This little gem of a restaurant is located off the beaten track in Anaheim, California. Not really close to Disney or the Honda Center where the Anaheim Ducks play, one wouldn’t typically detour to the Yorba Linda, California area. I on the other hand am here several times a year as that’s where our office is. Rosine’s Mediterranean Cafe is a must stop on each trip.
Rosine’s Mediterranean Cafe
721 S Weir Canyon Rd
Anaheim, CA 92808
Opened in 1995 by home trained chef Rosine Najarian, this restaurant specializes in her Syrian and Lebanese influenced home cooked food. A splendid menu of broad, bold and rich items. Ah the garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper and spices! A true party in your mouth for sure. And then there’s the wine selection, a wide array of unique wines from around the world including the owner’s homeland of Lebanon.
Alright so let’s discuss the atmosphere, service and food….
The atmosphere is simple and quaint. A recent expansion into the building next door offers a good amount of seating and options for hosting functions. With an open kitchen and most of the seating nearby, it provides an intimate environment for diners at this family run establishment. It is located in a strip mall next to a Subway, with limited parking out front, but near unlimited parking behind the strip mall as it shares the parking lot with a grocery store and other stores and restaurants. Walking in this dim lit restaurant, you are welcomed by one of their servers dressed in black where you’ll be sat at one of the small wood tables. Usually there isn’t much of a wait, if any at all. Typically most of the people waiting in the entrance are awaiting their to-go pickup orders. They have a small stage in the dining area for someone to play some music. Although that may add to the atmosphere of this culinary escape, I do enjoy the quite mood of the place when dining and having a glass of wine.
Whether you eat in or order take out, the service is prompt and friendly. They are happy to have you relax and enjoy your meal, wine or desert. So the service is really good. Maybe it’s because I eat alone usually, but when I go I really love their Muhammara, aka ‘Walnut Caviar’. So I always order a side of it. It’s happened a few times where one server will bring me the starter portion of it, which is a lot of food. I’m not sure if it’s a nonchalant up sale or not since it’s a few bucks more, so just specify you want the side portion if you order that or any of the other yummy sides. Still always good service though as they keep the glasses full and are timely in bringing the check.
The menu is very diverse and unique, with menu options that really do transport you to the Mediterranean. Beginning with the starters, they have a wide selection of cold and hot starters that can suite any taste bud. But if you aren’t alone, check out one of their cold and hot mezzeh’s for a good sample of their middle eastern tapas starters. You have the Chilled Mezzeh containing hummus (chickpea dip, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil), tabbouleh (diced parsley salad, chopped tomato, green onion, bulgur, lemon dressing), baba ghannouj (fire-roasted eggplant dip with extra virgin olive oil), muhammara (walnuts, hot pepper paste, pomegranate molasses – my favorite), and sarma (stuffed rolled grape leaves, herbed rice, toasted onion) for $14.90. Or the Hot Mezzeh containing cheese böreg, meat böreg, kebbeh, and falafel for $16.90. You also get pita bread to start, which is good, but it’s right out of the bag so nothing special. You can see their famous rotisserie chickens in the window when you walk into the restaurant (half for $12.50). Their chicken is very good, not too dry on the inside and full of seasonings on the outside from their proprietary rub. Other menu items I really enjoy are the kababs, which you can get for chicken, lamb or beef. Sometimes they can be a little overcooked though, which is easy to do when cooking kababs or if they sit too long under the heat lamp before serving, but still flavorful and divine with some garlic sauce on them. I usually order either falafals or one of their two lamb menu options like the Grilled Lamb Chops with pomegranate and vegetable reduction or the Lamb Shank with juice of red wine, garlic rosemary. Both for $23.95. They are very good, with the shank as my favorite. The chops tend to be medium-well by the time I get them, so a tad overcooked from how I like them, but still very good with their complex lamb rub. Their ratatouille is very flavorful as well, so that makes a hearty, but extremely satisfying side. They tend to put on the side of each plate a few slices of their pickled turnips, which strong bitter, sour taste but nicely contradicts the other flavors on the plate. Combine any of the above hearty stomach fillers with a side of their garlic sauce, you’ve got a happy belly for sure.
- Atmosphere = B (local, in strip mall, lots of parking, stage for a band?) Note: Updated on 12/30/2012 because of increased seating.
- Service = B+ (quick, friendly unnecessary up-sale)
- Food = A- (good menu, tasty food, garlic sauce, bought pita bread and little overcooked food sometimes)
Note: This article was updated on 12/30/2012