The story of Zaytoon
Inspired by fond memories of growing up with an olive orchard, brothers and co-owners Izat and Walid Eliyan named Zaytoon after the Arabic word for “olive.” Much of their youth revolved around harvesting the family orchards and dining underneath the rows of olive trees. With Zaytoon, Izat and Walid now share their childhood memories of the olive harvest with the Bay Area community.
Highlighting their Palestinian roots, Walid points out the Middle East “is so much more than the politics we often hear about.” Zaytoon embraces the cuisine of Palestine, Morocco, and countries cradled by the Mediterranean Sea and represents the tapestry of various influences on Jeruselam street food and the Palestine family table. Zaytoon head chef and co-owner Haitham Salman, along with co-owner Salam Naser, bring decades of culinary experience as they join Izat and Walid on their mission to showcase the diversity and richness of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
What would food be without drink to accompany it? Contributing to the conception of a Middle Eastern bar, Jessica Maria — owner of the beloved neighborhood institution the Hotsy Totsy Club — created Zaytoon’s bar program. From the Sultan’s Iced Tea to the Rock the Casbah, Maria designed these and other unique craft cocktails to complement Zaytoon’s cuisine.
To help create an exquisite dining experience to match the elevated pleasures from the kitchen, the owners brought in manager Cynthia Olivas and her twenty years of fine-dining expertise (Four Seasons, House of Prime Rib, and Town Hall). Cynthia ran the front of house for several years and left the restaurant set up for success.
From the olive orchards of Jerusalem to our modern but cozy home on Solano, we welcome you!