Namaste Pizza brings Indian-infused flavors to North Oakland
Namaste Pizza soft-opened quietly earlier this year in North Oakland in the space formerly occupied by Red Door Pizza who unfortunately folded. The space is small and sparsely furnished, but don’t let the simplicity of the decor deceive you. The pizza is truly one-of-kind and delicious. It’s not something that is comparable to New York style thin crust or Chicago deep dish, it’s in its own category. Described as “Indian fusion”, it’s a marriage of Indian and pizza. It’s as if a traditional Naan bread was used as the base, fortified with some extra oomph, and then Indian flavors used as the toppings.
Namaste owner Rajan Gosain is a Bay Area native and has worked in the restaurant business with a variety of cuisines since he was fourteen. He continued to work in restaurants while a student at UC Berkeley. About seven years ago, Rajan started experimenting with his favorite Indian foods and pizza for stress-relief and as a creative outlet.
Rajan never thought about actually turning this passion into an actual business until recently. Last year, he had a course designed to teach the business side of medicine. The final project was to develop a business plan, which was how Namaste Pizza was conceived. The plan was voted best in the class, further pushing Rajan to seriously consider his idea to life.
Rajan is currently living in the East Coast studying Psychiatry at Harvard and considered Boston as the first Namaste Pizza location. Rajan ultimately chose North Oakland because of its “creative nature and because it’s close to home”. Rajan took over the lease and assets from former Red Door Pizza Mike Su. Eventually, the kitchen will be upgraded for modern equipment. Rajan’s brother, Vik Gosain (below), will run the show while Rajan studies in Boston.
Namaste joins several other local pizza establishments that call Emeryville/North Oakland home … but there’s always room for more (especially when their doing something unique!). Prices are comparable to the other pizzerias with a 12-inch pizza that serves 2-3 people for $17.50 and a 14 inch that serves 3-4 for $23. The pizza is very filling and I found that a 14 inch could definitely feed four adults. Reviews on Yelp have been favorable thus far with 24 reviews averaging a 4.5 star score. Their website and app make ordering very simple, and the pizzas are ready within 15 minutes.
Rajan is especially thrilled about all the support received from the community. “It’s amazing, and I’m so thankful for all that support and for being in North Oakland specifically. It’s a really cool community, and we’re looking forward to being more involved as we move forward.”
Along with some friends, I tried the Chicken Pizza Masala, Spicy Gyro, Masala Wings and the Minty Garlic bread. Everything was great. The ingredients were fresh and the flavors complimented each other well. We all wondered why such a great pairing had not been imagined before in the East Bay. Despite the amount of pizza consumed, I woke up the next day and seriously considered having a slice for breakfast. Since the closure of Khana Khazana back in 2010, our area has been sorely lacking an Indian food establishment (Wazwan in the Public Market might be an exception). This is a nice compromise!
Namaste Pizza is planning a Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, May 9th. They will be unveiling a new pizza, with flavors radically different from their current offerings, and there will be free slices until 4pm. Namaste Pizza is also working to update the interior of the space and are planning to have upgraded tables by the opening. Namaste Pizza is also participating in Golden Gate Second Saturdays through the summer. Like their Facebook page to receive the latest updates.
Mon, Wed & Thurs (Closed Tuesday): 4pm – 9:30pm
Fri, Sat: 11am – 10:30pm
Sun: 11am – 9:30pm
Order by phone, directly from their website or through their mobile app.
- First timers can receive 15% off their order with code 15OFF.
- Use the code 2SAT on the app or web site to receive a 20% discount for pick up orders only.
- $3 charge within 3 miles. $20 minimum subtotal
- Office/Party catering orders can be placed in advance and can be delivered outside of normal business hours.
Feature Image: Shelby Pope/KQED’s Bay Area Bites