On Friday, Chopped alum Renita Mendonca opened a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant, Dates and Olives, in the former Bento Cafe storefront at 160 Chestnut Hill Ave. in Brighton. As previously reported, Mendonca is a Mumbai native who learned to cooked Mediterranean foods while working as a chef at the Sun International group of hotels in Dubai.
According to a menu posted on Yelp, diners can choose to start with a rice bowl, a salad bowl, or a pita pocket; fill it with chicken, beef, falafel, or grilled vegetables; and top it with four choices from a list of sauces and other toppings, like hummus, carrot raisin salad, pickled turnips, and tahini. Other menu offerings include appetizers like baba ganouj and labneh; salads of fattoush, couscous, and more; and desserts like rice pudding and date cake. There are a few fresh juices available, as well as mango lassi, soft drinks, chai, and coffee.
The first four reviews to pop up on Yelp each award the new restaurant five stars out of five, praising the "divine" hummus, the "bright and welcoming" space, and the "friendly" people.
There are a few small tables available, as well some seats at a counter facing out the front window. Dates and Olives is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.