Casa Nova 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Anewcomer to the Jaffa restaurant scene, Casa Nova offers an interesting fusion
– South American and Thai food.
When I first heard this, I was a little
apprehensive but also excited because I knew that I liked both types of
The restaurant is located in a charming Jaffa building with a
curved stone roof that could be described as a cave. The old-world style
building is contrasted by the modern design of the interior, which is filled
with bright oranges, reds and yellows.
My roommate and I sat at the bar
overlooking the kitchen, which gave us a chance to see all the action up close.
We ordered a couple of cocktails from our genial waiter to get in the mood and
worked our way through the extensive menu. It is one of those menus that need a
lot of scanning because all the dishes have so many elements, and many of them I
had never seen before.
For starters I ordered De Pescado (NIS 38), which
consisted of the catch of the day (tuna), red onion, cilantro, roasted corn,
lime and cream of chili. I asked for mine a little less spicy but it still had a
great fresh taste, which didn’t surprise me, as I saw them cut all the
vegetables and fish right in front of my eyes. The tuna was of excellent
quality, and all the flavors worked well together.
My roommate went for
the salmon tostada (NIS 36), which she found hard to cut into because it looked
like a work of art. The layers of roasted tortilla, smoked salmon, sour cream,
red onion and pickled jalapeno tasted just as good as it looked. Although the
smoked salmon and sour cream could be considered very Jewish-American, the
flavors used here had a distinct South American feel.
After the success
of the first courses, I was very excited about the main dishes, and I wasn’t
disappointed. I had a dish called Vatapa (NIS 74), which was roasted fish filet
in a peanut, cashew, herbs, chili and coconut milk sauce. This is where the
South American-Thai fusion really started to be felt. Every mouthful was
slightly different, with some reminding me of great Thai food I have eaten,
while others reminded me of food that I ate while traveling round South
Again, the fish was a very high standard, and the creaminess of
the sauce was complemented by the crunchiness of the nuts. For a side dish I
chose the roasted sweet potatoes, which were but tasty.
Moving away from
the fish theme, my friend went for Lomito a lo pobre (NIS 98) – seared beef
tenderloin topped with chimichuri butter, anise and a sunny-side up egg. She
chose mashed potatoes as a side dish. For me, the anise flavor was far too
strong and overpowered the whole dish. On the other hand, if you like that
strong flavor, then this dish is for you. Aside from the strong anise taste, the
meat was well cooked and the egg added something a little special.
another cocktail each and all the tasty food, we only wanted something small for
dessert. And we were in luck. We shared Brigadeiro (NIS 14), which are balls of
toffee chocolate candy that hail from Brazil.
I am lucky enough to know
all about this delicacy because of my Brazilian roommate; but for those who are
not familiar with it, I must point that it is extremely sweet and rich. And so
Although we were full, we still found the room to order another
small dessert called Suspiro (NIS 18.) The dulce de leche mousse topped with
meringue was served in a shot glass and was the perfect end to a great
Jaffa is full of great restaurants, and Casa Nova is a welcome new
addition. It enjoys a prime location, with those who sit outside being able to
enjoy a full, unspoiled sea view with Tel Aviv in the background. The
combination of an old building and modern interior is very fitting for this
place that uses established dishes and adds modern touches to create something
With its reasonable prices, funky atmosphere and friendly
service, I believe that Casa Nova will be become well established on the Jaffa
dining scene.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher 48 Retsif Ha’aliya Hashniya Street, Jaffa Tel: (03) 541-3636 Open
Monday to Saturday from 6 p.m. till the last person leaves