In the last two weeks, the Emeryville Public Market welcomed two new eateries: Mama Lamees and Baby Café.
Mama Lamees, a Palestinian restaurant and caterer, is headed by Lamees Dahbour. Dahbour is an immigrant of Palestinian descent, a single mother of three, and a domestic violence survivor who worked for the United Nations helping refugees before entering the food business as a participant in La Cocina in 2015. Prior to opening at the Public Market, Dahbour ran a catering business and also popped up at events like Off the Grid. The Emeryville kiosk is her first brick-and-mortar restaurant.
As the Express reported back in May, Dahbour is especially passionate about serving Palestinian dishes not often found in Bay Area restaurants. Some of her signature appetizers include musakhan (baked pita bread topped with caramelized onions, roasted almonds, and sumac) and ejja (fritters made out of cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and onions). The menu also includes other appetizers like hummus, ful modamas (fava bean purée), and musakhan (also known as baba ghanoush) with pita. Entrée options include kebab platters and wraps stuffed with either falafel or chicken shawarma. There’s also a rotating cast of weekly specials, plus desserts like knafeh, baklava, and qatayef biljouzz (sweet dumplings with walnuts in sugar syrup).
“I’m so happy to have such an opportunity in this community food hall,” Dahbour said in a press release. “There are so many yummy Palestinian foods that are not available elsewhere in the Bay Area. Now, you can visit Mama Lamees in Emeryville and get your fill.”
Baby Café, meanwhile, is a Hong Kong-style café. The Emeryville expansion is its sixth outpost, with other locations in Alameda, Oakland, Union City, Newark, and Hayward. The menu at the Emeryville location is much more scaled-down than the restaurant’s other locations. Drinks are one of the biggest draws here — it’s the only kiosk in the Public Market currently offering boba. You’ll also find plenty of snacks to accompany your boba, like popcorn chicken and fried calamari. For entrées, choose from comfort food favorites like Hainan chicken rice, beef stew, black pepper beef, spaghetti with meat sauce and a fried egg, and curry fish fillet over spaghetti or rice.
The Emeryville Public Market is at 5959 Shellmound Street. To learn more about each restaurant, visit MamaLamees.com and BabyCafeRestaurants.com.