Neighborhood Upgrade: Skewers Fresh

For years, the casual-dining draw in this unremarkable Laguna Niguel shopping center near city hall has been Baja Fish Taco, where lines often stretch out the door. But a near-adjacent coffeehouse has been remodeled into this clean, family-owned indie featuring fresh, grilled cuisine from the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, so let the competition begin!

The Ozcelik family operated four restaurants during 17 years in London. Here the staff skewers onions, peppers, and perfectly seasoned chicken, lamb, tri-tip, kofta (ground, spiced steak), swordfish, shrimp, and sujuk (a spicy beef sausage) and grills them to order. They also offer kebabs, pita sandwiches, sparkling salads, and flavorful sides including hummus, eggplant dip, stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, and halloumi (a cheese that grills without melting). Plates come with rice, salad, pita, and choice of sauce.

Skewer plates, $10.50 to $14.50; sandwiches, $7 to $8; sides, $2 to $6; salads, $6.50 to $8. Beer and wine available.

30242 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, 949-429-7066

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