Food & Drink

Zameen Takes Its Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine to Watsonville

Co-owner Ed Watson talks about the restaurant’s origins and unique menu

A customer arrives to pick up a takeout order at Zameen at the Point on 41st Avenue. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Zameen specializes in Mediterranean fusion cuisine, with multiple locations in Santa Cruz County.

The first restaurant opened in Aptos in 2007, the iconic Pleasure Point location opened in 2017, and there are plans to open a third spot in Watsonville in the spring. Zameen at the Point is open Tuesday-Sunday, and in Aptos Thursday-Sunday, both from noon-7:30pm for takeout and limited outdoor seating. Online ordering is also available at both locations. GT talked to co-owner Ed Watson about the restaurant’s origins and their unique menu.

What does ‘Zameen’ mean, and where does the restaurant’s inspiration come from?

ED WATSON: It’s a Persian word for “land” or “earth.” My father-in-law is from Iran, and we used to have big family cookouts. He would cook a lot of lamb and beef kabobs and serve it with rice, and with a lot of shared plates. We wanted to turn this experience into a restaurant concept and saw a niche for this type of food in Santa Cruz. The Aptos location started with this style of authentic Persian cuisine, and over the years we’ve gone with a more Mediterranean menu, and added a California twist.

What sets Zameen’s cuisine apart from others?

We do a lot of prep work on salads, and there are vegetarian/vegan options as well as richer options like a lamb burger and sweet potato fries. There is something for everyone. The versatility of the menu is great: Guests can get a wrap, salad, or bowl depending on their tastes and preferences. It’s all fresh and healthy, and is a great grab-and-go option.

What are some of the most popular menu items?

The lamb/beef Euro wrap. The meat is on a vertical broiler and we slice strips of it off to order. It’s wrapped in naan bread and comes with mixed greens, pickled onions, feta cheese, tomato, and cucumber. Each wrap has a sauce: The lamb/beef one comes with tzatziki, which has cucumber, yogurt, garlic, and dill. Another great option is the red chili chicken, which can be in a bowl, salad, or wrap, and that is super popular as well, especially the salad version. We also have garlic feta fries, sweet potato fries, as well as a hummus appetizer and fried calamari.

7528 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 831-688-6845; 851 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-713-5520. zameencuisine.com.

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