FOOD

Best New Restaurants 2022: Olive & Lime Café

You'll find excellent falafel, baba ghanoush, grilled shawarma, manakish and more at this Lebanese-Mediterranean restaurant from chef-owner Rami Sabra.

Nicholas Dekker
Veggie platter from Olive & Lime Café

In a city already rich with Mediterranean offerings, Olive & Lime Café has managed to stand out. Beginning its life as Olive & Thyme Café, the newly renamed Lebanese-Mediterranean outpost makes its home on a prominent Clintonville corner recently vacated by Panera Bread. This gave the new eatery maximum visibility as it quickly built out a fan base for its hearty, colorful and well-seasoned menu.

Chef and owner Rami Sabra has cooked in kitchens across the U.S., Lebanon and Dubai and puts his experience to work in crafting the menu, all of which is registered halal. Even staples of Mediterranean cuisine stand out, like the creamy hummus, rich with garlic and tahini. Or the delicately fried falafel, baba ghanoush with roasted eggplant, perfectly grilled shawarma and the simple manakish—flatbreads topped with cheese, meats or spices.

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Lebanese Moussaka with rice salad from Olive & Lime Café

Lebanese favorites abound as well, from a moussaka featuring eggplant sautéed with tomatoes, garlic, onions and garbanzo beans, to the creamy labne with house-made yogurt drizzled with olive oil. All of this adds up to a much-welcome eatery from two industry veterans and a dynamic new option for Mediterranean and Lebanese fare in Columbus.

Side Dishes

Lavash Alums: Both chef-owner Rami Sabra and his general manager Analee Niswander spent more than a decade at Lavash Café, a beloved Mediterranean spot just down the street in Clintonville. Just like Lavash, their eatery offers big spaces for gathering with groups, cool and calming décor, and a diverse menu sure to please any diner.

Knafeh: While the baklava is always enticing, Olive & Lime Café’s must-try is the knafeh, a rich, slightly tangy and lightly sweet dessert that takes a square of flaky pastry, soaks it in honey and layers it with cheese and a dusting of crushed pistachios.

We Recommend: Olive & Lime’s menu features kafta, essentially a Lebanese skewer of ground chicken, beef or lamb mixed with herbs and spices, then charbroiled. The tender and wonderfully seasoned meat is served on a platter with rice and veggies or wrapped tightly in pita with vegetables and sauces.

Olive & Lime Café  

4519 N. High St., Clintonville

614-826-3020

This story is from the February 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.