White Olive: Meet the Men Behind the Must-Visit Mediterranean Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan

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A global culinary journey recently culminated in the heart of New York City, as renowned entrepreneur (Mike) Karim Sopariwalla, with his cousin and partner in flavor, Amin Himani, unveiled his latest venture, White Olive. Steeped in familial roots and decades of gastronomic expertise, the White Olive delivers a harmonious blend of traditional Greek authenticity with a contemporary spin.

Karim’s illustrious journey began a quarter-century ago, post his academic stint at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Karim and Amin embarked on a delectable journey, holding strong to the reins of diverse eateries such as the Seattle Café in NYC, and for the pizza aficionados, the famed ZZ Pizza Bar and Grill in Staten Island. And while Amin introduced New Yorkers to the tantalizing tastes of Asian Fusion with ventures like River Dock Restaurant and Bar, Nanking, and Seattle Coffee Roasters, the duo always held onto a shared dream – one that channeled the essence of Greece.

Karim reminisces about his and Amin’s Mumbai upbringing, where the aroma of spices filled the air, intertwining with tales of familial camaraderie. It was a childhood punctuated by culinary adventures, shaping the duo’s lifelong passion for the gastronomic arts. “Our childhood was a culinary lesson in itself, teaching us the nuances of flavor profiles and the joy of feeding loved ones,” he recalls.

It was during their travels across Greece and Turkey that Karim, alongside another family member, Hasim, was mesmerized by the Mediterranean’s culinary offerings. The intricate dance of spicy and savory on their palates led to the inception of White Olive. Nestled in Midtown Manhattan on 55th Street, this Mediterranean-inspired haven is a tribute to iconic Greek dishes, including the succulent grilled branzino, lambchops, and a myriad of authentic mezzes spreads.

The name ‘White Olive’ isn’t merely a title but a celebration of the Mediterranean culture. Often found gracing households in Greece, Tuscany, and even Northern Africa, white olives are distinguished by their sweetness, owing to their unique antioxidant composition. This nod to authenticity extends to the kitchen, where the chef vows to recreate the magic of the Mediterranean.

Critics laud the balance White Olive achieves – capturing the essence of traditional Mediterranean cuisine while catering to the contemporary tastes of New York’s diverse population. The personal touches, anecdotes from their travels, and the stories of their familial roots embedded in the menu have provided a depth and connection that is rarely found in modern establishments.

With SEED DBC Inc’s Lesly Zamor curating the interior aesthetics, patrons can expect an ambiance that mirrors contemporary Greek sophistication. Every detail, from the sandstone walls to the gold-framed chairs, is meticulously chosen to craft a space where luxury meets comfort.

The White Olive experience extends beyond the plate. As Amin shares, a curated beverage list awaits, featuring innovative concoctions like the Mangopolitan and Matcha Mule. For the curious souls, White Olive’s Instagram offers a glimpse into this Mediterranean marvel.

For Karim and Amin, White Olive isn’t merely a restaurant—it’s an ode to their heritage, a tribute to their travels, and a testament to their unmatched culinary passion. New Yorkers are invited to be part of this exceptional Mediterranean voyage.


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