Great news: Reem Assil (of Reem’s California) has opened DYAFA for lunch service in the former Haven at Jack London Square in Oakland (dinner will be coming later). To recap, the La Cocina graduate is working with Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group on this, her second restaurant.
The name, which means “hospitality” in Arabic, is an homage to how she grew up eating in her Palestinian-Syrian home. At lunch, you’ll find shareable snacks, dips, grain bowls, and salads, plus flatbread wraps that use the signature bread from Reem’s California, which is baked on the saj (a traditional convex griddle used to bake bread). You can survey the menu, which also includes cocktails (featuring Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors), refreshing drinks for daytime, wine, and beer selected by beverage director Aaron Paul.
The 105-seat space features lots of tile, greenery, and colorful ceramic plates. The restaurant also participates in ROC Restaurant Opportunities Center United’s racial equity program. Lunch is served Tue-Fri 11am-2pm. This Saturday April 21st, there’s a fundraiser evening event for The Cooking Project—enjoy appetizers, cocktail tastes, and more. 44 Webster St. at Water, Oakland, 510-250-9491.
Now open next door to ~COMAL~ in Berkely is, wait for it, COMAL NEXT DOOR, a casual taqueria serving burritos, bowls, tacos, and three kinds of tortas. There’s Berkshire pork carnitas or al pastor (may I have both?), plus beef barbacoa, achiote-grilled chicken, chile relleno, and more. There are 20 seats, or you can take your food to go. Bonus: two daily rotating aguas frescas will be available, in addition to frozen margaritas and beer. It’s conveniently open all day Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 2024 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510-42-COMAL.
This Thursday April 19th (1:30pm-3:30pm), Jacques Pépin will be at Market Hall Foods at Rockridge Market Hall for a book signing, conversation, and tasting for his books, Poulets & Légumes: My Favorite Chicken & Vegetable Recipesand A Grandfather’s Lessons.
This Saturday April 21st is Kermit Lynch Oyster Bliss, retuning after seven years.
The mezze sampler at Dyafa, with fresh-baked pita. Photo courtesy of Dyafa.