Sam Elias, owner of Sam’s By the Beach, in Santa Monica is one of the nicest and most hospitable restaurant owners that you’ll ever meet. He opened the restaurant in July 2000 as a neighborhood bistro and ten years later he has cultivated a strong loyal following. His restaurant is known by California insiders as a destination dining spot due to its’ hospitable ambiance coupled with the delectable recipes that he meticulously creates daily. He calls his food “true Mediterranean” and credits many of his recipes to his heritage, having grown up in Damascus. His menu consists of everything from Grilled Atlantic Salmon with braised Swiss Chard and roasted Jerusalem artichoke ($26.95) to Wild Mushrooms Salad served with watercress and fresh mozzarella cheese in lemon basil ($13.95) to Oven Roasted Cornish Hen that is marinated Turkish style in mustard and garlic and served with couscous and a lemon herb sauce ($25.95); all of them bursting with flavor. Sam greets each guest personally and truly embodies an old-school type customer service as he helps guests make their dinner choices and encourages them to relax, take their time and enjoy their dining experience. He says, “I try to develop a relationship with each client, going as far as to know them all by name. Service is all about knowing all of your clients and being able to cater to their needs.”
Using only high quality ingredients is extremely important to Sam, and he goes to L.A.’s Central Market, which is open from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., early each morning to get the freshest fares available for that evening’s meals. He knows most of the workers personally, and greets them by name. At the produce market he selects from colorful displays of fresh fruit and vegetables of every kind imaginable. The market has the most incredible variation of every type of produce available, from a plethora of various exotic mushrooms; to fresh berries; to pineapples from South Africa known for their candy-like taste; to heirloom tomatoes; to Persian cucumbers. He then usually heads to his personal favorite market, the fish market, where he selects various seafood such as fresh Tuna or live Maine lobster that he will use as ingredients for that evening’s meal. Very similarly, when he was a young boy in Damascus, he has fond memories of getting on a horse or donkey with his grandfather in the wee hours of the morning and riding around to visit all of the local farmers to see what they had for that day. His grandfather would put in an order of all sorts of items, and then they would go and have breakfast before riding back to pick up their orders so they could take them back to his grandmother who would use them to make delicious meals.
Sam’s By The Beach is located at 108 West Channel Road in Santa Monica, just East of Pacific Coast Highway. Reservations are suggested. Please call 310.230.9100. Sam’s is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m. Brunch is available on special holidays. If you are in Los Angeles, you absolutely MUST spend an evening at Sam’s By The Beach and enjoy the food and personal dining experience that will make you feel like you are a guest in a friend’s home. It is bound to be a dining experience that will keep you coming back for more.