Tucked away in a quiet, unsuspecting shopping center just north of the Brea Mall, Dâ€™vine: A Mediterranean Experience offers an authentic, superior take on Mediterranean cuisine that stays true to its name.
From the outside, the restaurant itself is seemingly small and nondescript — it would be easily missed if just driving by. Initially, I was underwhelmed and didnâ€™t really know what to expect from such an unassuming restaurant.
I was pleasantly surprised the moment I stepped inside, as I was greeted by a cozy, dimly lit room accompanied by the smiling faces of the welcoming staff. The decor was similar to something you would find at a high end patio in some random vacation home. Filled with mod-like chairs and trendy umbrellas, the furnishing added to the classy-but-still-comfortable ambiance of the restaurant. Although the restaurant was more casual than expected, its quality food and attentive service gave it an upscale feel. To add to the exotic quality of the experience, the owner even brings in a Turkish-certified belly dancer Friday and Saturday nights.
As my friend and I sat down, the waitress started us off with pita chips accompanied by olive oil and a powdery mixture of herb seasoning. The flatbread chips were freshly made and delicious; they were perfectly crunchy with a nice fried taste, which was amazing when eaten with the seasoning. To help relieve the dryness from all the chips we were eating, the water pitcher that was given to us contained fresh mint, relaying a surprisingly crisp flavor into the water.
For the main course my friend and I both ordered the Chicken Shawarma, a popular favorite. The dish itself included grilled, thinly sliced marinated chicken with a hearty portion of rice and a choice of any side. I opted for the pita bread with hummus, which consisted of a careful combination of crushed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice. The hummus was mixed into a velvety smooth consistency, finding a nice balance between both the mild and strong flavors. As one of the main components of hummus, Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is commonly used in Middle Eastern Cuisine. The chicken was tender, moist and well-seasoned, but slightly on the saltier side. This wasnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing, as most Mediterranean food is typified by having a strong taste.
While we were eating, the Jordanian chef himself came out to greet the customers in the store. Friendly and eager to converse with customers, he even gave us advice on how to make the garlic sauce they serve. He seemed to genuinely love his job and his passion for food was unmistakable through his enthusiasm.
Overall, my experience at Dâ€™vine was charming and enjoyable due to the excellent customer service and good food. I fully recommend this place to anyone looking for quality Mediterranean cuisine that is both filling and delicious.
By Michelle Feng, Staff writer