Holyland Restaurant & Catering is run by a Palestinian extended family who has lived for a long time in Jordan so there are some Jordanian specialties served. The gentleman runs the front of the house. His mom and his uncle run the kitchen. His mom was away that day and the son suggested that I came again to try her mom’s food because its ‘even better’.
Holylands is not related to Holy Land Restaurant in Oakland, an Israeli restaurant. Its located amongst random office complexes and light industrial area. The restaurant is located within one such office complex, with only a sign pointing customers into the parking lot. The restaurant is located at the end of the path.
The neighborhood and the parking lot was pretty desolate when we visited. But the restaurant’s there and open.
Mansaf- the national dish of Jordan. The lamb shank was fall-off-the-bone tender, gently seasoned and cooked in yogurt. Came with jameed, made from a salty and sour dried goat yogurt, to be poured all over the shank and pilaf. Overall I liked the dish. Its fairly similar to the beriani dejaj dish from Dish Dash, only with a whole shank, and you pour the yogurt. Dish Dash I believe is run by Lebanese.
Mezza for 4- which included hummus, falafel, baba ghanouj and tabouleh. Solid. Both hummus and baba ghanoush came with a dash of chili in the middle to provide a kick if desired. Baba ghanoush was smoky and well flavored. Rest of the app was also solid.
Moussaka with beef was also quite solid.
Overall, a good meal and a chance to eat some Jordanian specialties not often encountered in the Bay Area. Need to come back and try other specialties like the mankeesh, fattoush, mandi, mujadara, labneh, etc.
They also have the Jordanian salad which is called the Holyland salad on their old menu but seems to be missing in the current menu.
They do catering, and can roast a whole 40 lb lamb for either $400 or $600 (I forgot). Anyone wants a lamb feast? Check out all that goodies not on the restaurant menu: