If you live in Santa Monica you most likely know it is what I refer to as “restaurant poor.” There are high-end restaurants and fast food and not much in between. Three months ago that changed with the opening of Z Garden. After getting a flyer Jeffrey and I ordered a few items one night and were pleasantly surprised so I decided to do a food review since we all needed to get out of the office.
I wanted to try a few things I knew we liked and be adventurous.
For the appetizers I ordered the Labneh (strained or Greek-style yogurt) with olive oil and dry mint. I have not been a big fan of falafels in the past but since this is one of the house specialties I decided to branch out.
For the entrees we ordered Chicken Kebabs, Chicken Shasarma (chicken strips marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and spices), and lamb shank (slow
roasted in a tomato like sauce with veggies).
All the entrees came with a nice house salad, homemade hummus, rice and pita.
The Labneh was to die for – amazing tasting yogurt with just the right amount of spices and mixed with a little olive oil. I could live on that dish for most of my meals, as I am a big yogurt lover.
The falafel was a nice surprise in that it was a combo of fava and garbanzo beans and did not taste oily but clean and fresh.
Our favorite entrée was the chicken kebabs, which was grilled just right with amazing spices. The homemade hummus and salad accompaniment made for the perfect lunch.
The chicken sharma was a nice variation on a chicken dish and also very light and healthy. If you like lamb you will enjoy the one at Z Garden. Although the three of us are not especially found of lamb it was tasty and satisfying and came with a hearty sauce and veggies.
If you’re tired of the usual turkey sandwich and lunch salad I would highly recommend trying Z Garden. Owner Shadi is a very nice man who wants to please his customers and provide quality food and service in a pleasant atmosphere.
Z Garden is clean, with a nice and light feel inside. The mint tea was a treat as well.
My rating system is below and these are the numbers.
1. Clean Food (sampled) – 3.75 (no grass-fed meat or Jidori chicken)
2. Clean Space – 4.25
3. Friendly Staff – 5+
4. Balanced proportions of protein/carb/fat – 4
5. No Food Hangover – 4
Z Garden got a 4.2