Santa Monica, Mediterranean food, a Fairmont Hotel backdrop – all such tough selling points right? FIG Santa Monica has had all the makings for success for a number of years now, but it wasn’t until current chef, Chef Yousef Ghalaini, started implementing more and more flavor from his Lebanese roots that I began to pay close attention. The FIG I remember was your typical “California Cuisine” – pretty good, but not necessarily memorable. After taking the role just around two years ago, Chef Yousef finally has a menu of his very own; he got his a new wood fired oven, and what he’s got cookin’ are some dishes I will truly never forget.
I absolutely love Mediterranean food. My best friend is Lebanese so I’m a bit bias towards the cuisine, but the wonderful thing about FIG’s menu is that it’s entirely approachable yet genuine, and also refreshingly “different”. Chef Yousef grew up in Lebanon baking and cooking with his grandfather (cutest imagery ever) and there is something to be said about the level of love and authenticity you get with dining at FIG. There’s a trend that seems to be coming about in the world of dining in LA, and that is the rise of second-generation chefs reinterpreting flavors and dishes they grew up on. Outside of maybe ‘velvet everything’ and slip dresses, this is probably my favorite trend of the year. My adoration for FIG’s new direction is clear, but the food… and the cocktails.. and the GREAT ambiance… truly speaks for themselves. When experienced all together? Mediterranean vacation Magic.
Favorite Beverage | real talk, the ‘Golden Herb‘ (Miramar Anejo Tequila, Celery, Dill, Agave, Bitters) might be one of my favorite cocktails ever. 100% dead serious, this cocktail is to die for. It’s simple, refreshing, and a little too easy to drink.
Must Order | First and foremost…. no matter what day it is, what time it is, how hungry or not hungry you are… you must order the Bread Balloon. Trust me, you’ve never seen anything like it in your life, but it really is literally a bread balloon of warm thin pita that you tear off and dip in a spread or five. (I’d recommend all the spreads, because they’re all so great and so different!) Outside of one of the most memorable dishes ever, consider ordering one of chef’s famous pizzas – that oven they have works wonders. Other stand out dishes were the charred octopus, the heirloom carrot salad, the albacore tuna crudo, and the shishito peppers – all were e x c e l l e n t.
Perfect Spot For | dinner // lunch // happy hour // drinks and snacks // a place to take the parents // Mediterranean food // cheese tastings // date night // lunch meeting // client meal
Fun Fact | Don’t miss “FIG at FIVE” (half off most menu items from 5pm – 6pm) available 7 nights a week!!!
BONUS Fact | FIG has their very own former (aka cheese guru). His name is Eric Brazel, and you can visit him and enjoy a variety of international and domestic cheese tastings Tuesday – Sunday nights.
FIG SANTA MONICA // 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401
Monday – Friday
7am – 2pm | 5pm-10pm
Saturday + Sunday
7am – 2:30pm | 5pm – 10pm