Conflict Kitchen Review – International Cuisine in Oakland

Last Updated on May 31, 2017 by Angie

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Conflict Kitchen closed in May 2017.

Conflict Kitchen in Pittsburgh Conflict Kitchen is a unique concept restaurant that features food from countries that are in conflict with the US. When you think about it, food is one of the best ways to get to know a culture and also a great way to start breaking down barriers between people, so a concept restaurant of this nature is a great way to get a conversation going.

We have been fans of Conflict Kitchen since its very early days, back when the focus was more political than gastronomic. We remember when the food was just so-so and the options were limited to one or two snacks. Having recently visited the Cuban iteration of Conflict Kitchen, we can happily say that the restaurant has really evolved and come into its own. You can now order a whole feast from the food stand, and the authenticity and quality of the food is fantastic.

More Options Than Two People Can Eat

Storefront of Conflict Kitchen

On our recent visit we tried a little bit of everything. We started with two entrees, the ropa vieja and the lechon asado. The ropa vieja tasted like a pretty traditional beef stew with a strong tomato flavor. We preferred the lechon asado, very tender and well-seasoned slow-roasted pork. All entrees come with black beans and rice as well as a basic cabbage and tomato salad.

We of course also had to check out some of the sides, including the tostones and the empanada de picadillo. Having traveled all over Latin America and probably eating our weight in tostones, we can confidently say these tostones were some of the best we've ever had. They were perfectly thin and crispy and were sprinkled with a salty, spicy seasoning. They also came with a tangy, citrusy, intensely garlicky mojo sauce. The empanada de picadillo was also delicious. The dough was thin and flaky, and the meat filling had a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and piquant flavors from the raisins, beef, and olives.

Cuban Food at Conflict Kitchen in Oakland

You Have to Try the Cuban Dessert

It would have been easy to go home stuffed after that, but we didn't stop there. The desserts sounded too tempting so we had to try the empanada de guayaba y queso. As weird as it sounds, it was probably our favorite thing on the menu. A flaky empanada dough surrounded a simultaneously sweet and savory filling of guava jam and cream cheese. Oddly enough, it reminded us of crab rangoon dipped in duck sauce. That may not sound very delicious, but trust us, it was amazing.

Our best piece of advice for eating at Conflict Kitchen is to go with a group of people, order a little bit of everything, and share it family style.

After reading the food wrappers printed with interviews with Cuban-Americans, we left with happy stomachs and a better understanding of Cuban culture (and a not-so-secret hope that we can visit later this year thanks to strengthened political ties).

We really believe in Conflict Kitchen's concept and are happy that the attention to detail in the food now matches the attention to detail to its political and cultural mission.

Conflict Kitchen closed in May 2017.

Looking for more things to do in Oakland? Check out the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning, make a visit to Phipps Conservatory, or spend the day walking around Schenley Park!

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