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Restaurant Watch: Oakland's Restaurant Week, New Pizza Spot on College, Homestead on Piedmont Ave.

And two old favorites are closing: Zatis on Piedmont Avenue and Caffee Venezia in Berkeley.

Oakland's third annual Restaurant Week kicks off today and runs through Jan. 27, with prix fixe menus at $20, $30, and $40 at more than 40 participating restaurants. Reservations are highly recommended. Among the nearby eateries taking part: Amba in Montclair, Barlata Tapas Bar on Telegraph Avenue, Bay Wolf on Piedmont Avenue, Bellanico and Marzano on Park Boulevard, Camino and Grand Tavern on Grand Avenue, Montclair's Italian ColorsRumbo al Sur on Park Boulevard, The Terrace Room at the Lake Merritt Hotel, Toast on College Avenue and Yayu Ethiopian Restaurant on Lakeshore Avenue. For more information and a complete list of participating restaurants, see visitoakland.com.

Zatis Restaurant at 4029 Piedmont Ave. will close at the end of January, to be replaced this spring by Homestead, according to Berkeleyside. No word on whether Zatis' olive oil, imported from Turkey, will still be available. Proprietors of the new restaurant, Fred and Elizabeth Sassen (he worked at Camino) say they will be serving the kidns of food chefs eat at home.

Also from Berkeleyside, Jules Thin Crust Pizza is scheduled to open in March at 5804 College Ave., Oakland, the former home of Las Palmas. That's just across the street from local favorite Zachary's Chicago Pizza. Jules already has a location in Danville, if you want to sample the wares before the Rockridge outlet opens. Update: We originally reported that the College Avenue Jules Thin Crust Pizza was a franchise. According to Heather Clapp, one of the owners of the new pizzeria, "We are not a franchise. Our first location is in Danville and we opened almost 3 years ago (we opened there because there weren't any spaces available at the time in Rockridge or Piedmont Ave.). We partnered with very good friends of ours to bring Jules Thin Crust to California. Our friends, Jan and John Ordway, who live in Pennsylvania, are the Founders of Jules (it is named after their daughter). We have been very connected to the concept since before we signed a partnership." 

KQED's Bay Area Bites talks with restauranteur and author Shelley Lindgren about the new branch of A16 restaurant scheduled to open on College Avenue later this year. Read the interview here.

Caffe Venezia, the restaurant at 1799 University Ave., Berkeley, that has become an institution for local residents, will close later this year, according to a press release issued by the current owners Jan. 16. The iconic restaurant decorated with laundry lines and a fountain has been a popular spot for everything from business lunches to family celebrations for 33 years.

According to the press release, the restaurant is being sold and a new concept will take over the space at 1799 University Ave. The exact closing date is still to be determined, but is expected to be in the next few months. Classic Venezia dishes — Puttanesca, Rustica, Pollo Affumicato, Carciofi, Carbonara and more — will continue to be featured on the menu, the release said.

According to the owners, special events to mark the restaurant's closure are being planned. They will include a ‘Farewell to Venezia’ Opera Night, featuring singers from Berkeley’s West Edge Opera.

Will you miss Zatis and Caffe Venezia? What local restaurant would you miss most if it closed? Tell us in the comments section below.

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