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Oasis Market - Oakland

Another pan-Muslim-world halal grocer & restaurant. Big place, clean and pretty, meat counter in the back, indoor and outdoor seating. Wide selection, I saw some unusual items, including fresh African yams.

I got a really delicious Lebanese (?) pizza with spicy beef topping for $3. They had vertical spits for lamb and chicken shawarma. Friendly people.

3045 Telegraph between 30th & 31st. Open till 11:30pm daily?

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    1. re: adrienne156

      They now carry packaged merguez at the new Berk Bowl.

        1. re: adrienne156

          Cooler case across from the meat counter.

    2. Thanks for the report. Last time I was by there (it's right across the street from my doctor's office) they were still not quite ready to open.

      I suspect one reason for the cluster of pan-Muslim-world halal grocers in that neighborhood is that the Oakland Islamic Center is literally right around the corner on 31st.

      1. it is a nice space. lamb and chicken shawerma, shish kabob for $6.99. meat plates for $8.99. lots of bulk items like a 50 lb. bag of bulgur wheat from California, La Spagnola olive oil from Turkey, 101 oz. can, 2/$19.99. the African yams Robert mentioned were $2/lb. they had a sign up in the butcher shop in the back listing whole goat or lamb at about $3.99/lb and kidneys, tongue & feet at about the same price. while they were remodeling the shop, the sign outside said 'Dubai Market' but the menu has it as:

        Oasis Food Market
        3045 Telegraph Ave.
        Oakland, CA 94609
        Tel: 510-655-5111

        13 Replies
        1. re: zippo

          Stopped by yesterday and picked up a lamb kabob plate and shawerma combo plate to go. Both were excellent and plentiful.

          1. re: Scrapironchef

            I also stopped by yesterday. They were promoting whole lamb and whole goat for $3.99/lb and I saw three whole lamb carcasses hanging in the back. They make their own pita (we've had requests for fresh-made pita) in the pillowy style and also carry some good locally made brands.

            I had a cheese pie and they heated it for me. I also bought some of the individually wrapped bulk confections near the register -- mix-and-match because they're all $5.99/lb. I was pleased with them. Unlike a lot of Eastern-style sweets they weren't cloyingly sweet. The weird-looking translucent blobs, which I thought might be something like Turkish delight, were instead some kind of glaceed citrus -- I haven't tried the pale one yet, but I think the orange one was bergamot, which had that nice bitter edge to it. I loved browsing through the shelf goods and almost bought a jar of carob molasses (not carob-flavored molasses, but molasses made from carob).

            Oh, and the big find: the red and white wax blocks of Plugra for $2.49. They also had Lurpak and Presidente, but I don't think the prices on those were anything special.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Do they serve any of their prepared foods in/with their house-made pita? Also, is there any seating or is it strictly take-out for the prepared food?

              1. re: lmarie

                There's lots of seating, both indoor and sidewalk. I saw people with pita on their plates.

              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                $2.49? WOW. They're $4.19 at Berkeley Bowl.

                1. re: JasmineG

                  Yow and double yow! I wish I'd read Ruth's Plugra post before I paid $4.19 at BB yesterday. I have no excuse except laziness, since I also saw Plugra at Trader Joe's on Lakeshore for a price in the 2-3 $ range.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Is Plugra back at Trader Joe's???

                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The lighter colored one turned out to be a glaceed crab apple. Delicious!

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Bought a few samples of candied fruit, individually wrapped, at a shop in San Mateo and paid $9.99/lb. Liked them very much (apricot, fig, mandarin orange), will have to check out Oasis for some price shopping

              3. re: zippo

                here are some pictures I took last week of the deli counter: stuffed pies, 9 bins of olives, 2 vertical spits and a pretty good-looking tiled oven.


                1. re: zippo

                  thanks, zippo - always nice to have visuals!

                  1. re: gordon wing

                    While Robert may appreciate the wider variety at Cheese Board the picture shows a price of $3.99/lb, considerably cheaper I believe.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      I like the olives at the Cheese Board because the quality is higher than most other places (e.g. Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods), but I haven't compared Oasis's yet.

              4. when/what time were you there? I'd be a little surprised if they were open days for the next few weeks: this is Ramadan, through September 19th I believe.

                6 Replies
                1. re: susancinsf

                  The Dubai Market sign has been removed and the new sign for Oasis Food hasn't been put up yet.

                  Went this evening before the fast for the day had ended and they were busy prepping for the late rush (after prayers at the Islamic Center around the corner). Rana told me normally they're open until 10 p.m., but because of the Ramadan they've extended hours until 11 p.m.

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    Shops don't close during Ramadan, to the contrary, people shop like crazy. Observant Muslims aren't supposed to eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, but they're busy all day cooking for the evening breakfast.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I was under the impression from your description that it was more a restaurant than a shop, and serving cooked food for immediate consumption during the day would be a little unusual if the owners are observant.

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        No, it's more of a shop -- sort of like one of those Mexican markets with a taqueria in the back.

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          The restaurant section is fairly large, but it's a grocery store.

                          Serving food in daytime during Ramadan might be unusual in a country where most people are observant Muslims, but not around here.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Plus posted on the front door was a passage saying something to the effect that those preparing food for fasters were as blessed as the fasters.

                    2. I just stopped by for the first time and was impressed by the fresh babaganoush and humous in the deli side, and the wide selection of spices, etc.
                      Plus olives looked great, and at only $4 a pound, much better than the Berkeley Bowl.

                      In general, very cheerful, and clean.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: escargot3

                        Better than BB isn't saying much for olives.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          sounds like the start of a new thread. where do you like to shop for olives?

                          1. re: escargot3

                            The Cheese Board is in a class by itself.

                            1. re: escargot3

                              True, Roberto, the cheese board is in its own splendid class in every respect. But isn't it limited in terms of selection? Aren't there only 4 or 5 kinds of olives?

                              1. re: escargot3

                                I think the Cheese Board usually has more like 15 varieties. I'll try to remember to take a picture of the list next time I'm there.

                              2. re: escargot3

                                Crossroads Market in Hayward has a good seletion at reasonable prices.

                              3. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I agree that Cheese Board is better for olives than BB....but I haven't driven all the way over to North Berk. in a while. Does Cheese Board have those weirdly colored blue green olives (fresh). If you get a new batch they are amazingly delicious. I have eaten a whole half pint container in about 20 minutes. If they've been sitting around for a while, they're okay but not fab the way they are new. I don't even know what they're called, but I always have to ask for them because the platter is always empty. Really popular.

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  Sounds like the Castelvetranos they stopped carrying.

                            2. They have imported sheep's-milk yogurt. The label just says "product of EU" but it rang up as Bulgarian.

                              1. I stopped by Oasis Market today, hadn't read bout the Dubai-to-Oasis change, so was a bit confused at first. But wow. What a store! I was amazed at the breadth of product - from red palm oil (african), to lebanese sweets and Foul of all varieties, and Indian munchies. Loved the goats hanging in the back, as well as the made-to-order pita - mine were warm and powdery. I insisted on fresh ones when I learned that the ones on the counter were from the day before, and they obliged. Also tried some of the glaceed fruit, and want to go back for so much more! Right now, I have Mansaf (Jordanian Lamb Stew with Yogurt, although I made mine with kefir), simmering on the stove, to be enjoyed with the pita and lemon cukes from the garden sprinkled with sumac. Next time, I'm going to try some of the "jallab" which seem to be middle-eastern date-based syrups to be mixed with water or, more heretically, perhaps in cocktails?

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: mielemaiale

                                  Has anyone noticed whether imported baklava (i.e., from lebanon) is available?

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    I didn't see any imported, but they were selling their own.

                                    1. re: Scrapironchef

                                      ran across an article from last March about Mohsin Sharif who operates Oasis and at that time he said that he may bring in a Lebanese pastry chef from New York or Michigan "because in his opinion no one in Oakland is up to the task."

                                      link to article:

                                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                                      Tonight the packaged baklava atop the shelves of pita were from Van Nuys (have forgotten the brand name -- Ava?).

                                      More patrons eating in at 7ish than my last visit (sunset is earlier?). Shared an adana wrap (okay, but Melanie's adana kebob is tastier), curried chicken pie (tasty), & a cheese pie (didn't realize it would be feta and I didn't like it as much as last week's version).

                                      As we were paying/leaving, samosas were coming out of the fryer & we were comped one -- nice crispy multi-layered skin & flavorful curried beef & potato. I noticed lots of boxes of egg roll skins in the freezer & wonder if that's being used for the samosas.

                                      1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                        SC, How about spicy beet somosa in empanada dough or savory rhubarb stuffed somosa in phyllo dough?

                                  2. Good find for a penny pincher. After my visit to doctor around the corner dropped in. Not completely open but was able to get lemons for my overly tart hummus at 5 for $1. Nice onions even cheaper than MM at 3/lb for $1. More than adequate tahina selection.

                                    1. Stopped in tonight to pick up dinner...and way more than dinner. They had two different kids of pomegrante molasses, both for less than $4, I got some of the double cream feta (haven't tried it yet, for $5.99, some Plugra (note: it's $2.99, not $2.49, or at least that's what I was charged for it), and gawked at all of the many different kinds of olive oil. My dinner was the lamb shawarma sandwich, which was delicious -- lots of lamb, greens, hummus, onions and tomatoes and hot sauce on flatbread. For $6.99, it was a lot of food, and I couldn't finish. That may have been because I also got some of the tzatziki ($3 for a small container), and some of the hot, fresh, pillowy pita, which was just out of the oven. For $2 for 5 breads, this was a great deal, and the pita is delicious.

                                      Also, please note: don't do what I did and go there on a Friday right at sundown during Ramadan; you'll have to drive around a lot to find a parking space, because of the neighborhood.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                        I paid $2.49 for the Plugra. But the sheep's milk yogurt that was $1.99 the other day was $1.49 today.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          I think they don't quite have things worked out yet. Looking at my receipt, for example, it looks like they charged me $5.99 for the candy instead of $5.99/lb. I guess the moral is to pay attention when they're ringing things up and be prepared to question (politely, of course) any discrepancies. Presumably they'll eventually become more adept with the cash register and get it in sync with the prices on the shelf.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Yeah, I thought about questioning the price on the Plugra, but since there were no signs with a price on the case, I thought that saying that a person on the internet said that it was $2.49 might not work.

                                            One thing that I forgot to say was that everyone who worked there was super nice and friendly, and answered many questions from me (and were even friendly and polite to the seemingly drunk girls that came in after me).

                                            1. re: JasmineG

                                              When I was there I saw the price -- just a small price tag -- on the shelf. $2.99 is still a good price, though. It was over $3 at TJ's.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Yeah, I was perfectly happy with $2.99, since the cheapest that I've seen since it left TJs was $4.19 at Berkeley Bowl.

                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                  Stopped by tonight and met the owners of this great new place. Since they are so new they are under a learning curve. The Plugra is $2.99 lb and they plan to keep a good stock of it. Fresh salads are sold apparently by the container not by weight but the olives (for which they use the same containers) are sold by the pound. They are aware they have a bit more training to do regarding pricing but are working on it. They couldn't be nicer people and what a great selection of ingredients. Also of note...they will in the next few weeks be adding an in house pastry shop with an on staff baker who I am told will make fresh pastries using hand made filo.

                                                  1. re: cakebaker

                                                    I'll look forward to fresh pastries with handmade filo. I wonder if they will sell the filo as well. There hasn't been a source for fresh, handmade filo in the Bay Area for several years.

                                                    1. re: cakebaker

                                                      I like this place a lot, but a word of caution on the Plugra - the block I bought has a distinctly garlicky taste - it must have been stored near garlic at some point. I'm sure I could exchange it, but then it would get thrown out, and I hate waste, so I'm using it just for savory preps. But it did not taste good on an English muffin with blueberry jam the other day.

                                                      1. re: daveena

                                                        Re: the off flavor of the Plugra...I would tell them. They struck me as wanting to know everything so they can get it right. As far as the filo for sale...I forgot to ask and we spoke about Sheherazade closing and no local source for handmade filo since but they were so excited about the new baker I didn't think to ask. Good question for next time.

                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    Yeah, I've been buying my Plugra at TJs ever since I saw their price.

                                          2. Stopped by for lunch yesterday. I had the chicken kabob plate for, I think, $7.99. Came with yellow rice, a yogurt sauce, some grilled onions and bread. The chicken was a little dry for my taste, but still a good deal.
                                            Interestingly, I noticed some papers with the Chowhound logo on them behind the cash register. I looked a little closer, and it was a printout of this thread.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Martin Strell

                                              I hope they are pleased with the positive comments and understand that the criticisms are meant to be constructive.

                                            2. Since the Korean street fair turned out to be a bust food-wise, I got a lamb shawerma plate for lunch. It was a generous helping and spiced very nicely. Came with some griddled onions and tomatoes, onions with sumac, pilaf, salad, fresh pita, and some insanely spicy hot sauce, by far the hottest I've ever had at a Middle Eastern place. Good value for $9. I also got a chicken samosa, would have been better hot.

                                              They gave us some semolina pastries for free, nice. I asked about housemade phyllo and they said the pastry guy started last week but he's on vacation this week.

                                              1. I got lunch there today too (and I'm glad that the Korean street fair was a food bust, because I only saw it after leaving Oasis) -- I got the vegetarian plate, which had four falafels, two dolmas, baba ganoush, hummus and tabouleh, and I got some of the Afghani bread to go with it. It was a pretty great lunch -- the falafels are really delicious, small and really flavorful, the dolmas were great, and I wished that there were more. The Afghani bread is $1.25 for a huge slab, sort of foccacia like but with black and white sesame seeds; they make it in house, and I liked it a lot, though it was a little dry and could have used a little more salt, but it was great with the dips. They also had lamb, chicken, and beef kabobs plates that looked really good.

                                                I would have gotten more of the great pita, but they were baking it when I was there and it wasn't ready.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: wolfe

                                                  do you have a recipe for whole wheat pita?

                                                  1. re: escargot3

                                                    Just a quick request -- when you post the recipe, please post it on our Home Cooking board, so that home cooking hounds from all over will get a chance to see and enjoy the recipe. You can add a link to the new thread here so that escargot3 knows it's available. Thanks!

                                                  2. re: JasmineG

                                                    Last night I stopped in for pita and got dinner -- I got the $8.99 chicken kabob plate (I wanted lamb, they were out), which came with pita, rice, salad and hummus, and was enough for dinner last night and lunch today. I also got more of those dolmas, they're 3 for $1, and they are definitely the best dolmas I've ever had (though I don't have wide ranging dolma experience). I can't wait to get more.

                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                      Here's the biggest downside for the pita: they put it in the plastic bags that they sell it in when it's still hot, which means that if you don't take it out of that bag and let it cool completely when you get home, it gets moldy pretty quickly.

                                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                                        The pita I had was sitting loose on the counter.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          You may have gotten it right after it came out of the oven; the past two times I've been there, the pita was all bagged already on the counter.

                                                  3. There was a black barrel bbq fired up in front of the market today with plump chickens and kabobs on the grill.

                                                    Inside there was a buffet set up in the deli. For $9.99 they were selling plates with large pieces of bone-on stewed lamb, grilled chicken and a huge mound of fluffy saffron rice.

                                                    It was the verticle spits with chicken lamb shwarma that had my attention, so I ordered lamb. The lavash had grill marks and was crispy in spots. The lamb pieces were thick and tasty. There was some sort of sauce I couldn't identify, grilled onions and one half slice of tomato and maybe a pieces of lettuce at the bottom.

                                                    Friday afternoon Juma services at the nearby Islamic Center had just let out so the place was a mad house. That might be the reason the buffet was available - after service eats.

                                                    Since it was wall to wall people, I didn't get a chance to check out the deli counter. In the deli section there's a long couch and some tables to eat. There are some good photos of the place on Yelp.

                                                    I just did a quick walk around. The meat counter in the back had separators with a Harris Ranch logo, so I didn't look closely and walked out. It turns out this was just leftover stock from the previous owner.the produce section is small. I didn't notice any whole goats.

                                                    Unfortunately I didn't read much about the place before going. I've just been bookmarking threads about new places while the restaurant database was being revised. All I knew was that it had a deli and Chowounds liked it.

                                                    The only info I can add about the grocery that hasn't been mentioned is that green coffee beans are for sale ($4.99 lb).

                                                    So next time I'll look for the Lebanese pizza, the pillowy house-made pita right out of the oven, glazed, candied citrus next to the register, carob molasses, jallab, samosas, house-baked large Afghani bread with black and white sesame seeds.

                                                    Will have to see whether the Lebanese pastry chef started yet. I read on Yelp there are two chefs, one from Syria and one from Turkey. Someone there liked the Turkish salsa, so to speak, which caught my attention when I caught a glimpse of it. Other mentions included Italian style giardiniera like from Chicago and kiopoolu (Bulgarian eggplant and pepper spread). I think those are in the grocery section.

                                                    Anyway, looking forward to trying more and doing some in-depth exploring on the next visit.

                                                    I noticed lots of people with cups of soft serve ice cream. A soft-serve ice cream truck parks outside the center after Friday services.

                                                    Oasis Market
                                                    3045 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      I was in there today and was told the buffet is Friday afternoon only. There were a couple of women there who had come by hoping to have lunch at the buffet (the owner had told them about it at a previous visit), but it was still being set up at about 1:00. There was some confusion about what time the buffet was supposed to open. We were variously told it would be a few minutes, ten minutes and 2:00. I think rworange nailed it when she suggested it was linked to the service, rather than a conventional American meal time.

                                                      I had the kafta kabob wrap, which was delicious: meat grilled to order, then wrapped in lavosh with lettuce, onions, pickled radish (?), tahini and hot sauce, then put back on the grill to slightly brown and crisp the outside. I also had some of the housemade phyllo pastry, which was exceptionally light and flaky. The other thing I bought was an avocado honey from Southern California I read about on chowhound.

                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                        What event was going on? We drove by (twice) and there were about 40-70 people milling around at 2p.m.

                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                              Thanks for that. I was thinking these people at the mosque were really, really ... really ... religious as there has not been one time I've gone by recently when church wasn't in session. I wonder if there's any special food for Eid-al-Adha

                                                              There's an 'a' at the end, so your link didn't work. Here's the wiki link (I hope)

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                Answering my own question, I stopped by today and asked if they made anything special for the holiday. They said they had a special stuffed lamb on Friday which sold out in one hour.

                                                                He mentioned that on Fridays they also have special food. I'm wondering if they have something different every Friday.

                                                                Anyway it was like the day after Thanksgiving at Oasis ... totally dead. There was so little business I was able to park at a meter right in front ... that says a lot.

                                                                Finally tried the pita which I liked a lot. The hummus was good, but I'm not someone who is generally into hummus. Had the Morrocan soup which was a tomato veggies soup with background Morrocan spices. It was fine. Tried some philo pastry with chieese and honey. I'm not much of a fan of honey based philo desserts, so this was only ok to me.

                                                                Turns out they really do sell Harris Ranch meats ... the Halal version ... who knew?

                                                                Here's my question about holiday food on the General Board

                                                                Any special food for Eid Al-Adha?

                                                    2. They now have the promised house-made pastries. Phyllo made from scratch in house. Assortments are at the cash register.

                                                      Plugra still $2.99 a pound.

                                                      1. I've been in a few more times recently, and I still really like this place, but with some reservations. The biggest issue is the confusion behind the food counter; I don't know if it's a language issue, or just some new workers or both, but every time I've been in recently people seem to not be quite sure of what's going on, can't totally answer some simple questions, have made the wrong food, there have been long delays, forgotten items, things like that. So just pay close attention to your order when you go there for the meals, and bring your patience. There's also a little inconsistency; I've had great dolmas and kabobs there, but the last time I got each item they were both not quite right, the meat was tough and the dolmas were a little hard.

                                                        The good: the falafels have been fantastic every time I've had them, the baba ganoush is the best that I've ever had, the pita is still pillowy and delicious, and the pita that I had with the topping on it (I don't know the word for this, it was sitting out on the left side of the counter, I asked but...see above) was really flavorful and perfect with the tzatziki.

                                                        1. The cabbage rolls are great. They're stuffed with rice, sort of like dolmas, nicely seasoned. Pretty big considering they're only 75 cents each. Vegetarian. Vegan, probably.

                                                          1. Wow, I must not make it down Telegraph this far very often, because driving by the other day was the first time I noticed Oasis. I'm getting myself there as soon as possible. I've been loving Turkish Kitchen, but it's a bit of a trek. Oasis is much closer to home, plus with all the market staples I can see myself being a frequent patron. Thanks for the info everyone!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: oaklandfoodie

                                                              Speaking of driving, Oasis is just a few blocks from the 27th St / Grand exit off 980 and the 27th St. Hwy 24 on-ramp. It took me a few visits before I realized it was faster to use the freeway.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                The freeways can be remarkably handy for cutting through downtown Oakland -- I've been going to Grocery Outlet more often since I realized I could swing around 980 to 580, take the Harrison Ave exit, go down Harrison a couple of blocks to 29th and cut over that little hill right to the GO parking lot (there is no 27th Ave. off ramp eastbound on 980, and even then, I'm not sure this isn't faster, since there's only one traffic light).

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Interesting article in Oakland Trib about the Oasis and other halal markets on Telegraph: http://www.insidebayarea.com/search/c...

                                                            2. I love the fresh pita there and their sweets are a cut above the rest. The behind the counter service, however is clueless, I mean it. I have gone there many times and the people at the deli counter don't know half of what the items are called, and When I get the hummus or the strained yogurt, they always over-fill the containers and the stuff squishes out.
                                                              That being said, the Salt cured black oiives are half the price of Whole Wallet, and much better. All the olives are much cheaper than that or B.Bowl as are the corichons. They also sell those great turnip pickles. The Feta Cheese WAS only 3.99 a pound, but they raised it to 5.99 recently, so its not such a great deal any more, but still much cheaper than B. Bowl or Whole F. for the same exact cheese. I don't think however that their Schwarmas are the best i have ever had. There is something slightly gritty about the spicing.
                                                              All in all it is a great market, and the Pitas really do rock.

                                                              1. I don't know if this was just a one time problem, but the last lamb shawarma I had was dry and had unchewable pieces of gristle. And considering that I enjoy gristly bits, that was surprising.

                                                                1. We had some of the marinated lamb chops from the butcher counter last night. Delicious broiled, would have been even better grilled. Highly recommended for those who like their lamb on the gamy side.

                                                                  1. oh my god, they have lahmajun? serious!? crap i'm going to have to check this place out! my only other new-chowhound post, several years ago, was regarding my quest for lahmajun in the east bay. score!

                                                                    on a side note, am i really the only one who knows the name of this stuff? also goes by the name of "armenian pizza", i think it's armenian originally, though it traveled, as the armenians did, to many other middle eastern locales. it's good stuff.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                      Hee. I had a very similar response when lahmacun popped up at Turkish Kitchen in Berkeley:


                                                                      1. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                        I doubt the dish is of Armenian origin since they usually call it lahmejoun, which is derived from Arabic, rather than meesov hatz.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          well it's been forever since i first posted about the lahmajun, but i'm sorry to report, what they have is not lahmajun. the bread part is thicker than it is on lahmajun, and to my taste, the filling is less flavorful (not as much tomatoy/pepper flavor as with the lahmajuns of my memory). my lahmajun search continues.

                                                                          1. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                            btw i think what they carry is sfiha rather than lahmajun.

                                                                            1. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                              Armenian food festival at St. Vartan's is coming up in a week.

                                                                        2. I stopped in yesterday (Friday) late afternoon to check out the $10 rice plates and got both - lamb and chicken. Both tender, perfectly spiced, enough for 2 meals each, and the rice was delicious. Also bought 3 kinds of pastries - pistachio and cashew baklava and a pistachio square. Very good, not too sweet. Noticed that they are now labeled. The still warm pitas were open on the counter, while bagged ones were cool, so no sweating. At the register I asked about the origin of the pillow style of pitas, and the very nice man (apparent owner) asked if I had tried the other bread. He then went and got me a still hot flat bread, airy and medium pizza-sized, made by the Iraqi baker. That was downright memorable - I would stop by whenever in the neighborhood just for that. He says they have it whenever the guy feels like doing it - almost every day. Some others on the board have described poor service, but everyone was very helpful. The rice plate guy called someone to help me with the baklava and brought my carryout plates to the register while I shopped. A smiling young guy brought things down from the top shelf.

                                                                          1. Had some lahmejoun or lahmacun or whatever they call that spiced meat pizza again yesterday. That topping is really delicious. I hope to see them coming hot out of the oven some day.

                                                                            Also tried the baba ganoush, excellent, lots of tahina.

                                                                            They were out of the stuffed cabbage so we got the similar-looking eggplant, which turned out to be pickled, not the same thing at all. I wouldn't get that again.

                                                                            They didn't have any of the house-made pita, only naan in plastic bags, which were OK but don't reheat as well.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              I made lamb shanks purchased from Oasis last week, wonderful quality. Its something of a hoot to be in an Arab market speaking Spanish to one of the meat cutters. The Oasis folks are really nice, friendly and helpful. They're open till midnight during Ramadan, and when i was there Wednesday night, the place was full of people and very festive. That flat chewy bread they make in the tandoor is great. They also sell rounds of fresh injera. I liked their version of salta, the Yemeni national dish, better than San Francisco's Yemeni's restaurant. Maybe the SF folks toned it down as the Oakland one was spicier and had deeper flavor.

                                                                              Oasis Market
                                                                              3045 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                                            2. A friend visiting from out of town bought a bunch of pastries to try. Wow. Easily the best Middle Eastern pastries I've had. Mostly not very sweet. The cylindrical ones with coarsely chopped pistachios are particularly fabulous.

                                                                                1. story and video from OaklandNorth.Net today on how the Oasis pastries are made:

                                                                                  Oasis is the only shop in Northern California that makes its own filo dough. It is “the most important thing we make in the store,” he said. “When [the pastry chef] makes dough, it takes a whole day.”


                                                                                  1. Has anyone stopped in at OASIS recently (for savory items)?

                                                                                    I was a little disappointed they didnt have the individual or packs of 5 pitas [40cents/$2) any more ... only the large "tadoori breads". And more unfortunately the spinach and cheese pies [$1.50] sucked ... they were waaaaay to much bread for the amount of filling. (the bread part isnt bad ... it just tastes like a mouthful of bread ... I used to love these).

                                                                                    Was this just a temp anomaly? They do seem to have made some changes ... I probably havent been there for 2-3mos at least.

                                                                                    1. I thought I would give a little report of my first meal here since it has been a while since anyone has posted about this place.
                                                                                      My wife had a combo shawarma. I only had a bite, but it was quite tasty and the meat was more tender than I am used to. No gristle.
                                                                                      I had the combo vegetarian plate. It had the four falafels, two dolmas, baba ganoush, hummus and tabbouleh; but it also had a red pepper eggplant walnut spread. (I've heard about this from Russian friends but don't know what its called and it wasn't listed on the menu). This was spicy and tasty... unfortunately i'm slightly allergic to walnuts so I only tasted a little and stopped upon the walnut realization.
                                                                                      The Hummus was great. The baba ganoush was ridiculously light and fluffy. I actually prefer chunky kinds (Yemenis Restaurant used to have a chunk kind I loved) but this was pretty great. I couldn't get over how fluffy it was.
                                                                                      The first falafel was great. But the next 3 were a bit denser than I like... also a bit spicier. Falafel is a personal preference kind of food. Some people love Haigs' on clement and i think those are disgusting. I like them light and airy inside and definitely crispy on the outside. These were tasty though.
                                                                                      The dolmas were good. The insides were soft and more blended then some versions. I kind of like it when you can see rice still, but they tasted real good and the leaves weren't tough (a big pet peeve).
                                                                                      The wheat bread the served it with was nice and plain and made for a good dipping bread.

                                                                                      We got a little bit of 2 salads. One was just carrots with parsley and olive oil and some pepper flakes. The carrots were cooked but still firm enough. Yum!
                                                                                      The other was red and green bell pepper + tomato + cucumber + feta. This had some spice mix on it as well as olive oil. This was amazing. Really great tasting peppers. good tomatoes. firm flavorful feta.
                                                                                      I had a bottled drink made in Berkeley that was ginger, pineapple and hibiscus. That was great too, but I noticed it was expired by 3 days after i finished drinking it. oh well.

                                                                                      Also ordered a bunch of desserts. Cashew Baklava, Pistachio Baklava. Baloria with Pistachio (this is the shredded dough pastry 1 'fried' 1 plain). Borma (that round shreded dough thing with the pistachios inside, next most common dessert next to baklava), Hareeseh (a semolina cake).
                                                                                      I'm a sucker for desserts like this. From Greece to India, i'll eat anything that has honey or rose water syrup involved (except i shouldn't have walnuts or cows milk cheese which kind of limits things sometimes... (darn you Gulab Jamun!!!).
                                                                                      The baklavas are great, cashew was especially exciting as that is a more unusual variety. The Baloria was the least sweet dessert. It was a shredded wheat looking thing and had a fine layer of nuts and less syrup. The Borma was nice and crunchy with its thicker chopped nuts. The Hareeseh is the cake. and this is suuuuuper sweet. The syrup has soaked through every pore of cakeness making it squish out with every bite. For those with a sweet tooth this is really great.

                                                                                      Also picked up some cardamom coffee and some mulberry jello. We'll see about those later.

                                                                                      Thanks for baring with me and my rambling.

                                                                                      ps: saw lots of lamb 'parts' in the back. Also small butcher shop across the street had lamb sections on hooks like an old-timey grocery store. They also seemed to be grinding the meat fresh for customers at that place.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: kairo

                                                                                        Red pepper walnut dip sounds like muhammara.

                                                                                        1. re: kairo

                                                                                          >Also picked up some cardamom coffee and some mulberry jello
                                                                                          is the mullberry jello a grocery item or a prepared food from one of the counters?

                                                                                          the mullberry juice i had a CIYA in ISTANBUL was one of my favorite drinks ever.

                                                                                        2. Drove by today, they've expanded and improved their sidewalk seating.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                            Now they just need to put some spice and pizazz into their food!

                                                                                            I have eaten there a half dozen times and everything is always bland,Milquetoast and boring no matter what I order.

                                                                                            Their sweets are nice ...but I don't really care for sweets.


                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                              Note that the sidewalk seating is apparently being used primarily for hookah smoking. I don't mind the smell of hookah smoke, but it might put some people off.