Zatar’s food is prepared in the old world tradition of connecting food with nature; for them, the preparation of a dish begins with the planting of a seed. In their terraced, sunny, hillside backyard in South Oakland, they cultivate many of the herbs, vegetables and fruits used in the restaurant’s kitchen.

chickenPomegranates, plums, pears, figs, persimmons, grapes, apricots, mulberries, cherries, and raspberries occupy the top of the hill, while the rest is divided into vegetable terraces. Herbs and flowers are planted throughout, attracting an abundance of hummingbirds and bees (excellent for pollination!).

This is the main reason the restaurant has the unpopular, limited hours of being open Wednesday through Saturday only. However, regular diners know that Kelly and Waiel will open the restaurant for special parties of ten or more any day of the week.

The Majid’s also raise chickens for fresh eggs. In addition to organic produce, they only use naturally-raised meats, fresh, organic, free-range chicken from Sonoma, organic milk for their house-made yogurt and cheeses, organic extra virgin olive oil, and any other sustainably produced ingredients they can get their hands on. Ingredients not raised in the garden are hand-selected in order to ensure the highest possible quality.

Ingredients not raised in the garden are hand-selected in order to ensure the highest possible quality.

Upon opening the restaurant, the Majid’s expanded their organic home garden to help supply the restaurant’s kitchen. Although much of the produce has always come from the garden, the Majid’s neglected advertising this fact because they always thought of cooking in the restaurant as an extension of cooking for their family. When diners would ask, “How do you get such fresh vegetables?” they would tell them about the garden.

Customers’ enthusiasm inspired the Majids to share the garden. Now people come to them for garden advice, they share seeds and extra produce and even invite long-time regulars interested in seeing the garden to their annual family garden party.