If you’ve never battled Disneyland traffic to make it out to Little Arabia’s Olive Tree in Anaheim, you might want to mark your calendar for next year—June 18 to July 16, 2015—to book a reservation for their annual Ramadan buffet. Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims during daylight hours, and after the sun goes down they’ve amassed quite the appetite. The Olive Tree’s gigantic spread of about 20 amazing Pan-Arab dishes attracts Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Owner Abu Ahmad’s restaurant is the best Middle Eastern restaurant in southern California, serving regional Arabic dishes from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and his native Palestine, among others. The iftar (the meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan) features about 20 dishes including cold appetizers, hot appetizers, and main dishes—the selections change changes every night all for a little over $20.
Ahmad suggests you arrive around 7:30pm, but even then there’s already a line forming. The meal begins with dates that are passed out while you’re still in line, then it’s hummus, moutabal, and labne before you hit the must have specialties: mansaf (Jordanian lamb shoulder in yogurt sauce), tahalat (spicy roasted lamb spleen) and delicious rice dishes like polow with lentils and carmelized onions. It’s simply the best under-the-radar food events of the summer.
Olive Tree, 512 S. Brookurst St., Ste. #3, Anaheim, 714-535-2878