You haven’t had hummus if you haven’t had it warm, “finished with a sprinkle of paprika, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of golden olive oil,” says rworange. And maybe topped with mushrooms and onions, the way it is at Amba, a falafel restaurant new to Oakland that aims to use local and organic ingredients.

And yes, with your crisp-fried falafel you can get amba, the popular Israeli condiment that seems more like something out of India with ingredients such as mangoes, fenugreek, turmeric, vinegar, mustard, chile, and salt. There’s also fresh green and red schug, a Yemeni hot sauce. Hot pitas and fresh salads make for a really satisfying meal.

Over at the kosher restaurant Holy Land, the mint lemonade is worthy of its own religion. Made to order, it’s a frothy, lemony slushie with bits of pulp and mint. But that’s not all.

“I find it hard not to order their humus, felafel, and schwarma combo when I go there,” says BernalKC. “I adore the dolmas at Holy Land. They are super-lemony and so very good,” says milklady, who also likes the vegetarian soups. escargot3 loves the yummy vegetable items like beet salad, spicy carrot salad, and hummus. “Their Yemenite hot sauce&#8212‘zhug’—is the best I’ve had outside of the Middle East. And the babaganoush is perfect.”

Although Holy Land makes its own malawach, a flaky pancake much like paratha, rworange prefers the version at Oakland Kosher Foods, which is nice and flaky even though she suspects it’s the frozen Saba brand. The grocery/eatery is tiny and packed with kosher wines, hot dogs, cheese, baked goods, and all kinds of other stuff.

“Their matzo ball soup was amazing, as good as my late, beloved Jewish grandmother’s,” says rednails.

Amba [East Bay]
6464 Moraga Avenue, Oakland

Holy Land Restaurant [East Bay]
677 Rand Avenue, Oakland

Oakland Kosher Foods [East Bay]
3419 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland

Discuss: Oakland (Montclair): Amba Kosher organic vegetarian restaurant - Babka, warm hummus with mushrooms, Lebanese pitza, shuee’t, masbacha, ful, schug and more
Oakland: Holy Land - The mint lemonade is magic
Oakland Kosher Food - Malawach, Green’s chocolate babka and 700 bottles of Kosher wine on the wall

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