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Luscious Flavors Of The Levant

Sammy’s Mediterranean Café offers a culinary journey and an education

Mediterranean Orange Cardamom Cake from Sammy’s Mediterranean Café – Purchase the March issue for the entire recipe!

Mediterranean Orange Cardamom Cake from Sammy’s Mediterranean Café – Purchase the March issue for the entire recipe!

One of the first articles I wrote for Vero Beach Magazine documented my epicurean travels along the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean Sea. A region of diverse cultures and time-honored cuisines, the much-touted Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh ingredients culled from land and sea amid a profusion of wholesome grains, pulses, dried fruits and vegetables. Its dishes, while clean and uncomplicated, rely heavily on fruity olive oils rather than butter, herbs and spices in place of salt, and a preponderance of chicken and seafood rather than red meat. The flavors are robust; the tastes and textures, earthy. This is a diet known to be one of the healthiest in the world.

With this in mind, I was excited when asked to write about one of my favorite restaurants in town, Sammy’s Mediterranean Café, located just east of the railroad tracks on westbound State Road 60. Owner and chef Sammy Boksmati, a bright-eyed and indefatigable Lebanese national, opened this eatery in mid-January 2016 and immediately garnered a strong following.

An offshoot of bakery and sandwich shop Fillin ’n Chillin on Oslo Road, Sammy’s newest venture has proven to be a boon to avid travelers craving authentic European dishes. Not only is the food faithful to traditional recipes, but vegans and vegetarians now have a plethora of dairy and meat-free options from a menu listing 15 vegan, 17 vegetarian, and 14 gluten-free dishes. Since landing on the culinary scene, it has become known for its friendly staff, fresh ingredients and heart-healthy meals.