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Basic and Tasty: Alameda’s Tahina gives Mediterranean cuisine motivated by a California aesthetic | East Bay Categorical

The illustration of a dazzling yellow lemon slice adorns the indication earlier mentioned Tahina, a new tenant in the Alameda Marketplace. Rumtin Rahmani opened this “fresh Mediterranean” takeout place fewer than two months in the past with his sister Talayeh Rahmani and his girlfriend Rochelle Nasab. On my very first take a look at, the girl in front of me announced she was a returning client. I could hear the anticipation in her voice when she picked up her lunch purchase. Rahmani has go through the Market room ideal.

That individual corner, where Tahina now resides, has struggled to keep a organization in position since 2013, when East Finish moved its pizza oven upcoming doorway. From its redesigned interior to the foodstuff itself, Rahmani and his partners evidently broke that regrettable spell of undercooked ideas. Tahina buzzes with activity on equally sides of the counter. Cashiers just take and bag orders, or pull cold drinks—from the Moroccan mint tea to the pomegranate lemonade coolers. Prep cooks assemble falafel pitas, chicken shawarma and mezze plates, whilst people in line hungrily stare at the baggage of goodies remaining handed out.

“We’re not trying to do something much too fancy,” Rahmani states. “We just want to hold it very simple and tasty—healthy, California-influenced food stuff.” Which is how Tahina differs, at any time so marginally, from other Mediterranean places to eat. Their falafel is a vivid, dim-eco-friendly coloration on the within, insistently herb-ahead. Rahmani said that when they place the menu together, it was essential that the falafel shouldn’t be dry. “One of the keys to performing that was to use fresh new herbs like parsley,” he states. Tahina also can make the entire falafel combine from scratch. Because feeding on a falafel sandwich can be problematic when the pouch of pita bread is parched and papery, Tahina sensibly sources its pillowy pitas from a Sacramento bakery. This thoughtful determination makes their variation a standout.

“The natural beauty of getting in a position to use the term ‘Mediterranean,’” Rahmani suggests, “is to be in a position to give tastes and flavors from so a lot of unique countries—Greece, Lebanon, Turkey.” Rahmani and his sister ended up born in California, but their mother and father are from Iran. “We make saffron rice and some of our marinades are Persian-encouraged,” he claims. “I required to concentrate on and compile what I felt was the most effective of almost everything.” The California twist will come by way of when they add avocado to a bowl of quinoa tabouli or a mouth watering side dish like cilantro hummus.

Tahina is Rahmani’s to start with food stuff-only cafe. For the past 16 many years, he’s owned a loved ones-operate organization identified as The Beanery, a espresso shop in another corner of the Alameda Marketplace. “I commenced introducing a few Mediterranean items above the years, tests them out,” he states. When customers responded favorably to the dishes, Rahmani felt self-assured ample to go after Tahina individually. A self-taught chef and self-declared foodie, he’s cooked at property for lots of several years for his close friends and spouse and children.

Rahmani admits that his landlord warned him that the area has “had troubles above the a long time.” But he had a eyesight for the room, “to bring it back again to lifestyle.” He also factors out that due to the fact Market stalwarts East Conclusion and Really feel Good Bakery both expanded from the exact very same region, “I knew there was probable.”

Tahina has also stepped in to proper a longstanding omission from the many shops and storefronts. Baron’s High-quality Meats & Seafood is an fantastic resource for pork chops, beef and fish. Elephantine-sized bowls of salad can be experienced at Greens & Grains. And Come to feel Excellent Bakery’s bread loaves and pastries do, in truth, make you experience excellent. Ice product, even so, has never designed it to the social gathering. Rahmani corrected that appalling oversight with the addition of a frozen yogurt equipment. “We felt the Greek frozen yogurt was correct because it has probiotics,” he claims. They use the very same yogurt for their savory-sauce do the job. With flavors like honey, bitter cherry and baklava crumble, Rahmani’s happy with the “amazing” response to the yogurt, and to the food items.

“I’m grateful to be in this Alameda community,” he says. “Having been at The Beanery for so very long, and to see individuals remaining satisfied that we’re right here, I wake up sensation blessed to be doing what I’m executing.”

Tahina, 1650 Park St., Alameda. Open up Monday to Saturday, 11am to 3pm. 510.227.5457. tahinafreshmed.com