Mica Talmor in front of the Piedmont Ave. location of her forthcoming venture, Pomella (Photo/Alix Wall)
Mica Talmor in front of the Piedmont Ave. location of her forthcoming venture, Pomella (Photo/Alix Wall)

Israeli joint Ba-Bite reopening as Pomella in Oakland; AL’s Deli bringing Israeli street food to the Mission

Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.


Ba-Bite, the Israeli restaurant on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue that closed due to a landlord dispute last August, is coming back in a new incarnation, called Pomella, with a planned opening this fall. It will move into the former Chow Oakland space, a three-minute walk from the old Ba-Bite, and will share the large space with fast-casual Mexican place Dona and one more to-be-named tenant.

Chef-owner Mica Talmor will move her catering operation there and plans to open in September, first as a market offering packaged foods that can be preordered online, and then (hopefully) in November as a fast-casual restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating.

Ba-Bite developed a cult following in its three-plus years before closing in August 2018. Many food critics and Israeli expats thought it had some of the best hummus in the Bay Area, but it was also known for its meal-size salads, wraps, sheep’s cheese-stuffed falafel, mejadara and other dishes. Talmor will bring all of these favorites back, along with event catering. Eventually, Pomella will offer seasonal Jewish holiday foods like brisket, chopped liver and gefilte fish.

Talmor’s partner in Ba-Bite, Robert Gott, who was more the face of the restaurant since Talmor spent most of her time in an off-site commissary kitchen, has moved in a different direction and plans to work in hospice care.

“This feels like a junction between fate and opportunity, it has that ‘meant to be’ kind of feeling, like this is where we’ve been going,” said Talmor, an Israeli native who has called the Bay Area home for over two decades. “I’m being given an amazing opportunity to come back to Piedmont Avenue and to my community, while being able to do it over and better.”

She plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help with opening expenses and is being helped out by Hebrew Free Loan of San Francisco.

Sign up at pomellaoakland.com to receive email updates, or follow her on Instagram @pomellaoakland.


AL’s Deli bringing Israeli street food to the Mission

AL’s Deli, which will offer chef Aaron London’s spins on Israeli street food and Jewish deli, is opening July 17, Eater SF reported. London has a Michelin star for AL’s Place, his flagship Mission District restaurant that consistently has been ranked a best restaurant across the country since opening in 2015. Jewish food lovers certainly will want to try his brisket and falafel, inspired by his travels in Israel and by living in Montreal, where he frequented Schwartz’s Deli. Stay tuned for a full report. AL’s Deli is at 598 Guerrero St. at the corner of 18th Street, S.F. Check out the full menu at SFist.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."