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New Food Review: Dyafa



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Photo by Chanda M. yelp.com

From opening Reem’s California—a modest counter-service café in the Fruitvale district—in August 2017 to debuting Dyafa—a splashy Arabic restaurant in the heart of Jack London Square—eight months later, chef Reem Assil’s rise has been truly meteoric. On our visit, we watched her flip crispy chickpea pancakes and discovered why Dyafa (Arabic for “hospitality”) is so named. We ate with our hands, using warm, puffy pita to scoop up the creamiest eggplant spread—smoky and tangy—folding those crunchy, thin chickpea pancakes to hold a pristine lamb tartare cleverly spiked with charred cinnamon. Our bowl of soufflélike fried potatoes doused with harissa was pure comfort food, while sweet alabaster squid stuffed with freekeh (a supergrain) spelled refinement. The stunning platters of whole fish and sumac-spiced chicken parading by offered a convincing reason to come back. 44 Webster St., Oakland, (510) 250-9491, dyafaoakland.com. Lunch Tues.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sat. $$

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