The First of Four New Restaurants at Marbella Open

Four new restaurants – South Coast Kitchen, Harlow's, the Olives Branch Mediterranean Grill and a Mexican grill – turn Marbella Plaza into a world of new cuisine.

In pursuit of his own kitchen to aid his catering business, chef Justin Davis found Marbella Plaza to be the perfect place for his first restaurant, South Coast Kitchen: Café, Bistro and Catering.

Davis’ kitchen introduces San Juan Capistrano to his unique blend of French, Italian and Northwest flavors, within the comfort of the the café’s artistic décor.

"This is a place where catering clients can come in for tastings and feel comfortable," Davis said.

Davis’s wife, Laura, an artist, designed the nature-inspired yet modern feel for her husband's eatery.

"People are excited to try all the different menu items," Davis said.

Espresso and pastries in the morning, and an intriguing variety of taste and texture for lunch, South Coast Kitchen is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, Tuesday through Saturday. 

“Every chef wants to do things clean and simple. I try to keep clean flavor profiles, accessible options for people, things that they recognize with a little twist,” Davis said. 

A newly popular dish is the grapefruit, avocado and prosciutto salad. It features an agave-sweetened grapefruit paired with avocado, all topped with white balsamic vinaigrette make for a healthy and curious bite. 

Another surprising option for the cuisine inquisitive is the deep-fried barrata sandwich. If features fresh, creamy mozzarella, pesto, oven-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, balsamic reduction, aioli mushroom and arugula.

“I take the whole sandwich and drop it in the fryer to get it crunchy and finish it in the oven,” Davis said.

Davis says he feels at home in Marbella Plaza with the support he has received from the plaza businesses and local customers.

In the future South Coast Kitchen will offer "bistro nights," staying open for a whole new seasonal dinner menu. 

Davis also looks forward to catering and hosting dining room parties at the bistro during the holidays. 

But South Coast Kitchen is just the first of four new restaurants to open at Marbella:


With her experience in party planning, San Juan Capistrano resident Bonnie Harlow Kingston can’t wait to bring the community together for a New Year's Eve opening of her new restaurant and bar.

Harlow's pairs healthy and fine cuisine with the uptown fun of crafted cocktails. 

Harlow's will offer everything from dinner and unique drinks to Sunday champagne brunches.

The Olives Branch

Family owned Lebanese cuisine, the Olives Branch Mediterranean Grill, will open Monday Nov. 26.

Father and son co-owners Bill and Omar Chmait look forward to introducing San Juan Capistrano residents to the unique flavors of Lebanese cuisine within the comfort of family dining. 

“The community is so welcoming and beautiful,” Omar Chmait said.

Mexican Food

According to a sign at the center, a new Mexican grill will be making its way into Marbella soon, along with its Italian and French cuisine neighbors. 

Kim November 23, 2012 at 05:49 PM
As a resident who supports new business, I welcome, as I know our entire community does, and wish these restaurants the best of luck. It's the jolt Marbella shopping center has needed. Their menu's sound diversified and intriging..looking forward to their openings. In addition, not having to drive and park in town will be an added plus!
suzanne ansari December 01, 2012 at 03:23 AM
HOORAY! We finally an amazing Mediterranean restaurant in San Juan Capistrano/South OC. Skip the trip to up LA for great arabic food, it's now close to home. Olive Branches like a little slice of Lebanon in South Orange County. The staff is super friendly and service A+. The hummus tastes as if "Tata" was in the kitchen making it for you. The Chicken Tawook and Beef & Lamb Kufta was delish! For starters try the chicken vegetable soup and salad. It's so yummy & and the fresh flavors of exotic spices simply melt in your mouth. Don't forget to end with the homemade bakalava and a trip to the cool hoooka bar. Can't wait to come back. Tell all your friends to give Olive Branches a try, it will not disappoint.
Penny Arévalo December 01, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Thanks for the review. I LOVE Mediterranean food!


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