Tag Archives: oakland

Restaurant Review: Awazi Kitchen – Oakland

Gored Gored

My daughter was home for the weekend from college and she wanted Ethiopian for dinner. I decided to give Awazi Kitchen a try because it was rather new and got great reviews on Yelp. It was fine, though not special enough to make me eager to come back.

The restaurant is located in downtown Oakland, next to what used to be Le Cheval. It has a large square room, with socially distanced tables. It was completely empty at 5 PM on a Saturday. This would be a good place to go with a crowd, as it has the space and at least at that time, you wouldn’t have to worry about sharing air with customers outside your group (I’m writing this review during the pandemic).

Their menu is pretty straightforward and serves the usual Ethiopian dishes you can get at most Ethiopian restaurants. You can order online and you can specify how you want your dishes made – I asked for two to be made mild and they complied.

Kik Alicha

We ordered the Kik Alicha (yellow split peas in a mild sauce, $13.3), the Gored Gored (beef cubes in sauce – $16.6) and the Meat Combo ($18), which included Doro Wot, Yebeg Alicha & Beef Wot. All the meals came with cooked vegetable sides and plenty of injera. I’d bought another portion of injera just in case, but it was completely unnecessary.

Both my husband and daughter were happy enough with their dishes – which tasted pretty much like you would expect. The wots were far less spicy than at other Ethiopian restaurants, however. The portions were generous and they both had leftovers.

I was less happy with my gored gored. Now, this is usually a raw meat dish, but in the menu description at Awazi Kitchen it said you could have it rare or medium-rare. I chose medium-rare but what I got was raw meat. I don’t necessarily have a problem with raw meat, but the beef cubes were too tough and chewy to be able to be eaten raw. If you are going to do a raw dish, you really need to use very tender meat – this wasn’t it. Fortunately, I was able to solve this problem by transferring the meat to a pot, adding some water and simmering it for about 10 minutes. It was pretty good then, but I would not order this dish again at Awazi Kitchen.

Awazi Kitchen
1009 Clay St
(510) 817-4155

City Center Grill – Oakland – Review

We went to the City Center Grill for lunch a couple of weeks ago when we took place in an Occupy Oakland protest (as you can see, these protests do bring business to nearby eateries, we saw several cops eating around as well).  As it was in the weekend, our choices for lunch were limited.  Unfortunately, City Center Grill wasn’t a good one.

City Center Grill offers breakfast, burgers, sandwiches and salads.  We went for the cheeseburgers, $7.50 with French Fries and a small drink.  The fries were OK, but the burgers left much to be desired.  I don’t think we even finished them, even though they were pretty small for the price.  The fries were good, however.

Service (this is a place where you order at the counter) was very friendly.  Still, I wouldn’t go back.

City Center Grill

1221 Broadway, #105
Oakland, CA
M – F 6:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews


Zachary’s Pizza – Review

Zachary’s Pizza has, without doubt, the best pizza in the Bay Area. Indeed, probably the world. I’ve never really had pizza in Chicago (whose pizza Zachary’s tries to imitate), but I just can’t imagine how it could be any better.

Zachary’s offers two types of pizza: thin and stuffed. I have never had the thin pizza and I never will (that would seem to me to be a waste of a visit to Zachary’s), so I can’t comment about it. The stuffed pizza, however, is heavenly. What you get is more a cheese pie than a pizza. A bottom layer of dough is covered with tons of cheese (but I always order extra-cheese anyway) and toppings and then topped by another layer of dough. This whole thing is covered by stewed tomatoes. The description, however, doesn’t do justice to the result. You really need to try it to know why it rocks.

Zachary’s has two locations, one on Solano in North Berkeley and the other in Rockridge. They both have an eat-in section which are fairly nice. The walls tend to be decorated with children’s drawings of Zachary’s pizza. Getting a table is usually very hard, specially during peak eating hours. You have to be prepared to wait (or go, put your name down and stroll through the neighborhood). They don’t take reservations, but you can pre-order your pizza when you put your name down, so that it’s ready once you your table is ready.

What we usually do is get take-out (Zachary’s doesn’t deliver, it also doesn’t take credit cards, it’s a cash-only place). We live a 20-minute drive away from the closest Zachary’s (the one in Rockridge) but the pizza is still warm by the time we get it here. My favorite pizza is the plain cheese (with extra cheese), though last time we had one with Canadian bacon and pineapple that was also very yummy. Mike prefers the ones with toppings. His favorite is the Mexican chorizo, a spicy pizza with green chiles and Monterrey Jack cheese. We had both of these last Thursday night and we were all very pleased. A large pizza has 8 slices. We usually each eat two slices for dinner or one for lunch.

It usually takes 40 minutes for the pizza to be ready so order accordingly. I’ve found that the leftovers microwave well, but make sure not to overheat it. I use 2 minutes on high but I have an old microwave.

2011 Update It’s been 20 years since we started going to Zachary’s pizza (and 7 years since my review) and Zachary’s continues to make wonderful, delicious stuffed pizza. From time to time they add more varieties to their menu and prices, of course, go up.  Last night we had their Carne stuffed crust pizza ($28 for a large), which comes with Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, chopped bacon and mozzarella. It wasn’t my favorite.  There were too many toppings, they were too salty altogether, and they didn’t let the flavor of the cheese shine through.  It was still a great pizza, but not as good as their plain cheese pizza (still my fave).  Zachary’s has added a new location in San Ramon now, which we haven’t been to. They take reservations there.

Zacchary’s Pizza
5801 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Sun-Thur: 11am-10pm
Fri-Sat : 11am-10:30

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews