Located between Pho Saigon Pearl and Kona Loa Coffee, Zesty Olives Mediterranean Grill is the newest restaurant at Diamond Jamboree. In a center known for its Asian restaurants and boba stores, Zesty Olives stands out as the sole non-Asian restaurant in Diamond Jamboree, a center that has aimed to bring international fare to Irvine.
“Zesty Olives adds to the diversity in dining options at Diamond Jamboree. We hope all customers enjoy the food as much as our team does,” Amelia Swabb, director of marketing at Diamond Development Group, said. “It’s the best casual Mediterranean food we’ve tried.”
Zesty Olives is a family-owned restaurant, founded by brother and sister duo Boris Mitrev and Dessi Sarabosing, specializing in fresh and fast Mediterranean food. Their menu is split into three sections – wraps, bowls and salads, which guests can top with a protein of their choice. They also serve a variety of sides and desserts like hummus, calamari, baklava and almond cookies.
“We serve cravable and delicious Mediterranean meals inspired by traditional Greek recipes with a modern twist made fresh daily from premium ingredients,” Sarabosing said. “We feature clean and halal proteins such as grilled chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, and falafel, which are included in our delicious wraps, bowls, salads, and freshly made pastas in a cheese wheel. Our main dishes are complemented by a variety of starters and sharables such as homemade hummus, tzatziki, zesty olives, hand-cut fries, grilled veggies, mezze platters, and halloumi fries.”
Sarabosing shared that Zesty Olives is dedicated to serving healthy dishes and that the Mediterranean diet is already extremely healthy. She also said that many of their meals satisfy “a variety of diet plans including vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, and gluten free.” A couple of reasons that their food is extra healthy is that it’s locally sourced and never frozen, ensuring the freshness of all their ingredients.
When I visited, I was struck by the restaurant’s bright and clean interior and its cute decorations like fairy lights strung across the ceiling and a photo wall towards the back of the restaurant, featuring a neon sign reading “Olive you.” The co-owner Mitrev immediately greeted me from the grill, where he was cooking some chicken. After perusing the menu, I ordered a lamb wrap, falafel wrap, and beef bowl.
The wraps were delicious, especially when compared to other pita wraps I’ve had in the past. They both came with hummus and tzatziki sauce, so they were consistently moist and flavorful throughout. Additionally, they came with a wider variety of vegetables than the average pita wrap and came with lettuce, purple cabbage, red bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes. The bowls here are a great option for those seeking a healthy meal. It comes with your choice of protein, a refreshing salad, rice, and grilled vegetables that add both a fresh and savory punch to the meal. The wraps and bowl also came with three sauces on the side – hummus, tzatziki, and a hot sauce, which was surprisingly spicy and paired well with the wraps.
What impressed me the most about Zesty Olives was the attentive and friendly service. Initially, Mitrev had told me my food would take about 10 minutes, but when it ended up taking longer than expected, he threw in a bonus dish of falafel and fries. As I walked back to my car, he ran after me, calling out that he wanted to give me some pita as well. I appreciated the thoughtful touches and generosity that the team at Zesty Olives showed.
In addition to their wraps and bowls, Sarabosing said guests cannot miss out on their halloumi fries.
“A truly unique dish, which we are bringing straight from Europe is the halloumi fries,” Sarabosing said. “They are keto and super delicious. But mind, they are not fries. Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened cheese made from goat, sheep, and cow milk. Since it has a high melting point and can easily be fried or grilled, it is a popular meat and fries substitute. We serve it with pomegranate seeds, mint, and gourmet yogurt dipping sauce.”
To celebrate their Irvine opening, Zesty Olives is offering a 20% discount for to-go and dine-in orders over $30 and for catering orders of over 10 people for the month of January.
Zesty Olives is open from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.