Han Manoli is an oriental restaurant situated at Jaffa’s flea market, inside an interesting historical building bearing the same name. While they don’t take reservation on Fridays, we had no problem finding a table for two at around 12:00. When we left, almost 2 hours later, a large group of tourists were turned away at the door because almost all tables were occupied.
Han Manoli is a pretty small restaurant with few tables inside and about two more outside.The tables themselves are short and narrow and to be frank, ill fitted for sharing even two dishes simultaneously. We visited the place when the weather was freezing cold with strong winds. A fact that did not encourage the staff to close the front door, forcing people to dine with coats and scarves on.
The menu is comprised of dishes ranging from 26₪ ($6.4) to 74₪ ($19). The largest section on the menu is of their specialty – Musabaha. Besides a large variety of Musabaha you can also find a “From the Field” section with 4 vegetarian options, and “From the Land” section with dishes such as Lamb Couscous with Root Vegetables (56₪\$14.5) and Mixed Grill of Offal (64₪\$16.5). At this point we were under the impression the menu is pretty cool. Boy, were we in for a surprise.
We decided to sample a few dishes from different sections of the menu. We asked for recommendations for Musabaha, and were offered the Sea Monsters Musabaha (54₪\$14), a name which is quite reaching for a dish that is essentially a small plate of Musabaha with calamari on top. Yes, it’s a pretty unique combination, and the taste was nice but far from providing full value for its price.
The second dish we chose from the special presented to us by out waitress. By the way, there were far too many specials to be recited by a waitress. It would have made much more sense to write those down, somewhere. The dish Meagre Kebab with Tabbouleh of Bulgur with Wild Herbs and Goat Yogurt. The dish was adequate but inconsistent as one of the kebabs was pretty dry. The pita bread that came along with the dish was hard and stale, like the type you might find in a supermarket. No self respecting hummus place would serve this type of pita bread.
After finishing these two dishes we were still hungry so we decided to try another dish of “From the Field” section. We opted for the most intriguing item there – the Burik with Hummus, Harissa and Poached Egg. The dish was lacking one main thing – flavor and was totally bland.
Let’s talk a little bit about the service, or actually the lack of one. It felt like the staff hardly made an effort and was just phoning it in. We left more than half of the Burik dish on the plate; no one asked us anything about it when removing the plates. In fact, no one asked us about the food at any point. Yes, it’s a hummus place after all but with these prices you expect more. In most hummus places you’ll pay much less and probably experience a lot more welcoming and accommodating service.
The drink I had, Cold Wild Herb Tea, was probably the best thing about the meal.
Han Manoli offers two dessert options: Banana Basbousa with Tahini and Yogurt and Malabi with sour cream, pomegranates and crumbles, both will set you back 28₪ ($7). I really hoped to end this meal on a positive note. However to my disappointment this dessert was a disaster. A small glass with far too much crumble and not enough Malabi. And the taste of the Malabi? There was none. Pretty outrageous given the price.
To sum it up we spent close to 200₪ ($51.5) for three small dishes, one catastrophic dessert and one cold tea. For a similar price you can have an amazing brunch at Claro.
If you’re in the mood for hummus, there are much better options which cost much less. If you’re looking for a nice place to eat in the Jaffa Flea Market area, there are far better options (Shaffa Bar, Onza, Pundak deluxe, Cafe Puaa to name a few).
Han Manoli Online:
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