DINERS in Jeddah are always looking for the next trendy and fun place to eat at and be seen at. Java Lounge and Senses were once the hottest places to dine at in this Red Sea coastal city. Not any more. Now, Balsamico 2 in the Diner’s Square on Malek Road, and Sushi Yoshi in the Attalah Center near the Sheraton Hotel on the North Corniche, are the in places to be seen at.
Somewhere in the middle of the latest cool places to eat at are places like the relatively new Manhattan Fish Market, which opened on Andalus Street next to Ruby Tuesday’s last September.
Part of a Malaysian chain of seafood restaurants, with branches in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Manhattan Fish Market has been struggling to make a mark on the local food scene that is extremely fickle and hard to please. But it has all the necessary attributes: A contemporary and trendy design which isn’t overwhelming, very friendly staff and good food.
“We have a good turn-out during lunch time because there are many offices nearby,” said Jojo Talisayon, the restaurant manager. “But we’ve also had a harder time introducing this brand to Saudis as this is our chain’s first branch in Saudi Arabia.”
I recently ate dinner at the restaurant with a friend and was pleased by the whole experience. We both had the Manhattan Seafood Chowder soup to begin with (SR22), which was appropriately tomatoey and fishy tasting. We shared a portion of Garlic Butter Mussels (SR42), which are flown in from New Zealand. Use the sliced French bread that is served with them to sop up the garlicky sauce that covers the mussels.
For the main course, I opted for the Manhattan Flaming Prawns (SR69), which were served with delicious Garlic Butter Rice. My friend had the Grilled Platter for one (SR76), which was a combination of fish and prawns. If you want something more grand, go for the Grilled Flaming Lobster which costs SR270.
If you have children, they can have Fish and Chips for SR18 or Calamari Rings with Orange Juice for SR18.
Throughout the meal we drank Iced Lemon Tea (SR12), which was constantly refilled by our attentive Filipino waiter. For dessert, we shared a Manhattan Mud Pie (SR26), which was a combination brownie-chocolate ice cream cake that was a wonderful end to the meal.
“We’re planning to open another branch of this restaurant this year in Jeddah,” added Talisayon, who is optimistic that business will pick up once people have tried the restaurant.
For reservations call +966-2-614-1900.