Instead of cooking this weekend we went to a restaurant right on the beach in Herzliya called Al Hamaim (on the water). I even brought along my camera as I have turned into a bonafide blogger and couldn’t miss an opportunity for a restaurant review. Al Hamaim is a seafood restaurant that serves Asian as well as traditional European inspired dishes with a Middle Eastern twist. Although their Asian specialties are good, even very good, nothing tastes like the food I ate in Thailand so it is an unfair comparison
I ordered grilled bass with creamed spinach, rice and steamed vegetables, my favorite dish and my husband had a Vietnamese seafood platter with a luscious coconut based curry. The restaurant has the rare combination of being formal enough to take business colleagues and relaxed enough for children, with comfortable chairs, good acoustic wood construction, crisp white ironed tablecloths and a view of Mediterranean. According to the waiter, who memorized the specials down to the last cream sauce and parsley sprig, many tourists, mostly from Europe, frequent their establishment as well.
This is one of the only restaurants we go to in Herzliya because it is close to the beach and the children can entertain themselves on the boardwalk right opposite the large glass windows so it is easy to keep an eye on them. Our favorite time to come is in winter when the interior is especially inviting with the woodstove in the corner and outside the beach is deserted and the sea takes on stormy shades of gray.* This sunny and hot weekend the beach was packed with young people and it seemed like one big party.
Presenting Herzliya beach:
Hip hop, no care in the world version:
This weekend Herzliya was jammed packed and rockin’, like a Middle Eastern Copacabana, with the tiniest bikinis, tannest tans and everyone grooving to the sound of the waves and matkot players (One of the greatest Israeli inventions, beachside paddle ball). The beach cafes line the board walk with large white umbrellas and serve ice cold beer and mint lemonade. Everybody’s favorite pastime is to people gaze and let me tell you there is plenty to look at. It is a perfect destination for relaxing in the sun.
As soon as the boys hit the beach they insisted on running in three different directions and getting lost in the crowds. I felt like I was in a detox program, sweating as if I was on my last lap of a marathon. Of course I couldn’t go in the water because I insisted on bringing the camera to photograph the food and now I had to babysit it as well. It was nearly impossible to get the boys to stand still for long enough to slather them with sun screen and I held their swimming trunks to keep them jumping in the sea naked. I was frantic the boys were going to disappear under the waves while practicing their dead man’s float, and I was annoyed because I couldn’t reasonably rescue them with the camera. My three year old decided to take a long meandering walk to check out the girls sand castles and I had to tag after him to make sure he wasn’t going collide with a whizzing matkot ball. He kept jumping into other children’s sand castles by “accident” and I ended up apologizing up and down the strip to wailing toddlers.
Ok kids, we are going home! “
“But we are having sooooo much fun!!, we want to stay!”
“Yalla enough for one day.”
Truth is in the middle and I had fun practicing candid photography and snapped away at all the commotion going on around me. When people noticed I was photographing them I was witness to all kinds of posing-tushes went out, stomach in, shoulders straightened, all of them hoping I was working for a model agency, searching for the next supermodel.
*The only thing I would recommend for Al Hayam is to buy another air conditioner, it is summer in Israel after all.