(credit: Thinkstock)

Food possesses the ability to conjure up an array of feelings – elation, satisfaction and comfort. Some of the most comforting food comes in the form of southern cuisine. With its rich flavors and rustic dishes, soul food has that down-home quality that is soothing and makes you feel at home. These locations are bringing soul-food stylings of the south to the East Bay.

Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen
2261 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 548-6900

Berkeley might seem more granola than southern comfort, but Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen set out to change that when it opened in 2006. Chef Brandon Dubea hails from Baton Rouge and was just the right person to bring the delicious flavors of the cuisine inherent to Louisiana across the country to the East Bay. In New Orleans, many of the restaurants look and feel like you are eating in the dining room of someone’s home, and Angeline’s captures that warmth and down-home vibe. The Cajun and Creole menu includes specialties like jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp creole, crawfish etouffée, hush puppies and beignets. Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen is a casual neighborhood restaurant that is a nice respite, filling the gap of soul food and bringing a little taste of Louisiana to Berkeley.

Related: Best Bistros In East Bay

Lois the Pie Queen
851 60th St.
Emeryville, CA 94609
(510) 658-5616

Lois the Pie Queen is an unassuming diner in Emeryville, California. The homey restaurant is no-frills dining but its authentic southern vibe gives it a lot of charm. While the the Pie Queen herself is deceased, her son, Chris Davis, is keeping his mother’s memory alive and serving up the classic soul food favorites the restaurant built its reputation on. The regulars come for dishes like the fried chicken, smothered pork chops, salmon croquettes and of course the buttery, flaky biscuits. Perhaps, the dish it is most famous for is the lemon icebox pie. The refreshing, tart dessert is not to be missed – even if you are stopping by for breakfast.

Nellie’s Soulfood Restaurant & Bar
1155 3rd St.
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 625-1350

For Nellie’s Soulfood Restaurant & Bar, it is a family affair. Mother-and-daughter duo, Nellie and Quintette Ozen, have created a menu chock full of southern favorites that is drawing people to its west Oakland location in the warehouse district. With gospel music crooning in the background, the soul-food eatery serves up just about anything you could imagine fried — including fried chicken, fried oysters and a fried catfish burger on a toasted bun with all the fixings. The savory and sweet sides include black-eyed peas, collard greens and yams. There are many reasons to keep coming back to Nellie’s including the daily menu which includes ox tail, Cajun-style spaghetti and chitterlings – dishes not as common in these parts.

2295 Broadway St.
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 834-1000

A 2011 and 2012 Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand” award winner, Picán is creating rich and delicate flavors by combining the decadence of southern cuisine with the freshness that is inherent to California. With the quiet elegance found in the décor, it is brining a level of sophistication to soul food. Recently installed chef Sophina Uong’s menu features southern favorites like buttermilk-fried chicken, cast-iron seared catfish, shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. But be sure to save room for dessert which includes some real southern favorites like Georgia pecan tart and banana puddin’. Bourbon connoisseurs also take note, Picán features the most comprehensive bourbon portfolio in the Bay Area and is serving up classic cocktails as well as new, inventive concoctions.

Souley Vegan
301 Broadway St.
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-1615

Vegan and soul food are not a pair that you naturally think of, but Souley Vegan is making them a dynamic duo. Owned and operated by Tamearra Dyson, she takes seriously the charter to create food that is both healthy and delicious. She has built her business on repeat customers, so the health of her patrons is almost a personal matter. Influenced by her grandfather who hailed from Louisiana, her menu includes dishes like the southern tofu-fried bowl with grits topped with fried tofu okra gumbo and BBQ fried tofu as well as classic sides that have been vegan-fied like the mac and cheese and cornbread. With hearty food and flavors rooted in southern cuisine, Souley Vegan may even have soul-food purists believing.

Related: Best Cheesesteaks In East Bay

Jenna Broughton can frequently be found exploring the streets of San Francisco looking for her next adventure and gastronomic delight. She has traveled far and wide, from Paris to Savannah, GA, to satisfy her adventurous palate. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.