By Tara Duggan

It's gotten a lot easier to find collard greens and crayfish in the Bay Area, thanks to a wave of Southern-style restaurants that have opened over the past few years. Picán is not only one of the more prominent ones, it has also helped bring a certain vibrancy to a part of Uptown Oakland that’s now home to Plum, Ozumo, and Luka’s Taproom. A transplant from Atlanta—though a Yankee by birth—chef Dean Dupuis flirts with both Southern traditions and California ingredients, blending them seamlessly at this gold-toned, romantic lounge and restaurant. His exclusive BBE menu starts with flatbread scattered with chunks of seared catfish and fried green tomatoes. The Crawfish “Louis” alternates between bites of romaine tossed in vinaigrette, crawfish salad in Louis dressing, cool deviled eggs, and crisp crawfish beignets. Smoked and grilled hanger steak is served with stone-ground grits and three types of butter. And the bourbon ice cream sundae will leave you groaning your way through spoonfuls of housemade ice cream, caramel sauce, candied bacon, and sandy cornmeal cookies. It’s a very Southern ending to a hybridized menu, especially considering the all-California wine pairings.

sweet seats

With a large bar area, spacious seating, and high ceilings, Picán welcomes diners with plenty of breathing room. Its golden palette is picked up in the domed fabric light shades, sheer curtains, and even in the pecan shells embedded in the bar.

chew on this

In keeping with the nut theme, you might order a glass of the JFJ Winery’s almond-flavored sparkling wine with dessert. The restaurant has more than 100 bourbons in stock for sampling.


lunch: Mon.–Fri. 11:30 AM–2 PM;
dinner: Mon.–Thurs. 5 PM–9:30 PM; Fri.–Sat. 5 PM–10:30 PM; Sun. 5 PM–9 PM
brunch: Sun. 10:30 AM–3 PM

price range

$18 (mushroom grits “enchiladas”) to $35 (Berkshire pork chop)