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Jan 5, 2010 09:04 PM

Oakland: Holy Land - The mint lemonade is magic

I'm rating Holy Land five stars just for the lemonade. This is the first item that will be added to my top ten tastes of 2010.

The title I credit to a yelp poster because that just nails it. The poster went on to say "I think it's possible to build a religion around the Holy Land lemonade"


It is made to order ... a beautiful mint-green frothy slushie with bits of pulp and mint. Excellent. Simply excellent.

I guess this is an Israli drink. In that case Israel wins as the country with the best lemonade. It is really called lemon nana. Nana is a specific variety of mint. Here's a recipe I found.

Since it is made to order, you can tell them how sweet you would like it.

Earlier in the day I had lunch at a new Kosher Israeli restaurant in Montclair called Amba.

I tried the mint lemonade there and it was pretty weak (thought the hummus is great)

Anyway, my real reason for visiting Holy Land was to try the malawach and compare it to the version I tried at Oakland Kosher Market yesterday

Malawach is a thick fried pancake, and it consists of lots of thin layers of puff pastry. It comes with crushed tomatoes.

In the Oakland Kosher Market discussion it was compared to Malabar paratha. After this second try, I still maintain it is a latke made with puff pastry rather than potatoes. It has that same oily quality about it.

Even though Holy Land makes their own malawach, I liked the Oakland Kosher Market version better though I think it is a frozen Saba version. This was flatter and not as flakey.

The crushed tomatoes were WAY better at Holy Land. Though they were winter tomatoes, they were almost red unlike the pale pink version at Oakland Kosher Market. To draw every bit of flavor out of those tomatoes, they were highly salted and mixed with parsley.

I've never been to Holy Land before. It is really, really tiny and even with a print out from Mapquest, I had trouble finding it.

It is worth seeking out just for that lemonade which I never would have thought of trying if it wasn't for my earlier visit to Amba.

Holy Land Restaurant
677 Rand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

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  1. I've been to the Holy Land in Berkeley and Love their mint lemonade!

    1. I adore the dolmas at Holy Land. They are super-lemony and so very good. Their vegetarian soups are always great. Matzo ball soup is always a hit, at least with the kids in my family.

      1. Another fan of their lemonade here. But you need to explore more of their menu. The felafel are outstanding, as is the shwarma. I find it hard not to order their humus, felafel, and schwarma combo when I go there.

        1. I discovered their lemonade about 6 years. It's very easy to make at home. My husband and I make it w/ limes too. Not quite as good but it's a great way to use up citrus fruit at home.

          1. Actually, this restaurant is a little treasure.

            My fave choice is their salad plate -- a selection of really yummy vegetable items that vary depending on the day -- but might include: beet salad, spicy carrot salad, humus .

            Their Yemenite hot sauce -- "zhug" -- is the best I've had outside of the Middle East. And the babaganoush is perfect.