We had been a bit disappointed with Carthage and caught the TGM, the light rail back toward Sidi Bou Said. But instead of getting off there, we just went to the end of the line to La Marsa. We had really enjoyed the "vibe" and folks in that little seaside village when we visited. We were also lining up lunch. Rafael, that regular visitor to Dar Amilcar, recommended a restaurant in La Marsa named Le Golfe.
So we got off in La Marsa and like before were totally confused. We knew the address and hailed a cab. But after trying to converse with us for about 30 seconds he drove off. Just then a friendly looking gentleman eating an ice cream cone walked over and asked us.....
"you speak English?"
We both immediately answered, "Yes, do you?"
He smiled and nodded side to side, "No....."
It was really funny. He put his hand up with a single finger pointing to the sky and placed a call on his cellphone. A few minutes later a young lady, obviously his daughter appeared. Alright, she must speak English, right? The first thing she told me was.....
"I don't speak English!"
Me, laughing: "But, you are speaking English!"
Her: "That is all I speak....."
This was hilarious. We were all laughing. Finally, I displayed the address of the restaurant. I didn't know that I had the phone number on the listing. The nice gentleman used his own cell phone and called the restaurant and got directions. I recall hearing some thing about "tourists...." He then hailed us a cab and gave the driver directions. Our cabbie was very serious looking. The drive was very short, the restaurant was a couple of blocks from the waterfront in a very upscale looking residential area. The fare was just 1.5 TND, about 95 cents! I gave the driver 4 TND and obviously thinking that I didn't know how to calculate prices tried to give me back my money. I explained to him that it was all for him. After all, the distance was so short. 4 TND is basically $2.50. We really enjoyed La Marsa.
The look is very modern.
We'd arrived before lunch service, but the nice woman told us to go ahead and have a seat. So we took the table overlooking the beach just steps away.
You gotta love the view.
Then the woman came up to us and told us it would be a short while for lunch since service hadn't started yet. We were just happy that they let us in and we were able to take in the wonderful view. But she also brought over some water and even asked us if we were going to have wine with lunch. They could get us started on that right away. So of course we got the Blanc Magnifique. They even brought bread over.
How nice was that? We would have been happy just to have waited, this gracious hospitality just made this experience so nice.
The Missus and I decided to just go for it and order whatever we felt like.
Since we've ordered it everywhere, we decided to get the Salade Mechouia (10 TND ).
Overall, this was good, but not the best we had in terms of just plain flavor. A good salade mechouia has a very pleasant savory-smokiness, this one was good.
The Salade de la Mer (21TND) was very nice and refreshing.
Our favorite dish of the meal was the Seches Grillees (14TND).
Baby cuttlefish, so tender and full of flavor, simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and yes, a good amount of cumin. Grilled over olive wood, which seems to impart a nice smokey flavor which really brings out the sweet aspect of salt.
Goodness, this was possibly the best thing I ate in Tunisia!
The Missus had some reservations over my ordering Les Carpaccio de Bouef (20TND). But they were out of Carppacio de poisson on this day. We were rewarded with a refreshing and delicious dish.
Served on a ice cold slate. This was excellent.
Like the mechouia, because we order it everywhere, we got the merguez (11TND).
This was very nice, though in line with other versions we had during our trip.
We enjoyed a nice relaxing meal. The place started filling up with what seemed to be a combination of ex-pat/foreign officials and well to do locals. In all we spent about $70 US.....we've spent more at a "gastro-pub" in San Diego that didn't even come close to this in terms of food and service. This was by far the best meal we had in Tunisia.
We walked back to La Marsa and the TGM. As we crossed one of the streets I heard the honk of car horn. A cab passed me by, arm outstretched, waving to us. It was the cabbie who dropped us off at Le Golfe! In fact, everytime he'd see us, we'd hear a honk and without a doubt he'd be smiling and waving to us. For a $1.50 tip, we had a friend for life it seems! Such was life in La Marsa I guess.
Thanks for reading!