Last Friday afternoon, my coworker pings me and tells me I should try Ba Bite on Piedmont Avenue. Whenever anyone gives me a recommendation, I start doing some research. I googled Ba Bite, found their website, and was immediately impressed. Yes, I was impressed by their website. The design is modern and clean with a pretty logo of a pomegranate. The web pages are well organized and included welcoming photos. I was intrigued.
When you enter Ba Bite, you walk into a casual environment where you order your food at the counter, get a number, and find a seat in the other room. The restaurant was almost full, but there were a few tables with reserved signs on it, one of which was ours.
We spent a few minutes reviewing the menu board and strategizing what we would order. It was nice to easily agree on our food choices.
We went with the classic hummus plate. Ba Bite makes homemade hummus with California organic garbanzo beans; and the classic version is prepared with olive oil and pine nuts. It comes with pita bread and a lovely edition of pickled vegetables and olives. The hummus was very smooth and delicious. My favorite hummus comes from Oren’s in Palo Alto, but this one definitely comes in at a very close second.
The salad we chose was the full squash salad which was like a fun playground with the variety of ingredients. It came with arugula, butternut squash, cranberry, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, scallion, shaved Manchego cheese, and pomegranate vinaigrette. This flavorful and healthy dish also offered many wonderful textures.
Majadera is a Middle Eastern dish containing rice, lentils, and meat and dates back centuries to the Medieval Arab World. At Ba Bite, the dish is topped with fried onion, yogurt sauce, and pine nuts. You can either have it as a vegetarian dish or with your choice of meat. We chose to have it with eggplant and I was so happy we did. The strips of eggplant had the best cook on them; they were tender and had an awesome char.
In the past several years, I have become very fond of lamb. We ordered the lamb kefta kebob which is made with ground lamb, herbs, spices, pine nuts, and yogurt sauce. The kebob had a nice crust on it and offered a wonderful symphony of exotic flavors.
Ba Bite is a great addition to Piedmont Avenue as well as the City of Oakland. I definitely see this as my new “go to” restaurant for Middle Eastern cuisine.