cooking restaurant food at home

The Tel Aviv beach vibes at Rina are transportive. Israeli tunes draw you in from strolling on the Beltline as much as the aromas emanating from the kitchen.

Newly opened, mid-January, the sister restaurant to Aziza and Falafel Nation was just getting into the groove, serving classic Middle Eastern dishes such as skewers, pita sandwiches, seasonal mezze, hummus, salads, and Israeli-inspired milkshakes when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down operations.


The space, designed by renowned Atlanta-based designer Smith Hanes, is 2,700 square feet of bright and fun energy. Natural light comes by way of large windows overlooking the Beltline and an outdoor patio with 20 seats. It’s family friendly, bursting with the exuberance of childhood, just as owner Tal Baum envisioned when she decided to share her favorite parts of Israeli food with us. The name translates to “joy” in Hebrew.


Executive Chef Brandon Hughes oversees all of Oliva Restaurants’ ventures, including Rina, Bellina Alimentari, Aziza, and Falafel Nation, and Daniel Chance serves as the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine.


Chance told us he has been occupying his time during shelter in place “with DIY projects at home and cooking food for friends and people who need food.” He’s modest. We know he has dropped off pizzas and Bolognese to neighbors.

One of Chance’s favorite dishes to prepare at Rina is grilled Chicken Shawarma, served in pita with babaganoush, sumac onions, and tahini. He created a hybrid version of the dish you can make at home using a cast iron skillet and Springer Mountain Farms chicken.

Skillet Chicken Shawarma over rice

From Rina Chef de Cuisine Daniel Chance


4pc boneless and skinless chicken thighs

½ large onion, cut into slivers

⅓ cup Shawarma spice (see recipe below)

2 T canola oil (or whatever pantry oil is on hand)

1 tsp kosher salt

Mix ingredients in bowl, add chicken pieces, and marinate 12 hours or overnight. In a hot 12” cast iron skillet place chicken down evenly spread out. Add onions and garlic to top of chicken. Do not move chicken until it is browned on the bottom (about 6 minutes). Flip chicken over on top of the onions and continue to cook until done (about 6-12min).

For the Rice:

1 cup Basmati rice or other long grain rice in your pantry

1 3/4 cup water

½ onion, cut into slivers

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp coriander

½ tsp cinnamon

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1/2 cup canola oil (or other pantry oil on hand)

In a medium pot, bring ice, water, and spices to boil. Cover the pot and turn heat down to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté onion, garlic, and oil until onions have color. Once rice is tender and resting, fluff with a fork and mix onion and oil into the rice. Check for seasoning.

Israeli Salad:

2 tomatoes, diced, large pieces

1 cucumber (if Persian make it 2ea), diced into large pieces

¼ red onion, diced

¼ cup chopped parsley

2T olive oil

2T lemon juice

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Serve with options:




Pita or Laffa

Shawarma Spice Recipe:

1/2c turmeric, 1/2c cumin, 1/2 c black pepper, 2T cardamom, 2T coriander, 1 tsp cinnamon

Rina (699 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta; 404-343-0362,


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