The Olives Branch restaurant is a bit of a hidden gem if you are looking for freshly prepared, authentic Lebanese food. Located in San Juan Capistrano on Rancho Viejo rd., it is a tucked away from the bustle of the San Juan Capistrano Mission District, with plenty of parking available.
I am always sure to start dinner with a sampler of some of the many mezze on the menu. The hummus, falafel, kibbe and baba ganouj are all standouts and some of the best I have tasted in Orange County. The spicy potatoes and crispy cheese rolls are worth the indulgence.
For the main course, you can’t go wrong with beef and lamb shawarma, chicken shawarma or filet kebab served with fluffy basmati rice, creamy hummus, warm pita, and roasted tomato. There are also plenty of seafood and vegetarian options as well. The interior is warm and inviting, perfect for an intimate dinner for two but also capable of handling large parties. The outdoor hookah lounge and front side patio fills quickly on Saturday nights when they feature live music and a belly dancing performance. Don’t skip the baklava ice cream for dessert. Creamy vanilla ice cream is blended with chunks of homemade baklava to make a nutty, crunchy, honey- rippled concoction that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts.
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