SABABA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
LIVELY LONG BEACH LOUNGE CREATES GOOD TIMES
In case you ever tire of the word “cool” just say “sababa” – it means “cool” in Hebrew. And Israeli businessman Sagi Rochman took his passion for all things sababa and opened Sababa Restaurant & Lounge in Long Beach. Tucked neatly in an oversized LBC outdoor mall, Sababa is a cool, yet energetic, restaurant, bar and lounge that offers live entertainment, live DJs and weekly wine tastings.
Featuring a menu originally created by Chef Eric Greenspan, Sababa features American cuisine with a Mediterranean flare.
“Sababa is what you would call a modern hybrid restaurant that has been designed and decorated to feel like a sleek lounge,” says the charismatic Rochman. “Unlike any other venues in the area, Sababa not only features a great dining and bar area, but there is an upstairs mezzanine and outdoor patio as well. Sababa offers a warm and welcoming destination where you can wine and dine or lounge and linger.”
Utilizing fresh ingredients, Sababa serves healthy and flavorful fare made from scratch.
“Healthy, fun, yummy and tasty,” is how Rochman describes his cool Sababa.
During our recent Friday night visit, which included a live aerialist performing high above impressed patrons, we started with the Sababa Lemonade made with Jameson (my personal favorite), triple sec, fresh muddled lemons, topped with lemonade. While I often don’t like Jameson cocktails, they just make me want to drink more Jameson straight; this was a refreshing drink that went down way too easy.
The Mango Mojito, made with Cruzan Rum, fresh mango puree, mint, limes, and pineapple juice, is a great starter for anyone looking for a light drink to lounge around to, after all, that is what the vibe at Sababa is all about.
We started with a few of the impressive appetizers, including the Falafel, featuring five falafels, tahini dip, sliced tomatoes with balsamic drizzle. It’s a great and hearty starter item and would go so well with one of the many Israeli wines, or Gold Star, a favorite Israeli beer that is hard to come by and tastes so good. If you’ve never tried it, you really should.
The Mediterranean ‘Nachos’ – made pita chips, goat cheese, fresh spinach, roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives, hummus, tahini vinaigrette – is ingenious and so tasty. This is definitely a fun forward-thinking fusion of American comfort food meets Mediterranean moxy.
And let’s not forget the Sababa Salad—prepared with Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mint, and light lemon vinaigrette—a light and healthy salad loaded with flavor without being too heavy. This is a nice and easy to digest dish that tastes good and is good for you.
Time for another round of drinks and we opted for the Make Your Own Mule with your choice of pisco, gin or vodka. I opted for the Chilean Mule with Kappa Pisco, ginger beer, mint and lime. This is a great variation on the popular Moscow Mule and provided more flavor than the tried and true original vodka mule.
The cocktail even paired well with the Katifa Prawns served with herb rice, and the Grilled Salmon served with spinach and roasted red pepper-almond dips. Both dishes were delicious and neither was too heavy either. I like the fact that you can enjoy savory and light dishes relatively guilt-free.
Other very cool, or sababa, dishes include the Stuffed Mushrooms , prepared with zucchini, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, garlic, olives, mozzarella cheese, and red fresnos, as well as the hearty Lamb Balls. Pair this dish with a glass of red wine, either a Malbec, or the Israeli Barkan or Snap Dragon, and you’ll be a very happy camper.
If you save room for dessert, the popular Gelato Sandwich, made with vanilla gelato, Hawaiian bun, butter, and roasted almonds, is a winner. Not too decadent, it ends your meal on a sensation sweet note without being to sickeningly sweet.
I have to hand it to Sagi Rochman, who seems like a natural people-person walking around the dining room greetings his guests, because he has managed to create a festive place that’s good for drinks, dinner, or a fun destination to make a night out of it.
Sababa Restaurant & Lounge is located at 6527 E Pacific Coast Hwy in Long Beach.
Call (562) 252-3572.
Top photo courtesy of Terri Henry Marketing
All other photography courtesy ofSababa Restaurant & Lounge
By: Jose Martinez.