Spanish meat boards. European cheeses. French pastries. Italian and Turkish flatbreads. Greek souvlaki. Moroccan spices. Lebanese mezze. Darna Mediterranean Eatery’s menu is a culinary introduction to countries with ties to the historic spice routes on the Silk Road.
Yaser Khalaf is a Palestinian born in Kuwait, spending much of his childhood traveling through Egypt, Lebanon, Greece, Spain, Italy and Southern France, where he found inspiration in each of the culture’s dishes. Khalaf brought these dishes to Darna Mediterranean Eatery to share a bit of his travels with the people of Plano. “The idea, for me, is to bring something really unique and special for people to come to,” Khalaf says.
It’s a concept “near and dear to his heart,” says co-founder Pat Garza, who met Khalaf while working on another concept. Their friendship was a bridge to creating a restaurant that serves as a gateway to a part of the world most don’t experience. The menu boasts many shareable appetizers and several shareable entrees, something Khalaf says is indicative of the sharing culture he experienced in his travels across Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and Europe.
“Everywhere I go, the eating was table-style, where Mom would bring the whole meal here, and everybody would scoop a little bit of everything,” Khalaf says.
Each section of the restaurant highlights the cross-cultural experience. To the left of the entrance is a Turkish coffee bar. To the right is a grab-and-go area perfect for lunches. In the middle, there’s seating for full-service lunch, dinner or brunch. In the back, you’ll find quick-service mezza, salad, kabob and sandwich stations.
The restaurant features open kitchens covered in bright white tiles, natural wood tones and a seasonal flower wall for Instagrammable seating.
“Instead of having authentic lanterns, we have modern chandeliers, but the design of the tiles comes from Morocco, the whites represent Casablanca or Southern Turkey,” Khalaf says. While dining on a variety of cultural cuisines, you’ll hear music from nearly any genre, including jazz in the morning, popular favorites around lunch and European techno during dinner. “You feel like you’re traveling and you’re really going to experience a journey into all senses, including music, food, drinks, market items,” Khalaf says. “It’s really bringing something beautiful into play.”
Darna Mediterranean Eatery, 7700 Windrose Ave. in Legacy West, Suite G-170, 469-825-4110