I had the pleasure of dining at Sami's Mediterranean Street Food in downtown Asbury Park recently with my 15-year old son. And what an enjoyable meal we had — a meal full of fresh ingredients and Sami's special blends of spices.

It was great to talk to the owner, French native Sami Saab. He moved to the United States after attending culinary high school in France and graduated from St. Rose High School in Belmar. He then went on to attend Brookdale's Culinary School in Asbury Park and then French Culinary School in NYC. (And I hear he has been chef to a very famous celebrity along the way, too!)

After working in hotel and restaurant kitchens throughout France and Lebanon for 9 years, he has now returned to America to open up his own place right here at the Jersey Shore.

This young, hip restaurateur mixes the flavors and experiences he has had as a chef overseas to bring us a menu influenced by Lebanese, Italian and southern French recipes cooked slow and served fast. As a mom on the go, my boys and I dine out frequently and are always wishing for new and exciting food options, so our taste buds were awakened by the refreshing flavors of some of the dishes we got to try!

A must-try: Sami's incredible homemade Lebanese Lemonade made with fresh lemon juice, orange blossom, mint, and sugar...it is amazing!!!!


We ordered all four of Sami's dips with Pita as an appetizer: Hummus (Chickpeas & Tahini), Baba Ganoush (Roasted Eggplant & Tahini), Tapenade (Provencal Olive Spread), and Labne (Yogurt Dip, Olive Garnish & Olive Oil). Each dip was exciting and delicious and we loved all four, but my absolute favorite was the Labne.

For our meals I got the Chicken Taouk (marinated chicken with sauteed sweet onion and garlic Aioli) as a platter with Lebanese Rice (Basmati Rice cooked in Sami's special blend of spices and topped with roasted nuts.)

My son Ben ordered the Falafel Wrap (Chick Pea patties, tomato, onion, pickles, Sami's Herbs and Tahini on a Pita) with Batata Hara (Sami's spicy cube potatoes with a hint of lemon).


These dishes were amazing! Unusual, filling, and cooked fresh. Many of the menu items, including the dishes we both got for dinner, can be ordered either as a wrap or a platter, and the side dishes of rice with roasted nuts and the cubed spicy potatoes were fantastic!

I really felt like we had a healthy meal and am happy to note that Sami's has some vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options.

Sami's also has some wonderful salads and flatbread, ratatouille, paninis, soup, puffed pastry, sandwiches, cheesesteaks and burgers, as well as wings and chicken tenders for kids who just want to stick with the more familiar fare.


They even have cappucino/espresso and flaky, delicious pastries for dessert including Baklava (a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts.)

Whether you're going out for lunch, dinner, or late-night eats after the bars on Friday and Saturday nights (Sami's stays open until 3 am on the weekends) you can dine in or order ahead for pick-up and Sami's has got you covered!

The prices are affordable, the atmosphere inside this place is contemporary and beautiful, including a painted mural on one wall and a subway tile design on another, fantastic lighting, and a wall of windows looking out onto Main Street.

Sami's (300 Main St.) is located right across from the Asbury Park Municipal complex at Mattison Ave. and Main St. (near the famous Johnny Mac's) with street parking or municipal parking (If you spend as much time in Asbury Park as I do, it is wise to get the parking app and enter your license plate number to pay for parking.) (You’ll know the place when you see it, trust me)

This is the first summer they are open so get yourself over there and bring your friends! (I hear they even have a great karaoke night on Wednesdays!) This is a great, casual, and relaxed dining experience for all. BYOB.

More From 94.3 The Point