The Olive Restobar Food Review

Katherine Portillo, Photographer

Starting as a small hole in the wall fast food restaurant, The Green Olive, a family-owned business, opened up a second location called “The Olive Restobar,” a little over 4 years ago. This Resto Bar is located in the pit Downey Promenade.


The Olive Restobar, a Mediterranean restaurant was first founded by Sam and Guadalupe Sarofeem. Sam started off as a dishwasher for a different restaurant chain, when his best friend started convincing him to open his own restaurant. Sarofeem finally agreed after deciding he wanted to “live the American Dream” for him and his family.


Sarah Sarofeem, 9, daughter of Sam and Guadalupe, shared her feelings on the newly opened Resto Bar. “My family was offered a place at the Promenade, we were so thankful,’’ Sarofeem said. “I’m always helping out [at The Olive Restobar], you can catch me peeling potatoes in the back or helping upfront at the hostess counter.”


As we drove up to Downey Promenade, my parents and I found no problem finding a place to park. We approached the hostess counter and we were very nicely greeted and seated immediately in the outdoor dining area of the restaurant. Once we were seated, we were brought our three waters and asked if we wanted any appetizers. We decided on a calamari platter. While we waited, one of the owners of this chain passed by and I asked if I could have a quick moment with him regarding the restaurant.


Co-owner of The Olive, Rami Nasser, spoke about his feelings on Downey based chain  “[This restaurant] is our baby, we take care of it from the moment we open to the moment we lock it up at night, we are always here because of the passion we have for it,” Nasser stated. “By far, my favorite dish here is “the olive lamb shank”, the lamb is slowly raised to the point where it is so soft that you are even able to eat it with a spoon.”


Once our calamari arrived, so did the pita bread along with their “special sauce.’  My dad especially is a huge fan of calamari so everywhere we go we try it. By far, the calamari at this Mediterranean restaurant was the best I have ever tried. The outer layer of the seafood was fried to perfection and not overly breaded in any way. The actual seafood itself was delicious as well, it was the right amount of chewy, yet still crunchy thanks to the breaded layer. 


The pita bread was different than I had tried anywhere else. When it arrived, it was almost in the shape of a perfect sphere. Pulling off a piece I immediately noted the soft inner layer and the firm outer layer, this contrast made for an amazing bite. I then tried the “special sauce”, it was the right amount of spicy, where it wasn’t overpowering, and the right amount of garlicky lemon flavor.


As we finished our appetizer, our food had arrived. I had ordered the chicken kabob plate, my mother with a lamb kabob plate, and my father with the napa salad. We were all very pleased with not only how fast the main course came out but as well as the appetizers, previously had arrived. My chicken kabob plate was topped off with yellow rice and an arugula salad.


Starting with the salad, it was quite scrumptious due to the bit of bitterness from the arugula, the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, and the crispness the texture of the cucumbers provided. All the flavors blended very well. As well as the salad, the rice was cooked to perfection. The rice had a wonderful taste of garlic, basil, and olive oil. I have never eaten rice this amazing before.


I finally tried the main course, the chicken kabob. As I pulled off a piece from the skewer I immediately noted how the chicken gracefully fell right off of it. I cut off a small piece noted how amazing the chicken was cooked, where it was toasted on the outside and white in the middle. At first taste, you could immediately note the yummy flavor of garlic and lemon. It was absolutely divine all around. As I took another bite I felt not only the juiciness of it but also the delicious tenderness of this chicken piece. 


Many times during the meal, our waiter came to check on us and refill our waters. Edgar Ramirez, a waiter at The Olive Restobar, spoke about his experience at this restaurant. “The busiest time to come here is probably on the weekends around 5 o’clock,” Ramirez went on. “I have been working here for about three years and I absolutely love it.”


Wanting to get the full experience, my family and I decided on ordering dessert. We decided on a sample of traditional Mediterranean desserts. Less than 5 minutes later our treat came out, this sampler came with pistachio baklava, chocolate croissant bread pudding, vanilla bean gelato, strawberry gelato, and pistachio gelato.


I first tasted the bread pudding. It was still warm, very moist, and chewy. I could especially taste chocolate chips hidden in the bread. I then took a bite of the baklava. I had never had baklava before so I was quite excited to try it. It was pistachio based, topped off with a papery dough on the top. It was exquisite from the bit of bitterness that the dough provided and the crunchy taste of the pistachio portion. 


 I love gelato, so I was so excited for the Italian ice cream. The vanilla bean was simple yet delicious in every way. The strawberry ice cream was amazing as well, it tasted so fresh, like actual strawberries. By far my favorite out of the three was the pistachio gelato. It tastes exactly like the seed and it was creamy in the most delicious way. We then asked for our check and were given it right away.


My experience at the Olive Resto Bar was absolutely amazing. From the service to the actual lunch. I rate this Mederterannian restaurant a 10/10. My time there was well enjoyed and I am super excited for the next time I eat there, and I know it will be very soon!