Moroccan Restaurants in Oakland

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Though dining inside of a tent usually means charred hot dogs and ghost stories, El Morocco replaces these traditions with spectacle: entrees of entire cornish hens, ornate floor pillows, and belly dancers. A canvas ceiling shelters these displays and captures the aromas of meat and middle eastern spices as they drift from the kitchen. These scents emanate from entrees of couscous, lamb garlanded with almonds and honey, and dishes of braised hare—all part of an authentic Moroccan menu dreamed up by owner Fadil Shahin.

Fadil's love of music drives his venue's hypnotizing performances. Belly dancers sway and shimmy on Tuesday–Sunday evenings, brandishing swords and scarves to augment their choreography. Undulating instructors can even enroll students in a belly-dance showcase on the first Sunday night of each month. The "dancers' nights" provide both pros and up-and-comers with valuable stage time, allowing them to practice their eclectic skills for audiences. Fadil might regale guests with tunes on the lute-like oud, or percussion rhythms on the darbuka. In addition to entrancing regular diners, the entertainment adds glamour and festivity to group events, including weddings and crying parties.

2203 Morello Ave
Pleasant Hill,

Executive chef Donna Insalaco has more than just her two decades of experience guiding her at Beautifull. She also has the eatery’s team of advisors, which includes Dean Ornish, MD on healthcare and Dr. Christopher Gardner on diet science. Together, they draw from the extensive nutrition research gathered by members of the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute to craft meals that aren’t just designed to be healthy and fresh, but also delicious.

The science-backed crew of chefs assembles a seasonal selection of soups, sandwiches, meat-based entrees, and seafood dishes which they make with organic, antibiotic- and steroid-free ingredients from local farms when possible. Once they’ve prepared the nutritious eats, they’ll place them in eco-friendly potato-based Tater Ware packaging before serving them in a sleek, wooden-walled eatery.

816 Irving St
San Francisco,

Nopa: A User's Guide

Rustic Mediterranean Food | Local and Organic Ingredients | Wood-Fired Oven | Global Cocktails | Open Kitchen
Sample Menu
  • Snack: warm goat cheese with pickled beets and crostini
  • Entree: grass-fed hamburger with pickled onions and french fries
  • Entree (vegetarian): Moroccan vegetable tagine with almonds and yogurt
  • Dessert: meyer-lemon tart with brown-butter ice cream and candied sage
What to Drink: Nopa's list of cocktails spans the globe, featuring exotic spirits such as Nicaraguan Flor de Caña and Scottish Glenkinchie and more than 20 housemade bitters. There's also a collection of European vintages housed in a rather unique wine cellar—an old, repurposed bank vault.

Where to Sit: Rub elbows with regulars at a large communal table, where you can watch chefs stoke the flames of a wood-burning oven in the open kitchen.

When to Go: Nopa's kitchen stays open later than most—until 1 a.m.—making it the go-to place for anyone hungry after a night out.

While You're Waiting
  • Check out the mural by local artist Brian Barneclo on the wall.
  • Listen for the honeybees buzzing on the roof. Nopa's owner, Jeff Hanak, tends to a couple hives up there, harvesting the bees' floral honey for a handful of his restaurant's recipes.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Shop: Peruse handmade, beautiful, and otherwise unique jewelry, stationery, and accessories at Rare Device (600 Divisadero Street).
Move: Go for a run or soak up some prime city views at Alamo Square Park (corner of Hayes Street and Steiner Street).

If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Nopa's sister restaurant, Nopalito (306 Broderick Street), puts a local, sustainable twist on traditional Mexican cuisine.

560 Divisadero St
San Francisco,