I can’t imagine a more ideal place to open a restaurant than in Caesarea. The resort on the coast north of Netanya has so much going for it: well-preserved historical ruins, the waves lapping on the golden sand, the fresh air.
The staff at Aresto are all as friendly and helpful as staff can be. From the charming hostess who greeted us, to the manager who came for a chat, to the waiting staff, everyone did their bit to make our visit a pleasant one.
I wish I could write as fulsomely about the food. This turned out to be something of a disappointment. We were expecting to have a great fish meal, as this is a dairy restaurant, and were told that there were no fish dishes available. There were salads, some quite creative ideas, like Camembert in focaccia roasted in the tabun, and pasta.
What's on the menu?
We gave our orders – the above cheese dish and cauliflower florets as starters, with gnocchi and a salad as mains. After a short interval, the gnocchi arrived. We pointed out that we had not yet eaten our starters.
“Well this was ready, so I brought it,” said the waiter by way of explanation.
It was actually very good. The gnocchi was well cooked and nestled in truffle butter with a mix of mushrooms and Parmesan (NIS 72).
The Camembert dish finally arrived and proved to be quite original in concept. But a good Camembert should be smelly and runny, while this one was so fresh it might just have come off the supermarket shelf. Full marks, however, for creativity, and also for the fresh crispy focaccia and the roasted garlic that enhanced the dish (NIS 52).
The fried cauliflower was fairly standard, as was the sweet chili sauce, which I suspect came straight out of a bottle (NIS 58).
The salad never arrived. No matter, we had eaten enough. There was still the dessert course to come, and we chose a chocolate mousse bar with nougat. This was acceptable, a crispy base holding a not-too-sweet chocolate topping with a good, crunchy tuile decorating the top.
On a more positive note, we ended the meal with a very good cappuccino, said our farewells and spent an hour exploring the Roman ruins, with well-preserved sarcophagi and capitals of ancient pillars just lying casually around. Well worth a visit for tourists and locals.
ArestoThe Port, Caesarea053-937-7866Open: Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.Friday: 9 a.m-3 p.m.Saturday: Half an hour after ShabbatKosher: Badatz Ben-Yosef certification
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.