Eat & DrinkReviewsSan Francisco

Japanese Soul Food is Like No Other

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Miso Garlic Chicken... Come to me.

Miso Garlic Chicken… Come to me.

I’m not going to lie, in my personal opinion “soul food” and “Japanese food” comprise what I believe to be some of the happiest couplings of words known to the human language. They stand for delicious things that I want to immediately put in my mouth. So when I first heard about Abura-Ya, Oakland’s Japanese soul food spot, my interested was distinctly heightened.

Located in downtown Oakland, it is housed in The Hatch (402 15th Street) during lunchtime and Garden House (380 15th Street) for dinner, Abura-Ya is no frills and straight forward. You simply walk in, take a gander at their menu and extensive seasonal specials and order at the counter (spoiler: they are cash only). From there, all you have to do is take a seat and be patient. Before you know it, you’ve got a whole dream world of food magic in front of you. The place is always popping, so you might have a bit of a wait, but I assure you, it is well worth it.

Japexican Corn. What?!?!

Japexican Corn. What?!?!

This joint offers generous portions of beautifully cooked and seasoned chicken at low prices. Chicken not your thing? Worry not, they have vegetarian and vegan options as well as a crazy variety of specials. Some menu highlights – the Japexican Corn, which is smothered in miso-aioli, parmesan and chopped scallions. This dish alone inspires praise to Satan for the gift of fusion food. The delicious miso garlic chicken also deserves a shout out. Featuring a four large pieces of flavorful chicken with greens and rice it’s both filling and mouth-watering. I also cannot say enough about the Spiced Watermelon. Savory, spicy, sweet and cold it’s one of the best things to have on a hot day.

Will you like Abura-Ya? Well… Are you hungover and think you might die? Are you taking a babe on a date and want to show off knowing the sweet spot? Are you just hella fucking hungry and want all the delicious things? If you answered yes to any or all of these, then yeah. You’re going to love this place. Check them out – you won’t regret it. I promise.



Abura-Ya is opened for lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM to 2:00 PM at 402 15th Street in downtown Oakland. They are opened for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM at 380 15th Street, Oakland.

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I am a writer, DJ, musician, vandal and I travel a lot.