Doukkala is a new California-Morrocan restaurant located in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood that opened in May. The menu focuses on local farm-fresh organic ingredients and high quality meats and seafood prepared using French techniques by Executive Chef Eric Lanvert. Lanvert is former chef and owner of a number of San Francisco eateries, such as Rue Saint Jacques and Cote Sud.
Patrick and I were invited to be guests of the house and had dinner at Doukkala on a Friday at 6 p.m. We arrived when it was empty but it quickly filled up within the hour. Our waiter, Michael, was awesome and helpful. He made the experience very pleasant and made sure that we were taken care of.
The cooking techniques and creative use of spices make this restaurant most notable and worth the visit alone. Our dining experience across the board was fantastic. The food is flavorful and delicious - and it makes me crave for more.
Owner Jamal Zahid named the restaurant after a region in Morocco known for its agricultural fertility and coastal fishing towns. The front of the house operations and beverage program are overseen by General Manager Purnima Khandhadai.
When you walk into the restaurant, you will first notice the golden silk canopy draping the ceiling, ornate handcrafted Moroccan lanterns, sconces and hanging lights. The restaurant is alluring and inviting with an eclectic design that showcases Moroccan's old world charm. The seats are engaging and comfortable, making it a a great place to have a comfortable and intimate conversation. There's also a lounge area with room for 15 more and features the low seating style of Casablanca.
We were greeted with a glass of rose and then went on to a very refreshing and well-made sangria.
Bread & Butter
I typically avoid eating bread at restaurants because I don't want to get full from it but this bread was too good to pass up. The bread had a pull-apart biscuit quality to it. The unique butter served was off-the-charts, consisting of lemon, turmeric, cumin, and coriander.
The bread was best used to mop up the remaining butter from our escargots. The suggestion from our host was spot on! It was a rich delight that made us very happy.
Escargots (Half: $5 / Full: $10)
If you've never had snails before, this is the place that will make you fall in love with them. The snails are braised in a marrakech-style mint & spice broth, completely drenched in delicious butter. The escargots represent the perfect marriage between French and Moroccan food. This dish alone makes me want to eat here every week. It's the best escargot that I've ever had.
Moroccan Salad Trio ($7.50)
If you appreciate vegetables, you will love the salad trio. The trio consists of roasted eggplant and fava beans, confit local tomatoes & mendocino peppers, carrots and cucumbers.
I enjoyed all three but loved the brightness and flavors of fresh confit tomatoes the best. I would highly recommend getting this as a starter.
Maple Leaf Duck Breast ($24)
The seared maple leaf duck breast is stuffed with olives, mushrooms, and Moroccan spices then finished in a fig sauce. There's a layer of fatty skin on the duck which made for a nice sear but the meat was a tiny bit tough to chew. The dish overall was very tasty.
Marin Beef Cheeks Tagine (Half: $12/Full: $24)
The beef cheek tagine was lovely and rich. The cuts had a nice gelatinous fatty texture, which is expected when you order a cheek dish. The meat was tender enough to melt in your mouth.
We ended our meal with a trio of creme brûlée selections. From left to right is vanilla, pistachio, and rose. The custard was rich and velvety with a crisp caramelized sugar shell. If you're a fan of creme brûlée, you will not be disappointed.
Our dining experience at Doukkala was absolutely lovely and the food is a perfect marriage between Moroccan and French cuisine. While our meal was complimentary, the price points are extremely reasonable for the quality, portion size, and thought put into creating the food. I would highly recommend eating here and look forward to my visit back.
Thanks for dinner, Doukkala!
4905 Telegraph Avenue, CA
- Tuesday - Sunday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Saturday: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.