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Jun 24, 2007 08:27 PM

Holy Land Restaurant & Ici, Berkeley report w/ pics

We came here for dinner Sun 6/24/07. It's a small place that has waiter service & probably take-out.

We got:
Beef shishlik-chunks of beef in a pita pocket which includes tomato, cucumber & home-made cabbage $6.35-I think the pita is homemade and pretty good, meat & other stuff average.

hubby got Shish Kabob dinner $15.95-2 skewers, 1 w/ ground beef, other with beef chunks. Dinner starts are 4pm and includes soup & salad plus a choice of rice, french fries, or grilled potatoes. He got the Chicken soup (didn't like the crunchy yellow bits on top) w/ Matza ball (just one) & he picked the grilled potatoes. Soup is good and so is the ground beef. Grilled potatoes very bland. Salad was decent.

eggplant salad -babaganoush $4.95-pretty good, enjoyed it w/ 1 pita bread -2 extra homemade pitas (60c each) & the excellent green spicy sauce.

You must try the Fresh home-made lemonade w/ mint $2.25-it's really good, and everyone else seems to get it too.

They take Credit Cards, and there is one unisex bathroom that was decent up in the front.

Time visited: 1

Holy Land Restaurant
2965 College Ave @ Ashby
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 665-1672

Closed Sat
Open Sun-Fri 11am-9pm
There was a line because it was a warm day, plus David Lebovitz, author of "The Perfect Scoop" was there for a book signing.

I got a single scoop on a homemade cone. $3.5 for single scoop & .50 for cone. Total $4.25.

I picked Apricot on the top and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie on the bottom. Cone is really delicious and has a gooey chocolate in the base. I liked both flavors, friend loved the Apricot. Why does the ice-cream on the bottom melt so fast. Best to get it in a cup w/ the cone inverted.

2948 College Ave @ Ashby
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 665-6054

my pics:

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  1. My God! Why do you torture us!!?? I just finished dinner and am about 5 miles away from Ici and they're probably already closed and, and, and.

    Great pictures. Thanks.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I've been out of the country for awhile, so I can't speak with great authority, but I don't think the Holyland's pita is homemade. I believe they get it from a pita bakery in LA, who ships it up north.

        I do know that this pita can be bought, at times--but not always, from the Pyramid Market on Telegraph and the Kosher Deli on Lakeshore. The pita that I've had there is a nice change from the thin and dry pita that is so prevalent. A bit thicker and a bit moister. My wife, who has lived 9 of her years in Israel, claims this is how it is supposed to be. I can't attest directly to that, but I definitely prefer this style of pita myself. It freezes well and is, I think, often sold frozen.

        3 Replies
        1. re: heymister

          the other day I just commented on the pita served in the bay area .. just not the same as what I had in LA which is closer to what I had in Isreal.

          Are you thinking of the bakery that use to be on Grand Ave. or the place that is similar to holy land off Lake Shore?

          1. re: Lori SF

            I have to admit I'm not sure. It's the place that temporarily moved to College Ave and served Levi's bagels about 7 years ago at the site of what is now part of Cactus Taqueria. They then moved back to the Lakeshore/Grand area. Holyland started out over off Lakeshore and at one time were open both their and in Elmwood. Is the off Lakeshore restaurant closed?

            1. re: heymister

              There is a kosher deli/butcher on Lakeshore (near Spettro's), and a kosher Bakery on Grand. And Holy Land (on Rand, off Lakeshore) was open the last time I walked by.

              Good to know about the fluffy pita at the kosher deli... I'll get some the next time I stock up on my guilty pleasure (frozen mini-latkes). I've seen fluffy pita at Berkeley Bowl, too.

        2. Thanks for the report and photos, hhc! I have David's new book, so it would have been nice to get is signed. Were any of the flavors they were selling that day from his book or was there no connection? I just made his gianduja which was good but needs some tweaking since it was too rich and sweet for me.

          This is a guess, but if the ice cream melts quickly on the bottom it may be a sign that it was just freshly made and hasn't had too much time to set up. Not necessarily a bad thing, but can be difficult if you're eating it on a cone. Or it could be related to how it is stored.

          That salad combo plate at Holy Land looked good and homemade, as well as the baba ganoush. What exactly were those "crunchy yellow bits" on top of the matzoh ball soup that were diced so uniformly square?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Carb Lover

            I don't think there were any flavors from the book, just whatever Ici was selling that day. I don't have the book nor did I ask.

          2. BTW, that line is fairly normal at Ici, esp. during weekends :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: gemster

              Oh oops, I think I see myself in one of your photos. Anyway, I was at Ici for the booksigning yesterday. Initially there was a bit of a confusion since there wasn't a line specifically for the booksigning event and I didn't know where to line up. Actually I think more people came for the ice cream. The wait was about 15 minutes and eventually a book line started to form. I first got a copy of the book and David Lebovitz signed it after which I paid for it. He was a really friendly person, funny in a cute way. :) You also get a free scoop of ice cream with purchase of the book, but I didn't want to wait in line and received a little coupon instead.

              I don't think any of the flavors were from "The Perfect Scoop" either. Some flavors available were white coffee, apricot, peanut butter chocolate cookie, Santa Rosa plum sorbet, rose pistachio, honey lavender, coconut sherbet, etc. They probably make new batches of ice cream throughout the day. While we were in the store, a girl who worked there crossed out two flavors on the menu and added the peanut butter chocolate cookie flavor (so presumably it was just fresh out of the ice cream maker.) Overall, it was a busy day at Ici but the staff (including Mary Caneles) were pretty helpful.

              Thanks for the awesome pics. The combo salad at Holy Land reminds me of the one I had at Sunrise Deli on Bancroft Way. I'll definitely have to try it some time soon!