In the pretty coastal suburb of La Marsa (20 minutes by taxi from downtown Tunis), Le Golfe is one of the capital’s best-kept culinary secrets. Few tourists head out here to try its tables, although it scores highly with expats and affluent Tunisians. In fact, this place maintains such a low profile that if you’re not looking closely, you might miss the entrance. It’s housed in a smooth, white villa, with a simple, black type plaque on the wall.
Le Golfe is open for lunch and dinner, but we recommend coming during daylight hours, because the view is gorgeous. The outdoor tables are right on the edge of the golden sandy beach, flanked by dwarf palm trees for privacy. Like the views, the food here is impressive; the locavore chef swears by fresh, regional ingredients, emphasizing seafood and locally-grown green fare like spinach, capers and olives.
We started with a traditional mechouia salad, made up of roasted tomatoes, peppers, garlic, caraway seeds and other warming spices. It was presented beautifully, on an elegant white platter, as was the brik and the tangy beef carpaccio, served with creamy curls of parmesan on a platter as cold as snow. The list of entrees changes regularly according to the seasons. Our house-made pesto spaghetti was simple but delicious, and the soy and honey glazed tuna steak was a winner. On the side, we recommend the grilled squid and cuttlefish to share: at once briny, sweet and citrusy.
Because Le Golfe is a little bit off the beaten path, it has escaped the price hikes evident in other upmarket Tunisian restaurants. A meal for two here, including dessert, won’t cost more than US$60. If you have a lunch or an evening to play with and you’re not married to the idea of dining in downtown Tunis, you’ll be richly rewarded. But we recommend booking ahead, especially during spells of warm weather.
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