we both LOVED it, he even made mention of it a couple times on the trip and since we've left... kind of a big deal for him.
This place is inexpensive and delicious.
If you are looking to be a healthy vegan, go elsewhere. This place is not advertising to be health conscious, so I was obviously not expecting salads and wheat grass and what not, just delicious soul food I could splurge on.
My fiance and I got the macaroni and cheese, potato salad and mashed potatoes (yes, all for breakfast) to share all for like $12 or something. (They do not carry soda, fyi) and we were SO FULL and it was SO GOOD.
The cornbread was not as delicious as I had envisioned, but that was my own fault as I was picturing the cornbread circa my vegan-ness and my standards were set unreasonably high, but it was still really good.
Since we were visiting, we were able to go right when it opened on a weekday, so I'm unable to comment on if it gets really crowded or not, but the service was very fast, and the people were friendly and talked to us.

Just a note, if you are sheltered/never been to California like me before:
The style of ordering in California is a little different than where I'm from, instead of being seated and ordering, you order your food from the person who would typically seat you, and you include the tip there, which I don't like and I think is slightly unfair to both the customer and the server. But obviously, this isn't exclusive to this place, so I wouldn't consider it a "con" or anything, just a comment.

Pros: price, taste, not crowded when i went


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Best place in all of Bay Area, bar none. - Edit

This place has afforded me one of the best meals in my life, and I say that with the utmost sincerity. The food speaks for itself, try not to love it. The restaurant is locally and black owned, which I feel is an especially imperative accompanying reason to support this place. American Veganism as a whole is arguably predominately white, so it is both a privilege and a responsibility, I feel, to support people from other backgrounds in their Veganism. Hopefully it counteracts the alienation they surely simultaneously experience. Whereas Gracias Madre is in the Mission yet probably has few if any nongentrified Mission customers, Souley is accessible to its surrounding community. Only dissatisfaction I could have is that I doubt many ingredients are organic. I am a staunch organic consumer and am diametrically opposed to GM food, but if means the difference between this place staying afloat or not, then you gotta start somewhere.


They are printing shirts in a couple weeks, be sure to pick some up. Vegan Power.

Pros: Best meal in the Bay, serves surrounding community, black owned


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I love this place! - Edit

The food is excellent, vegan comfort food. We had to wait in line on Friday night (no surprise), but we chatted with some other people, so it went quickly.

The service was friendly. They brought out my meal several minutes before my husband's, but as soon as we mentioned it, they brought it out quickly. This, and the fact that there appeared to be only one menu making its way down the line, are the reasons I'm giving it 4 rather than 5 stars.

I will definitely go back.

Pros: Tasty, Large portions

Cons: Need more menus


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Souley Amazing! - Edit

I love love love Souley Vegan! When I'm craving some down home food this is where I have to go! I almost always order the 3 item combo and have such a hard time deciding between the mac n' cheese or the potato salad both of which are to die for! The potato salad is the best potato salad I've ever had and I wish I could have the recipe! The mac n' cheese is creamy and dreamy with a kick of cayenne. True love in food form. Then I have a hard time deciding between the crispy tofu or the BBQ because I love them both! The crispy tofu has the most amazing cornmeal batter on it and I have no idea how they are able to get that much batter to stay on the tofu! Pure fried bliss. The BBQ tofu is divine, I love their sauce and the tofu is delightfully chewy. I always order the greens and they are wonderful. The greens help me feel like I've ordered a complete meal and at least something healthy. If I'm feeling super hungry or just in the mood I'll also have them throw in a piece of cornbread.
I've also had the burger with both the crispy and bbq tofu and it's huge and amazing! Their burgers are a great deal and so flavorful, they include lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo. There are more things that I would like to try here, but honestly it's so hard to go against what I normally get because it's so damn good! Oh yeah, the lemonade is beyond amazing!
The only cons for me are that sometimes it can take a long time to get your order and I've had mess ups on several occasions (luckily they were yummy mess ups but just an fyi). I also went for brunch and wasn't into it which I was shocked by. Oh well, can't have everything.
I want Souley Vegan right NOW!

Pros: All vegan, Comfort food, Delicious and creative food

Cons: It can take a long time


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BRUNCH in the East Bay! - Edit

This was my first time visiting Souley Vegan. My husband and I wanted vegan brunch SO badly and decided on this great restaurant to curb our craving!

Brunch is from 10a-2p on Sundays only and they only serve brunch - nothing from their regular menu. It was a tad disappointing that we couldn't scoop up a few to-go dishes for later since we were there, but the brunch made up for that!

They offered a combo plate (which my husband got) that included grits and corn, tofu scramble, toast, smothered potatoes, and a few slices of fruit (for $10). He also added blueberry pancakes with maple syrup (+$2 more) and a biscuit with gravy (+$2), just to try everything out! Let me tell you - he was stuffed by the time he was done!

I got the three combo plate for $10 - a biscuit with gravy, tofu scramble, and smothered potatoes (I don't really know what they're smothered by - but it's amazing). It also came with some toast and a few slices of fruit.

You get pretty decent portions for the money you spend and the food was great!

I can see people thinking that things may be a little salty, but I didn't mind it. It definitely didn't take away from any other flavor! My favorites were the grits and corn (husband let me try his - they were creamy and flavorful, just be sure to eat them together!), the smothered potatoes and the biscuit and gravy (you only get one biscuit, but it's a big one!).

The staff were so incredibly friendly and attentive. They were hoppin' in there this morning and the fact they could be so nice while being so busy was great. It did take a little bit to get our food but not too long.

There's plenty of seating, too!

I will definitely be back for the brunch but REALLY want to try their main menu at some point!

Pros: Great food, Amazing staff, Decent prices

Cons: No main menu on Sundays


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Great food- Highly recommend - Edit

I had the pleasure of eating at Souley Vegan last night and wow... It was great! My personal fav's were the mac-n-cheese, collard greens and lentils (mmmmmm), and corn bread. Equally as good was Beer Revolution next door. Excellent selection of beers from around the world.

Pros: Great food, Good value, Very friendly staff


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Wonderful! - Edit

If you have someone on your hands who insists they would starve to death without meat--like myself only a few years ago--I would submit this restaurant as a counterargument. I didn't see any fake meat (though they have fake cheese); the prices are indeed moderate, but the portions are ample and satisfying.

Walking in the place was a little disorienting. The place looks like it used to be a nightclub which has been painted over but is otherwise little changed. The usual clues about what to do are missing: order at the counter (actually, relatively low tables) from a menu on a board on the back wall; you'll get a number to take to the table of your choice.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, large portions


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Vegan Soul Food - Edit

I love healthy vegan food. That said, I also love greasy, fried vegan comfort food. Souley Vegan, as the name would imply, serves up the latter. Deliciously! The country fried tofu is great! The bbq tofu is fantastic (maybe a little salty). I love the collard greens, the lentils and especially the black eyed peas. The potato salad is also top notch, and the mac n' cheese is one of the best I've ever had. I found the yams to be too sweet. I know that is the traditional soul food way to prepare yam, but I'm not crazy about it. Yam is sweet enough on it's own! But that's just me. I am also not crazy about the red beans and rice. It was okay, just to salty for me to have more than a couple of bites.

As it should be at a soul food restaurant (or ANY restaurant, for that matter) the service is friendly. Exceptionally warm and friendly. They really make you feel at home.

The strawberry ginger juice is good too. This kind of food makes me want a beer though.... Anyway, an overall nice experience... worth a trip to the east bay!

Pros: Delicious soul food!, Great, friendly service

Cons: Some dishes are too salty., It's all tofu.... Delicious, but-, I'd love to see some seitan on the menu!


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MMMMMMMMMM - Edit

I was in Oakland visiting friends last week, and when they told me about vegan soul food, I HAD to try it. I've never had vegan soul food before, so I don't have much to compare it to. My husband and I both got the Toasty Crispy BBQ Tofu burger, which is insanely big. You have to squish it and even then, it barely fits in your mouth, haha. It's a burger with the Crispy Tofu AND the bbq tofu on it for $7. It's pretty much the most amazing vegan sandwich I've had. The mac n cheese was pretty great too. But next time, I'll just get the sandwich with only one kind of tofu, because I was stuffed to the point of making myself sick, haha. It was just too much food. But it tasted great, and was a good deal! ;)


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Good but wouldn't go out of my way to go here - Edit

Prices are decent, portions are huge. My boyfriend and I shared the $19 combo plate and a dessert. The dessert left much to be desired...it was an apple cobbler but the cobbler part seemed to be missing and the apples looked like they might have come out of a can. My boyfriend thought it was good but he wished that they didn't use tofu for all of the fake meats. I've been to better soul food vegan places in LA and DC, but it is nice to have one in Oakland now.


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souley vegan rocks! - Edit

Out of town visitor in Oakland for a wedding. Found Souley Vegan on HappyCow and decided to try it out. AWESOME food! Very friendly service, laid back atmosphere and incredible food! I've never had "real" soul food, so I can't confirm authenticity in flavors, etc., but this is a must-eat place!

You can order items a la carte or get their 'everything platter'. We went with the everything platter for $19 and upgraded to the $25 platter which then included red beans & rice and okra--both VERY worth the extra $6. All of the food was super flavorful and the platter portion was more than enough for 2 (we had leftovers). Trying everything was also really nice so we know what to get next time!

The only down fall was: cash only. (it's not too far to an atm, though. She also said they would be accepting cards soon.)

Pros: Fantastic food, Friendly, helpful staff, Nice n' casual

Cons: Cash only


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Reviewer Avatar

SOULEY VEGAN YUMMY VEGAN SOUL FOOD! - Edit

Mac & Cheese, potato salad, bbq tofu, greens OMG... THE CRISPY TOFU. No, it's not fried chicken! BUT BETTER!
Friendly staff, fast service, great location. Prices are great! Check out all of the other reviews on yelp.com


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