Many young women spend time dreaming about the details of their dream wedding. While I haven’t had the, er, pleasure of planning a wedding, I feel as if I can relate.
As long as I can remember, I have been planning my dream meal.
I’ll paint the picture for you as it plays out in my head: It’s dinnertime, and I’m seated al-fresco style on the banks of the Mediterranean, sipping on a sweet cocktail with a good friend. Soon, a Lebanese chef appears, balancing plates of warm olives, gooey, marinated feta, hummus and inflated bread balloons bigger than the size of my head — and that’s just the first course.
Although this fantasy may just be the stuff of dreams (for now), I’m happy to report to like-minded foodies that I’ve found a more-than-sufficient substitute a bit closer to home. Swap the Mediterranean coast for the banks of the Pacific, and you’ll find an almost-identical experience at Fig Santa Monica, located within the luxurious Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, Calif.
Mediterranean-inspired delights created by executive chef Yousef Ghalaini (known to members of the Instagram world by his — quite practical — handle @lebanesechef) fill the restaurant’s dinnertime menu. Even after my companion and I had stuffed ourselves full with bread balloons (filled with warm air and topped with zaatar, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt), the plates continued to flow. We had the opportunity to sample several of Ghalaini’s dishes straight from the kitchen’s wood-fire oven, including roasted beets and pizza topped with pea sprouts, panna and lemon. Spinach pasta topped with laughing bird shrimp, lemon and oven-dried tomatoes rounded out our extravagant meal.
In addition to dinner, Fig boasts an impressive menu of breakfast and lunch dishes, and every day from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., guests celebrate “Fig at Five,” a happy-hour special that features a 50-percent discount off most menu items.