Open Sesame is a National Treasure

Jonathan Pekar, Food Dude
SERVERS Cristina Banna (left) and Danielle Emerzian.

Enough good things cannot be said about Open Sesame. This restaurant is the very definition of fantastic dining. The entire menu is a time-honored journey into international cuisine at its finest. I sincerely love this place and am probably there now!

Long Beach has so many magnificent restaurants to spend our precious time and Open Sesame, I am sure, is on top of most local’s “all-time favorite” dining lists; it is definitely on mine. From the moment you tread on the sidewalk in front of their quaint establishment on 5215 E. 2nd Street the magic starts. One of Open Sesame’s professional and charming staff will greet you and whisk you and your friends and family to a Mediterranean wonderland of flavor accompanied by a sensational aroma of unique spices that casually drifts from the kitchen into their dining rooms day and night.

The intriguing music and inspired paintings on their walls prepare you for the greatness to come. If you have already been to Open Sesame, you know what I mean.

If you are vegetarian, vegan or in need of something gluten free, don’t worry, Open Sesame has got you covered. For example, their Foul M’damas ($14) chickpeas, fava beans, garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin oil served with onions, wild cucumber pickles, radishes, tomatoes and fresh mint will get your taste buds zinging. What a great way to start your meal.

However, another classic appetizer is their Spicy Garlic Potatoes ($9). They are properly prepared with cilantro, garlic, roasted chilies and lime juice; oh, so good. And trip out on this, Open Sesame can even make cauliflower rad; I kid you not! Flash Fried Cauliflower ($12) is so good I ordered it twice in one sitting! This also gluten free, vegetarian and vegan friendly invention of mastery mixes a cauliflower with onions, tomatoes, tahini and almond slivers and I can’t get enough of it.

Then there are their entrees. Where to start? Every entrée is simply phenomenal. Their Mediterranean Sea Bass ($34) is truly magnificent. When they bring this dish to your table it is almost too hard to eat because it looks so good you start looking for your camera instead of a fork!! And it is bewildering the way they caramelize the onions combined with organic heirloom cherry tomatoes in their Mujadara & Lebanese Salad ($19). It is nothing short of amazing. But make no mistake, their Beef Kabob ($27) and their Filet Mignon Kabob ($31) is why Open Sesame is a world class establishment.

Their spices and cooking techniques are truly awe-inspiring. You can really taste the time and effort that has gone into cooking these meals. We are really lucky to have such a great restaurant in our vicinity. Open Sesame has been open since 1999 and we have owner Ali Kobeissi to thank for that. He has been quoted saying” I believe that we are transformed by the life force of the food we eat, that is an essential component of who we become. I have never compromised the quality and time necessary to translate that understanding into my work.”

On behalf of Long Beach and the rest of the world, I would like to personally thank you Mr. Kobeissi for creating your wonderful restaurant. Your team of courteous, smart and smiling people chock-full of personality genuinely makes dining out the fun and memorable time it is intended to be. I hear you also have another Open Sesame in Los Angeles that is just as rad but who cares as long as we got one here!

I highly recommend you and your family visiting Ali Kobeissi’s Open Sesame on 2nd Street. It is a marvelous escapade into the vortex of a great time.

Go eat for yourself.

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