The 8 Top Arabic Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay
posted on: Jun 17, 2021
By: Wael Sultan/Arab America Contributing Writer
The San Francisco (SF) Bay Area in California (CA) is home to one of the most diverse regions in the world. From beautiful and scenic views to ridiculously good authentic cuisine, the city by the bay is a foodie’s utopia. With plentiful options to choose from, there is something for everyone’s appetite. You can find the best orange chicken and dumplings in Chinatown, fancy ramen in Japan Centre, hot & spicy pho’ in Little Saigon, and 2-am taco joints in the historic Mission District.
In recent decades with a new wave of Arab immigrants. The food scene is rapidly changing and demand for Mediterranean/Arabian cuisine is not stopping. We gathered a list of the top 8 best Arabic comfort foods in the San Francisco Bay Area.
1. Truly Mediterranean, Mission District – San Francisco, CA
Yelp!Price: $What’s good: Falafel Deluxe, Shawarma (chicken & beef), Mediterranean Combo Plate, Baba Ganoush Wrap & Baklava.Truly Mediterranean is the go-to spot when it comes to traditional Arab Food. Nestled on Valencia Street in the hip Mission District, just a few blocks away from the world-famous Dolores Park. This trendy hole in the wall offers an exciting take on Mediterranean cuisine, in fact, it’s Anthony Bourdain’s favorite spot in the City. With great owners and a reputable stance. Truly Mediterranean is no doubt a Bay Area classic. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they make delicious homemade Toum.
2. Shawarmaji, Uptown – Oakland, CA.
Yelp!Price: $$What’s good: Al-Araby Plate (chicken, Lamb), Falafel sandwich, Lamb shawarma#GotToum?The latest edition of the Arab Food scene is, Shawarmaji. This Arabian delicacy will take you back to the Levant with every bite. Established in February 2020 in Oakland, CA, this business has thrived in the pandemic like a champ.
Owner Mohammad Abutaha moved to the Bay area from Jordan as an engineering student, unimpressed by the Arabic food scene at the time, Abutaha decided to turn things around.
“The early Arabs to the Bay Area who were making these restaurants weren’t necessarily thinking about if this food is authentic or not — more thinking, are Americans going to buy this food?” he said. It’s not that what’s on offer at local restaurants was bad per se, he conceded — but those versions didn’t give him “that shawarma feeling.” – Mohammad AbutahaAlthough Shawarmaji is a new establishment, its reputation spread around the Bay Area like wildfire.
3. Old Jerusalem Bernal Heights – San Francisco, Ca
Yelp!Price: $$What’s good: Kunafa, Lentil Soup, Shish Taouk, Mousakhan.Situated in the affluent Bernal Heights, Old Jersusalem has its loyal crowd. With its excellent cuisine and a gorgeous backyard garden, you will definitely feel the holy ambiance. Owner Ahmad Nasser opened Old Jerusalem 12 years ago because he wanted to recreate and share the flavors of his native city, Ramallah.
4. Yemen Kitchen: Tenderloin District – San Francisco, Ca
Yelp!Price: $$ What’s good: Kabsa, Roasted Lamb, Lamb Aqdah and TawaThe Tenderloin (TL) is San Francisco’s most diverse neighborhood and immigrant landing ground. You can see a Hole-in-the-wall Taqueria, next to Pho’ shop across from Afghani Kebab, that’s adjacent to an Ethiopian diner. With the rise of Yemeni immigrants in the Bay, their food was bound for exposure. Yemen Kitchen serves as a place for neighbors, craving hard-to-find dishes and flavors that remind them of home. Abdul is the owner of Yemen Kitchen, a father, and a Tenderloin community member. Adding even more diversity to the TL scene, Yemeni food is gaining a lot of attention and love from locals.
5. Aziza (Moroccan): Inner Richmond – San Francisco, Ca.
Yelp!Price: $$$What’s good: Basteeya, Slow cooked beef short rib, Harissa
Located in the heart of the Inner Richmond, along the bustling Geary Boulevard. Aziza is your go-to spot when it comes to the high-end eatery. Perfect for anniversaries, Valentine’s, or even fancy Friday nights with friends. Owned by the acclaimed Michelin star chef, Mourad Lahlou, Aziza offers a reimagination of Morrocan food; with a modern California take on the spice and flavors of North Africa. This twist is what allowed Aziza and Mourad to initially rise as superstars in the competitive San Francisco food scene. In addition to the extravagant food, Aziza offers crafty drinks and a vintage wine bar.
6. Al-Masri (Egyptian): Lands End – San Francisco, Ca
Yelp!Price: $$$What’s good: Basterma, Zabadi Bil Toom, Taggen Firakh, On the outskirts of Lands End, a few blocks from the Pacific ocean is the only Egyptian restaurant in Northern California, This venue offers classic Egyptian food paired with frequent belly dancing shows in a constant festive vibe. The recipes on their menu are as ancient as the pyramids showcasing the best of Egyptian culture. They offer lots of Middle Eastern favorites like hummus and kebab, but it’s the truly Egyptian dishes like kushari that make this spot worth visiting. This venue is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for all guests.
7. Reem’s Bakery: East Bay / San Francisco Locations
Yelp!Price: $$What’s good: Pali Cali, Shakshuka, Chicken Wrap, Sumac Braised Chicken, Cali Wrap.
This Levant-inspired bakery opened its doors in 2016, Reem’s mission is to offer the warmth of Arab hospitality through the discovery of flavors, aromas, and techniques of the modern Arab street corner bakery. Reem’s brings the smells and feels of Beirut and Damascus to the Bay Area.
Reem’s establishment had humble beginning serving at weekly Farmer’s market.“Our demand rose In the fall of 2016, I set my eyes on my dream location—literally a corner of a transit center in the heart of the Fruitvale in one of the most diverse communities in Oakland. We entered and won the national OpenTable contest to fund our dream restaurant. Six months later, we opened our first brick & mortar location.” – Reem
Now that Reem’s customer base has been growing significantly, the demand for a second location in the city was essential.
8. Falafel Boy: Downtown Oakland, Ca
Yelp!Price: $$What’s good: Falafel Wrap, Shish Tawouk, Kebabs, Shawarma plates (chicken and lamb).Falafel Boy, a well known East Bay establishment has gained popularity due to its proximity to many of the downtown businesses. It’s a lunch break favorite! Falafel Boy’s goal is to provide everyone fresh and authentic, Mediterranean food at a reasonable price.
Next time you visit the SF Bay, make sure to check out one of these establishments and support local Arab businesses.
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Through this article, we hope to help you understand Best mediterranean food bay area