The Bay Area’s vibrant culinary scene is brimming with Black-owned restaurants in every cuisine imaginable.
Paul Magu, chef of French restaurant Reve Bistro
In the heart of Lafayette lies this refreshingly unpretentious French bistro run by chef Paul Magu. His previous experiences at a Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant and San Francisco’s own Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels speak for themselves with his seasonal menu of classic French delicacies—onion soup oozing with Gruyere, duck breast coated with cherry gastrique and a variety of light-as-air macaron cookies.
Carnivores and vegetarians alike will relish in Axum Cafe’s vast menu of Ethiopian favorites, starring lamb stewed with garlic, turmeric and herb butter; mushrooms sauteed with jalapeno peppers; and tumutumo, a lentil puree simmered with traditional Ethiopian spices. Savor your meal the traditional way with plenty of injera, a flatbread used as a utensil for scooping up meat and veggie dishes.
Come for the indulgent soul food and stay for the batch cocktails at Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen. Classically French-trained chef Tanya Holland’s mouthwatering menu includes plates of buttermilk fried chicken, North African-spiced oxtail and bacon, cheddar and scallion biscuits. Accompany the meal with the B-Side cocktail with bourbon, mezcal, bitters and vanilla.
Chef Jen McMahon and her husband, Darren Lacy, prioritize fresh, simple ingredients at their Mediterranean-influenced Italian joint, Da Flora. Standouts from the menu include sweet potato gnocchi with sherry cream smoked bacon, risotto with sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes, and espresso and rum-laden tiramisu cake.
Entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling recipe book author Ayesha Curry and renowned chef Michael Mina joined forces with International Smoke, a global dining experience centered around wood-fired dishes. Awaiting their San Francisco reopening, the culinary powerhouses offer Mina Family Kitchen, a takeout menu featuring International Smoke’s celebrated barbecue; Curry’s curated tasting feast includes Sichuan-marinated cucumber and watermelon, St. Louis-style ribs and cornbread with Thai red curry butter.
A three-woman team of owners curates a sustainably focused menu of Southern and Latin cuisine at Oeste. Dig into fried Brussels sprouts with a Korean-style dip, wild-caught Georgia shrimp and grits, and pan-seared salmon alongside garnet yams. For dessert, treat yourself to the pecan bread pudding drizzled with lemon whiskey sauce.
Founded by Ethiopian-born chef Tiyobestia Shibabaw, this Burmese and Asian fusion hot spot in Oakland boasts a variety of South Asian dishes such as chicken cardamom curry, crispy catfish with tamarind chile oil and the signature pea shoot salad. Finish the meal with orange saffron almond cake or ube, a purple yam dessert from the Philippines.
Photography by: Nat and Cody Gantz