Address: 1/39 East Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095
Tel: (02) 9977 0707
Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner
12noon to 3.00pm
5.30pm to 10.00pm
* * *
After our Ghost Tour of Manly, we were quite hungry as it was 8.00pm by the time we finished the tour.
We had decided on dinner at Garfish in Manly. Garfish has won numerous awards and is famous for its delicious seafood. Some of these awards include the 2011, 2010 and 2009 Best Seafood Restaurant and 2008 and 2010 Best Informal Seafood Restaurant.
Outside Garfish restaurant, Manly
I had rung earlier to make a booking but was told that they only take bookings 1 hour before. We called again at 8.00pm confident that we would get a table, as 8.00pm was quite late for dinner, and were able to book a table for 8.30pm. By the time we got there it was only 8.15pm but we were soon seated, a row in from the window.
The atmosphere was great as the restaurant was bustling with busy waiters, the chatter of happy customers, and the sounds of a busy kitchen. Garfish is unusual in that the kitchen is visible from the dining area. While at first I found this a little odd, I realised that it actually improves the atmosphere of the restaurant as diners are able to see and smell the food being cooked, which only adds to the experience.
Service was great and our waiter had soon brought out menus for us and taken our drink orders (still water, pear cider and my old favourite, lemon lime bitters!).
Acqua Panna Still Water, $5.00- sorry for the blurry picture!
Monteith’s crushed pear cider ($9.00) and lemon lime bitters ($3.50)
We ordered some wood fired focaccia with caramelised garlic and rosemary. It was the perfect way to start off the meal as the bread was soft and warm, unlike some focaccias I have had which were a little tough. The olive oil and garlic was deliciously moreish and before long we had eaten it all up!
Wood fired focaccia, $4.00
It took some time for me to decide what I wanted for dinner. The specials menu was enticing, with diners able to choose:
a) the type of fish;
b) how it was cooked e.g. grilled, grilled with chilli, crumbed etc; and
c) the way it was served e.g. chilli broth and wontons, with bacon and asparagus, with mash, as fish and chips etc.
The restaurant’s normal menu included dishes from the wood oven and typical mains such as fish and chips, indian fish curry and squid ink angel hair pasta.
I decided on the Moreton Bay Bugs (MBB) as a main, with a side of wood roasted vegetables with balsamic dressing and parmesan.
When my meal came out I was given an implement which was used to scrape out the meat from the tail, a bowl for the shells, and a finger bowl so, as the waiter suggested, I could “get messy.”
There were 4 MBBs, served with aioli and brushed with lemon and garlic butter. I removed all the meat from the shells straight away and squeezed a generous amount of lemon over it, as I love the tangy taste of citrus on seafood. The MBBs were well-cooked as they were soft yet firm, and had turned opaque.
Moreton Bay Bugs (400g) brushed with lemon and garlic butter and served with aioli, $37.50
The wood roasted vegetables included roasted capsicum, kipfler potatoes, zucchini, and cauliflower. They had some bite to them and went well with my MBBs, which are usually served quite plain so that the flavour of the bugs can be enjoyed. However I did find that the vegetables were a little oily and more dressing on them than I prefer.
Wood roasted vegetables with balsamic and parmesan, $7.50
My dining companion chose the Garfish from the specials menu, crumbed and served with asparagus, kipfler potatoes, bacon and sautéed cabbage. He wanted to try the signature dish which the restaurant was named after, and being a schnitzel lover, went for the crumbed option!
Crumbed garfish with asparagus, bacon, kipfler potatoes and sautéed cabbage, $30.00
He was pleased with the size of the portion and actually struggled to finish it after eating the garlic focaccia. He commented on how fresh and well-cooked he thought the garfish was.
However, he was not too keen on the asparagus and side dish, and I had to help him finish it off! As with the wood roasted vegetables, the side was a little too oily.
Overall, both dishes were enjoyable and we thought the food was tasty and of good quality.
We were too full after dinner to get dessert, but we decided on a walk around the wharf, and ended up at Max Brenner Manly.
The meal cost us $95.00 all up.
Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):
- Service- 8
- Food- 8
- Ambience- 8
- Value – 7