Authenticity Rules Here: D’Vine Restaurant Review
A handsome restaurant with brick walls, dark wood doors, and expansive bar. D'Vine is firmly established in a historic downtown with distinctive shops, entertainment, and rail transportation. Chef Walid Alarja passionately and intrinsically utilizes ingredients from his culinary and cultural roots of Bethlehem and Alexandria, Egypt. D'Vine is an elevated experience because of Walid’s effective use of fresh, farm-to-table foodstuff, specifically the vegetables and herbs. The menu is thoughtfully and purposely focused with items created with flavor in mind. Founders, Walid Alarja and Lena Quezada, have created a Mediterranean menu of deliciousness.
“Our amazing Mediterranean dishes are traditional and healthy. Think savory spices, tantalizing sauces, house dressings and meat served fresh off the grill. A truly unparalleled dining experience. In the Middle East, to eat is to feast and in doing so we evoke a sense of celebration. Our select menu is prepared with fresh ingredients and the love that only a family owned and operated restaurant can offer. We invite you to go on a culinary experience with us...so relax and enjoy a treat for all your senses, at D'Vine. ”
It was a pleasure to have a personal tasting provided by Chef Alarja and Lena Quezada. The restaurant is located in a historic district, with an outdoor patio, large picture windows, an expansive ceiling, a main dining room, and larger room for parties. The servers quickly greeted me and got me seated. Throughout my meal the servers were friendly, helpful, knowledgeable about the menu, and anticipated when I was ready for drinks. The suggested homemade beet juice was perfect to pair with my meal. D'Vine is an excellently developed restaurant with its notable architecture, smart decor, well planned menu, and neatly presented staff.
At the center table Lena and I discussed the various menu items. D'Vine collaborates with suppliers to ensure dishes are prepared with fresh, quality, seasonal ingredients. Chef Alarja and I discussed the bounty of ingredients readily available throughout the year in California. Additionally, ingredients are available from Mexico and South America. This is because countries such as Brazil and Chile have large populations of people of Lebanese, Arab, and Syrian ancestry. To some customers, the dishes will read as authentic. To others, the dishes will be understood as warm, bright, and fresh. Tabouleh—salad mix of cracked wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, lemon juice, and house spices. Kubeh—fried cracked wheat beef and lamb crust, stuffed with minced beef onions, pine nuts, and spices. Lamb kebab—grilled, marinated chunks of lamb on a skewer. The lure of these dishes does not disappoint.
D'Vine specializes in genuine dishes, locally sourced, created by a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. An excellent choice for a romantic date, happy hour with friends, or event. Chef Alarja and Lena Quezada have a robust emphasis on quality that is exhibited through their menu, hospitality, and staffing choices. Several factors go into an effective dining experience. As Chef Alarja explained, he relocated to the United States to be near his children that had immigrated before him. As a father, restauranteur, and genuine person, Alarja understands the art of cookery, the importance his own family, as well as treating others like “family”. Restaurants are as much about the people at the table as those that serve, cook, and prepare. It is hard work and this chef has the drive to make it happen.
1. The restaurant is located at 132 West Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton, California 92832. This is a walkable distance from several local shops and a drivable distance from local colleges, businesses, museums, and theaters. There is an adjacent parking lot to the restaurant and public parking located throughout the area.
2. The ample main dining room provides an excellent view of the bar and kitchen. Peak times occur on weekends and during special events in the city. Make reservations to ensure a table.
3. The menu at D'Vine has an impressible range of choices featuring items such cold mezza (small dishes), hot mezza, entrees, desserts, drinks, and cocktails. The following were my favorites.
Homemade beet juice
Pita chips served with olive oil and za’atar (an aromatic and warm spice blend)
Beet Salad: red beets, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt
Cheese Fatayer: lightly fried dough stuffed with Mediterranean cheeses
Spinach Fatayer: baked homemade dough stuffed with spinach, onions, and spices
Chicken Shawarma: grilled, thinly sliced marinated chicken
Garlic sauce: raw garlic, lemon, and salt
Kefta: grilled, ground beef and lamb with finely chopped onions, parsley, and house spices on a skewer
Layalee Lubnan: an amazingly aromatic dessert that is made of a semolina pudding. Topped with a layer of whipped cream and a drizzled with fresh ground pistachios and sugar syrup.
Visit the D’Vine website at dvineexperience.com.
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Disclaimer: The restaurant in this review has given the reviewer complimentary food and drink. This has in no way influenced the reviewer’s opinion. Quality and content is the standard.
Credits: dvineexperience. com, facebook. com/dvinefullerton