[Santa Clara] Holyland Restaurant & Catering- Jordanian/ Palestinian food

Holyland Restaurant & Catering is run by a Palestinian extended family who has lived for a long time in Jordan so there are some Jordanian specialties served. The gentleman runs the front of the house. His mom and his uncle run the kitchen. His mom was away that day and the son suggested that I came again to try her mom’s food because its ‘even better’.

Holylands is not related to Holy Land Restaurant in Oakland, an Israeli restaurant. Its located amongst random office complexes and light industrial area. The restaurant is located within one such office complex, with only a sign pointing customers into the parking lot. The restaurant is located at the end of the path.

The neighborhood and the parking lot was pretty desolate when we visited. But the restaurant’s there and open.

Mansaf- the national dish of Jordan. The lamb shank was fall-off-the-bone tender, gently seasoned and cooked in yogurt. Came with jameed, made from a salty and sour dried goat yogurt, to be poured all over the shank and pilaf. Overall I liked the dish. Its fairly similar to the beriani dejaj dish from Dish Dash, only with a whole shank, and you pour the yogurt. Dish Dash I believe is run by Lebanese.

Mezza for 4- which included hummus, falafel, baba ghanouj and tabouleh. Solid. Both hummus and baba ghanoush came with a dash of chili in the middle to provide a kick if desired. Baba ghanoush was smoky and well flavored. Rest of the app was also solid.

Moussaka with beef was also quite solid.


Overall, a good meal and a chance to eat some Jordanian specialties not often encountered in the Bay Area. Need to come back and try other specialties like the mankeesh, fattoush, mandi, mujadara, labneh, etc.


They also have the Jordanian salad which is called the Holyland salad on their old menu but seems to be missing in the current menu.

They do catering, and can roast a whole 40 lb lamb for either $400 or $600 (I forgot). Anyone wants a lamb feast? :slight_smile: Check out all that goodies not on the restaurant menu:



The lunch buffet is pretty good and is a popular choice for the area. Usually has at least a chicken leg/thigh type of dish cooked different ways (including tandoori) and then a lamb dish, plus a curry chicken type dish, plus a few veggie dishes and one or two types of rice.

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Thanks. The son mentioned the buffet as well and suggested that we tried it. I am guessing the buffet is for the surrounding office crowd, and the catering menu is for the Arabic community (which I have no idea where they live or how big they are).

The food tasted quite homemade. And its the catering menu entree section where the less commonly available arabic dishes are:

  • whole lamb/ goat roast stuffed with rice
  • zaatar chicken
  • musakhan (Palestinian sumac chicken)
  • kabsah (a rice dish that’s the Saudi dish but popular in the Arab world)
  • beryani
  • keftah bil tahinyeh/ batinjah (ground beef with different things)
  • dawood basha (meatballs)
  • maklouba (upside down dish)
  • bamyeh (okra)
  • fasoulyeh (bean)
  • bazella (peas and rice)

Some of these dishes show up in maybe 2 or 3 other restaurants in the Bay Area serving food from various Arabic countries (e.g. Zaytoon, Saha, Dish Dash, Old Jerusalem, etc.) - half of them I can’t find anywhere (unless there are spelling variances). If they are willing to cook in portions consumable by a typical family, I am interested in exploring more of their catering menu. Or if there is interest, we can organize group meals.


Got some takeouts after getting a haircut in the area. Very solid neighborhood joint. Reem Assil gets all the love for her Palestinian these days but Um Ammar deserves credit for running a legit mom and pop Palestinian joint (she’s Palestinian but grew up in Jordan, I think)

Bamyeh with lamb. The lamb meat was tender and from the same shank as the mansaf. The okra was cooked extensively so its soft and intermixed with the delicious tomato sauce. Delicious.

Mujadarah. Pilaf with lentils. Well seasoned, but dry.

Manakeesh zataar: toasted sesame and zataar spices on flatbread. Tasty.

Their falafels are made from scratch from chickpeas soaked for a day. Its spicier than most, but its yummy.

Kenafeh- her version of phyllo dough pastry was pretty delicate looking and very sweet. Pretty interesting.

Saw the basboosh but didn’t get:


Saw this place when I went next door to Smoked Out BBQ. Thanks for the update, I’ll have to check it out.

The lunch time AYCE buffet is a very good deal with excellent chicken and lamb dishes.