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Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill , a Healthier Chipotle

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill , a Healthier Chipotle

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a healthier version of Chipotle

One of the biggest food trends  that will continue for the next couple years is the growth of  Chipotle style “Build your own dish” concept restaurants. Some restaurants have failed miserably at this concept, like Burrissimo, while others have shined, like  Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill.  

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill brings a  healthy focus to the quick service restaurant space. What I really liked is that they bake their own pitas every morning and make their own hummus, sauces and tabbouleh. Most quick service restaurants source out many of these ingredients. 

Garbonzo Mediterranean Grill offers healthy scratch made food

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill offers healthy scratch made food. This is  the plate.


The restaurant started six years ago in Greenwood Village, Colorado and over the past six years, they have expanded to nine different states.  Most recently they have expanded into Orange County with locations in  Aliso Viejo and the newest at the Woodbury Town Center in Irvine.  I recently visited the newest location at the Woodbury Town Center and  discovered why Garbanzo has developed a cult following among locals.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill recently expanded into Southern California. The newest restaurant is in Irvine.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill recently expanded into Southern California. The newest restaurant is in Irvine.


How it works:

First, pick your dish

Garbonzo Mediterannian Grill Menu

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill Menu


The basic format of this build your own Mediterranean restaurant is to first decide your dish type. Pick either a pita, plate, of laffa. The Laffa is served in the classic burrito format, using the classic Mediterranean flat bread similar to a thick tortilla. The build your own dish is priced at $6.99 – $7.49, depending on what you order. Considering the amount of food you get, I think this is a great deal. 


Garbonzo Laffa

Get your meal constructed in a traditional laffa


The pita is what is sounds like, a build your own Pita. The plate is a  deconstructed version of the pita, yes it is pretty simple :) 


Gorbonzo Plate 7

You can get your meal deconstructed as a plate meal


Pick your protein

Once to pick your dish format, then you pick the main ingredient of your dish. If you are like me, you will go for the chicken or beef shwarma. I ordered a combination of chicken and beef. If you are vegetarian the falafel and hummus are delicious. If you want something light, I recommend the portobello. 


Next, Choose your main ingredient. Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill has meat and vegetarian options

Next, Choose your main ingredient. Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill has meat and vegetarian options


Pick your sides/filling

Next, you pick which fillers your want squeezed in your pita or laffa. If you ordered the plate, they will arrange the sides around your protein.

Your options include the tabbouleh, pickled red cabbage, babaganoush, red onions, pickles and vegetable salad, rice, feta cheese, kalamata olives and roasted eggplant. Be sure to check the labels there are a couple items like egg have a small surcharge. 


 Next, choose your toppings.  Every visit can be different depending how you dress your creation at Gar

Next, Choose your main ingredient.  Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill has meat and vegetarian options



Pick your sauces

You also have your choice of sauces served in your dish or on the side. You can get as many of the sauces that you want, so I personally recommend that you get them all.   The sauces available are tahini, Mediterranean garlic sauce, red chili sauce, and tzatiki.


The final step is to pick your sauces at Garbanzo

The final step is to pick your sauces

My recommendation for maximum enjoyment

Everyone has their own preference how they should eat their Garbanzo creation. Some folks love the fully constructed pita or laffa, no work and no mess. I personally prefer getting my hands messy and constructing my own pita.  


Garbonzo Plate with pita


 If you get the plate, ask them to cut open your pita, so that you can stuff it yourself. Here is the secret, you get more food when you order the plate. I suggest you order extra pita and you can fully load them with both meats, vegetables and sauces.

Kabob Plate

In addition to the make your own dish, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill also serves fire roasted chicken and beef kabobs. They are served with green and red peppers.  The meats are marinated in their secret rosemary sauce, grilled, and served on a  bed of seasoned rice, vegetables and hummus. Kabobs cost $9.99. They also offer salads that run $6.99 – $7.49.


Garbonzo's Kabobs

Garbonzo’s Kabobs

My Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a quick and healthy meal, I suggest you try out Garbanzo. When I visited, I over indulged and still left without feeling the pregnant belly syndrome. For the quality of the house made food, this is a really good deal. 

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Orange County Locations


Woodbury Town Center – 6278 Irvine Blvd. Irvine, CA 92620


26541 Aliso Creek Rd. Aliso Viejo, CA 92656



Read my other Blog Posts

2014 Food and Wine Festival Guide

Vine Restaurant and Bar

Roy’s Newport Beach


About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. Thank you for sharing, although I do not eat out anymore or eat those kind of foods, it does look good and now I am hungry. going to get something to eat:)

  2. This looks a place i would frequent.. I want kabobs for dinner..

  3. It’s good to see more and more restaurants becoming health conscious. I like the thought of building your own plate because you only get what you’re going to eat. Will have to try this if it comes to my city.

  4. I see we have one here. I will have to take a look! Thank you.

  5. I like Chipotle, so this will be a huge hit with me!

  6. Looks like a more heath conscious menu and I like that!

  7. I try and stay away from carbs, so looks like nice protein and veggie choices.

  8. It must taste as good as it looks!

  9. I am a fan of Mediterranean foods because there are always great vegan options. All the menu choices look amazing. Are they in Texas too? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of them

  10. tom–are these blogs sponsored–you should be getting paid for all this great work!

  11. At any Falafel stand in Israel you get to stuff the pita bread with any of the salads, that are standing on the counter for no extra charge. The falafel balls are always six

  12. OMG I am going to have tot find this place!! I have a Mediterranean core. This food speaks to me!!

  13. Garbanzo was pretty tasty! I look forward to going back sometime soon. I loved the plate and how you could select what you wanted to add:)

  14. I love Mediterranean food! This looks delish! .. Now I’m hungry :)

  15. This looks very nice, all these ingredients to choose from. But . . .I’d rather have them put together the ingredients, call it something, and then I’ll get that. I don’t want to assemble this kind of meal.

  16. My husband loves anything spicy so he would LOVE this food. I don’t like spicy food at all so I would have to skip over this food!

  17. The colors of the food are inviting. The prices are reasonable. The red cabbage is calling my name! Side note: I recently went to Chipotle and they were serving tofu!! It was good!

  18. This is so neat…I just saw this new restaurant to an open air mall that is close to my home in Scottsdale! I will now for sure have lunch there…it sounds so good. Thank you for this review!

  19. I just looked them up and see that they are coming to Tucson soon and have a location in Phoenix now. I will definitely eat here. It looks so fantastic and I love love love mediterranean food.

  20. In the UK we have a large Greek community and this type of food is common. I have to admit, it’s my favorite type of takeout as it’s healthy and tasty.

  21. Wish we had this chain in the UK instead of McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and all the other junk (not even) food chains.

    This really is my type of food xxx

  22. I love Mediterranean food. I can eat it everyday! I missed this event so I’d love to win a chance to try it!

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