My partner’s birthday comes quickly after Christmas and as we’re usually abroad around it, present buying is a nightmare and I usually resort to a ‘home-made promise’. As we were visiting Tel Aviv a few months later, I bought a voucher for one of the most acclaimed restaurants, “Manta Ray”:http://mantaray.co.il/index.php/cont-en Manta Ray.
Our guide book suggested we were in for a treat of ‘wonderful fresh fish and seafood cooked in a Middle Eastern style’.
As we expected it to be popular, we walked there on our first day to book a table for dinner later in the week. The restaurant is right on the beach front at the southerly end of the coastline and further than we’d anticipated. So, having arrived around 1pm, we tried to get a table for lunch.
Despite being a Sunday, we were surprised to be told there was no problem and of course a table was available: and not just any old table, a table for four, outside and on the front row.
The simple “menu”:http://mantaray.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LunchDinnerEn.pdf is predominantly fish based, but there are a few meat dishes to satisfy carnivores. Starters are restricted to mezze and bread and we saw huge trays of small dishes being brought to tables for people to choose from.
We decided to share mains only and ordered tuna in a carrot and ginger sauce with mashed potato and sautéed prawns with gnocchi in a crab sauce. Both were placed in the middle, so we could share.
The food was excellent. There was a huge brick of thick tuna and the soft and silky mashed potato was served in a separate saucepan. The prawns needed a little undressing, so we saved them, and messy fingers until the end. It didn’t disappoint with a subtle creamy crab sauce coating the gnocchi beautifully.
We also had our first bottle of Israeli Sauvignon Blanc. Very good too. As the afternoon wore on, it became busier but we were very comfortable and not pushed to finish and vacate our table.
This is not a cheap place – our two courses with wine came to around £100 but what can’t be beaten is the view overlooking the beach with views of Jaffa, the breeze in our hair and fish fresh from the sea. It’s also renowned for brunch and sunset cocktails.