We had dined at and enjoyed Tanjia Moroccan Restaurant a few years ago with a group of friends and were eager to see the changes, as we had heard that there were new owners. Restaurateur Jamal Zahid who grew up in Casablanca and his wife Judith recently bought the restaurant from his brother and renovated the interior. They use Jamal’s mother’s family recipes and want you to experience a piece of Morocco in the Temescal in Oakland. The updated décor features a tent like ceiling with lovely hanging stylish lighting. Dining at low tables and banquettes with large pillows and ottoman seating adds to the Moroccan setting. Oil Paintings of Moroccan scenes are on the walls and Moroccan music adds to the colorful authenticity of the restaurant and gets you in the mood. On warm nights, you also have the option of sitting outside in front of the restaurant.

We chose to sit inside near the front where we could see a full view of the stylish interior. We ordered wine and began to browse the menu. The new menu features reasonably priced a la carte small plate selections, as well as two Prix Fix Dinners. Both the Prix Fix Dinners have multiple courses and combinations, so you will never be bored and you may have some leftovers to take home.

Tanjia Hummus

You must start with the warm Marinated Olives. They were delicious and we had never had them served warm before. It was a fabulous way to start our meal! The Hummus with Pita Bread was also delicious as we found it rich, lemony and not oily. We loved the piping hot Harira Soup which was a spicy lentil soup. The Moroccan Salad made with eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, tomato-roasted bell peppers which was served with home baked bread, was excellent as well. The next course was their Bastilla which are made with Phyllo dough. The Bastilla filled with chicken, egg, almonds, topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar was both sweet and spicy. The Bastilla filled with Seafood and Mushrooms topped with parsley was very fresh and flavorful.

Marinated Olives

The Entrees were all hearty portions. The Lamb and Chicken with almonds, couscous and vegetables featured lamb that was especially tender as the meat fell right off the bone. The couscous was fluffy and some of the best we has ever tasted! The other entrée that we loved was the Chicken with Prunes which was really luscious and also very tender. Another great choice a la carte/small plate was the Casablanca Shore made with Scallops and Prawns with cilantro and accompanied with vegetables. This would be an excellent choice for a lighter dinner accompanied with Hummus and Olives of course!

Tanjia Lamb and Chicken

The Global Wine list has something to please everyone with wines from Morocco, Europe, USA and South America. .We particularly enjoyed the 2008 Cedar Brook, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc with our starters. The 2003 Chateau Roslane Premier Cru Les Cotreaux de L’Atlas was a fabulous, smooth and hearty Moroccan Red Wine which paired perfectly with our entrees. This Moroccan Red competes very favorably with Napa Cabernets which are twice the price. The Dessert that we really enjoyed was the Warm Almonds with Dates and Chocolate. The combination of flavors and texture really works. Mint Tea and a 2005 Robert Hall Vintage Port was the perfect finish to a delicious, well paced, tasty and satisfying dinner.

Tanjia Almonds with Dates and Chocolate

During our dinner we enjoyed the show put on by Tatseena www.Tatseena.com the Belly Dancer. We particularly enjoyed her Sword dance and that she encouraged audience participation and many of the diners got up to dance. There was quite a bit of talent in the audience that night with good hip action. Lot’s of Fun!

The New Tanjia is an excellent Moroccan Restaurant! The cuisine, made with primarily local and organic ingredients, was a cut above and we appreciated the friendly welcoming vibe! You can find a slice of Morocco right in Oakland.

By Carol & Joe Davis, Dining Detectives

Tanjia Moroccan Restaurant

4905 Telegraph Avenue (at 51st)

Oakland, CA. 94609