One of the great things about Mediterranean cuisine is that covers food from a variety of countries. Because Orange County is such a melting pot of cultures, it’s no surprise that you’re covered no matter what kind of Mediterranean food you crave. Here are some of the best places in the county to get your fix for Mediterranean food.
6507 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine CA 92603
Lucca is a place that uses a lot of organic ingredients to create great cuisine. If you’re looking for great cheese, this is your place, particularly because the cheese is served with fruit, nuts and bread. With cuisine including French, Italian and Greek, you’re bound to find something you like. For an excellent complete meal, start with the scallop BLT, then move to the ahi mosaic for dinner, and finish with the signature cheese and charcuterie selections. Entrees here range from $15 to $25, making it a solid place to bring a date. Oh, and the wine selection at Lucca is excellent, so you ‘ll be able to find something to drink with every course.
1976 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa CA 92627
The people at Marrakesh know how to make a dining an experience. The seating is cozy and the ambiance is very comfortable. Before you eat, the waiter brings a small dish of water to the table so you can rinse your hands. The prix-fixe dinners (the most expensive is $34.95) are excellent and while they are mostly meat entrees (lamb, chicken, quail), a vegetarian dinner ($23.95) is also available. Perhaps the best part of Marrakesh is the bellydancer who visits every table — and yes, it is rude not to tip her. All in all, if you’re looking for a great Mediterranean experience, this is a good place to visit.
Olive Pit Grill
2445 E. Imperial Highway
Brea CA 92821
Olive Pit is the place to go if you are looking for good, reasonably priced ($10 to $20) Mediterranean food in a casual atmosphere. The Olive Pit offers a variety of options, including a good selection of salads, kabobs and a la carte grilled meat (lamb, shrimp, ahi, etc.) You can get a good meal here without breaking your budget.
Zena’s Lebanese Cuisine
2094 N. Tustin St. #C2
Orange, CA 92865
The thing about going to a Lebanese place is that it can be intimidating to see the unfamiliar names of the menu items. But don’t let that scare you away. Zena’s offers everything from fried cauliflower and eggplant to whole red snapper, so you can always find something you’ll like. The prices are pretty reasonable with the filet mignon skewers and the whole red snapper ($23.95) being the most expensive things on the menu. If you’re new to Lebanese cuisine, this is the place to go because it is authentic Lebanese food.
Christakis Greek Cuisine
13011 Newport Ave.
Tustin CA 92780
Christakis is a good option because the menu is not overwhelming. You’ll see all the Greek standards: mousaka, spanakopita and chicken souvlaki as well as salmon and tilapia. Entrees are reasonably priced from $16 to $24, so you can get a quality meal without feeling that you’ve spent too much. If you go here, be sure to try the hummus.
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Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.