On an unassuming corner of Saratoga—an area heavy with traffic but sparse for eateries—a new restaurant has taken root, bringing the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean to the South Bay’s Saratoga-Cupertino border.

Opened less than six months ago by brothers Esam and Milad Shaquir, Saratoga Corner Cafe is a quaint neighborhood eatery that delivers flavorful, healthy bites with a Mediterranean kick. The Shaquirs’ passion for fresh ingredients, coupled with their decade-long experience in the food and restaurant industry, has allowed them to create a space for truly authentic, tasty dishes that reflect the brothers’ own Middle Eastern upbringing.

We started with the six-side sampler ($14), which comes with freshly baked pita bread, and ordered three of the most popular Middle Eastern staples—labne yogurt, tabbouleh and the cafe’s homemade organic hummus. We also ventured to try the roasted beets with cumin, moutabal ruman and matbukha. The moutabal ruman, a smoked eggplant dish with garlic, spices and fresh pomegranate kernels, was a standout, pairing well with the labne on bread. The matbukha, a grilled tomato and red pepper tapenade with fresh herbs, garlic and spices was also delicious. But the cafe’s simplest offering of fresh-made hummus was the tastiest and most versatile topping out of them all.

The fattoush salad ($14), one of the restaurant’s 10 salad offerings, consisted of neatly chopped romaine, cucumber, tomato, onion, mint leaves, cilantro and parsley, and it came delicately topped with pita chip croutons, feta cheese and a sprinkling of sumac. Light, refreshing and carefully seasoned, the salad not only looked beautiful, but it also packed an array of flavors and textures in each bite, making it a perfect accompanying dish to the cafe’s grilled skewer combo ($23).

Given a choice of two between chicken, beef, ground lamb and beef kufta kabobs, we opted for the chicken and kufta skewers, which were served alongside slices of roasted eggplant and zucchini and delicately baked tomato halves. The portion size easily fed two, but the lack of bread or rice made it feel somewhat incomplete given it was the cafe’s largest—and priciest—entree.

Vegetarians will rejoice over the cafe’s moussaka ($17), a veg-friendly take on the traditional meat and eggplant dish. Loaded with roasted eggplant, mushrooms and onions, and cooked in a thick tomato sauce, the moussaka was hearty and comforting, baked expertly with a not-too-heavy béchamel sauce.

Though the Saratoga Corner Cafe still has some kinks to work out—such as their timing between courses—such is to be expected for a relatively new eatery. The cafe’s focus on incorporating distinctive flavor combinations with fresh, organic produce make it a welcomed newcomer.

Saratoga Corner Cafe
12019 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd, Saratoga.