Underrepresented national cuisines in the SFBA


I would like to add:

  1. Cafe STOP : Israeli in Sunnyvale, CA
  2. El Greco Grill : Greek in Campbell, CA

Also, I want to mention that though Greek food is listed as being well represented, few of these restaurants are authentic Greek eateries. A rule of thumb is: if pork is on the menu, then it’s real Greek. Too bad that there are too many faux Greek places.


(John Hartley) #97

I have a sense that it’s similar in the UK and that most restaurants saying they are Greek are actually Cypriot. Similar , but different, cuisine. Not that I have a problem with that, we’ve visited Cyprus a number of times (and my partner went to school there for a while) and enjoy the food more than the "real Greek)



I think its closed, however.

Have you tried El Greco? I thought about going but never made it to Campbell last year.



Sorry, I meant Falafel STOP. Same owner.

I ate at El Greco multiple times: super authentic and scrumptious!

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I am not really sure these belong here- a couple of new Ethiopian/ Ethiopian-inspired joints:

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(Tom Hilton) #101

Looks like Eko Kitchen is going permanent.



I updated the wiki at the top, and incorporated openings throughout the comments— thanks! Lots of closures :frowning: , a few openings I’ve picked up here and there.

Except for small local chains, where I link the restaurant’s web site, I now link to each restaurant’s yelp page. That way, I can monitor closures with a script.



Ellen Fort at Eater reports on Latvian inspired Hilda and Jesse

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John Birdsall in the Los Angeles Times on Cafe Ohlone in Berkeley:


The next course is venison albondigas, the meatballs made from a deer that somebody they know shot. They’re sunk in a murky broth of wild mushrooms, flavored with California bay and dried porcini — it tastes rich but flat, and the meatballs are bland. Next to it is a salad of pure exuberance: watercress, wild sorrel and pickleweed foraged near the bay, with caramelized native gooseberries and fresh currants, walnuts, piñon nuts and hazelnuts crushed in a mortar.

Maarah salad (quail eggs, fiddleheads, Indian onion, watercress pesto, yellowfoot mushrooms, smoked venison skewers, blackberry coulis) served at Cafe Ohlone. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)




“Most of the restaurants are serving … hummus, baba ganoush, and falafel, and shawarma,” Dahbour said. “When I started [at] La Cocina, I told them, there’s really traditional, authentic Palestinian food … this food is kind of unique, and you can’t find it in the market.”

At the kiosk, Dahbour plans to feature several favorites from her catering menu. She’ll make musakhan, a flatbread topped with caramelized onions, almonds, and sumac. There’ll also be finger food like ejja, fritters made of cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, and onion. For entrées, she plans to feature mansaf, a dish made with bread, rice, and lamb braised in labneh (yogurt), and maqloubeh, a rice dish with veggies and optional lamb or chicken that’s flipped upside down out of the pot and topped with almonds. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options will be available. Because the Public Market is a food court, Dahbour also plans to serve some more portable options like falafel and shawarma wraps.

Mama Lamees
(scheduled to open mid-summer, 2019)
Emeryville Public Market
5959 Shellmound Ave.
Emeryville CA

catering menu:



(Gary Soup) #106


Katherine Hamilton tried quite a few of the dishes at Golden Safari. Makes me want to go.

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The Brittania Arms chain on the Peninsula has some surprisingly authentic UK dishes. When I lived in SJ, there was one right by us, and we used to go semi-regularly for bangers & mash, fish & chips, sticky toffee pudding, etc.



So in the first post, Amawele’s South African Kitchen (in the Rincon Center) is given for SA. While it’s the only South African restaurant in the whole Bay Area as far as I know, its food is definitely not representative of SA cuisine, not leastaways because its big marketing shtick is how much paleo offerings it has, and paleo is so not South African.

Unfortunately, you have to know South Africans to get authentic food here. I’ll shamelessly plug two local SA expats who are making the real thing here. Rusks are a breakfast item that are eaten with coffee as a wake-up before a “real” breakfast. These are the most authentic rusks I’ve had in the US: http://www.charmainesrusks.com/. Also, the owner of Pizza Rustica in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland is South African; if you see “custard pie” in the display case there, get a slice–it’s actually melktert, and his is very good.

(I’m not South African, but my wife is, so I’ve had a lot of exposure to the cuisine.)

By the way, I also belong to a Meetup group called “Going Around the World with Food”. The organizer is working her way through cuisines in alphabetical order; for letters with a lot of countries (like I), she’s limiting the restaurants to two for now. The next dinner is Iraqi, at a restaurant in SF (can’t remember which).




The menu also includes items “that aren’t as common,” Osuna said, to provide diners with a comprehensive sense of the country’s offerings. So while khachapuri [a cheese and butter-filled bread with a runny egg] may be familiar to some, ispanakhis pkhali, a ground spinach and walnut spread, could still be a novel find. Diners may also encounter for the first time ingredients like blue fenugreek, dried marigold flowers and wild mountain herbs, all of which play a special role in Georgian cooking.

For those interested in learning more about Georgian culinary traditions, Berlin recommended Carla Capalbo’s Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus and Alice Fiering’s For the Love of Wine .

À Côté’s Georgian dinner series will run from June 26 through July 7. The restaurant is open 5:30-9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 5:30-10:30 p.m., Friday through Saturday.

À Côté’s oven-baked Adjaruli khachapuri, a cheese and butter-filled bread with a runny egg. Photo credit: À Côté



Luke Tsai’s first article for the U.S. edition of the Guardian of London is about Eko Kitchen.


And on Sundays, the main attraction is what Adebajo calls her “rice spectacular”: three different rice dishes on a combo plate, highlighted by a version of Nigerian native rice that’s infused with a deep umami kick reminiscent of a dried-porcini risotto – a flavor the chef attributes to the use of fermented locust beans and unrefined palm oil.

These are staple ingredients in any Nigerian kitchen, and they’re part of what makes it difficult to describe the cuisine, with its bold seasoning and distinctive textures, to someone who doesn’t have the reference points. Sure, you can liken the custardy, leaf-wrapped blackeyed-pea cake known as moin moin to a tamale, or you can say that the pounded yams, made with extra-starchy Nigerian tubers, are like sticky mashed potatoes you pick up with your hands. But ultimately, these kinds of comparisons don’t do justice to the cuisine. Moin moin is moin moin. Pounded yam is pounded yam.

Whatever else you might want to say about Eko Kitchen, the food is wildly delicious. There’s the intense spicy-savory quality of the efo riro, a thick spinach stew that you scoop up with hunks of pounded yam. There’s the smoky, tomatoey tinge of the jollof rice; the in-your-face heat blast of the pepper soup. There’s the ayamase, in which beef skin and tripe are slow-cooked to obscene tenderness in a rich, creamy, palm-oil-based sauce.

Eko Kitchen, San Francisco’s first Nigerian restaurant, serves traditional cuisine such as fiery pepper stews and jollof rice. Photograph: Gabriela Hasbun/The Guardian

Eko Kitchen
167 11th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103


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(Gary Soup) #112

IDK Luke was writing for the Guardian. Good for him.



Thanks for so many tips!

Chef Elizabeth Binder, who is from Durban, used to do South African popup events. One I attended in 2015 was quite good.



Oh cool! I hope she does some more soon.



The khachapuri adrjaruli, a boat-shaped bread with cheese, butter and an egg served in the middle, is stirred up before eating at Bevri restaurant in Palo Alto.Photo: Michael Short / Special to The Chronicle

530 Bryant St, Palo Alto, CA
(650) 384-6500

Monday – Friday
11:30 am – 2 pm
5 pm – 10 pm

11 am – 10 pm

11 am – 9 pm