Like many of Oakland’s East African coffee shops, this Eritrean-run spot serves a hybridized menu — Eritrean breakfast and lunch specialties such as kitcha fitfit and Eritrean-style frittata (a kind of light egg scramble) in addition to a neighborhood coffee shop’s typical array of bagels and sandwiches. The must-order dish is the shihan phool, a fava bean dip that’s distinguished by its abundance of fresh toppings, which are arranged on the bowl like little smears of color in an abstract painting — the green of the finely chopped jalapeño, the red of the tomato, and the white of the raw onion and the crumbled feta cheese. Scoop it up with pieces of crusty French bread. Located directly across the street from the Temescal branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles, this cafe bustles in a way that few of today’s self-serious third- and fourth-wave coffee shops do, and the trellis-covered front patio is one of the area’s most pleasant places to linger.

— Luke Tsai

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