A Night in Manly

What’s not to like about Manly – It’s beautiful, it’s amazing, plenty of smiley people (with whitegood style teeth) and some amazing food places. Some of you have read my review of Papi Chulo, which is certainly a fine establishment in Manly. I love variety so I am keen to experience some different bars over in Manly – tonight is going to be that night.

It’s a relaxing evening in Manly, the ferry ride is quite a treat….the view is amazing.


I take a stroll to Manly and there are some beautiful stalls doing some cool paella and cupcakes. It’s very chillaxed mood, which is what I love about Manly. The waft of the amazing food in the street stalls make me hungry, so I am definitely in the mood for food now!

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Jah Bar 

I head to a cool tapas bar, which is a little hidden in the back streets of Manly (away from the beach). It’s quite trendy and the food is just so amazing! It’s Jah Bar!

I am seated at the bar and am attended to by a lovely host and get to say hi to the cool chefs. Here’s what I order:

Beef Empanadas 


There are the Beef Empanadas which are lovely, crisp crumbly pastry encases the soft braised beef filling! Oh so amazing.

Zucchini Flowers

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The crispy batter around the flowers is punctured to reveal a soft goats cheese and the polenta. The spice of the chilli just cuts through the polenta and goats cheese. It’s quite a treat. This dish has it all, textures( the beautiful grainy polenta filling), taste and of course aesthetics.

The Pate 


The pate is amazing, velvety rich with the distinct liver taste, spread on the crusty bread. It’s an absolute treat.

The Tempranillo  


The wine is amazing. It has this rich, fruity and full-bodied taste with no real tannin bite. Lovely easy drinking wine from Valencia in Spain.

Overall, the service, food and handy work of the chefs (presentation, timeliness etc.) is perfect. In fact sitting at the bar gave me a great view over the food prep and here are some dishes which are on my list for next time. I would rate this as one of the better tapas joints in Sydney!!

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Havana Beach

I leave Jah Bar, headed to the winery when a lovely girl who is with a friend approaches me and tells me she is fining me $100 for “dressing too well” in Manly. I thought I was casually dressed but anyway…. Plus she decides to fine me another $100 for not having my passport on me (on grounds that I live on the other side of the bridge – Sydney has this weird tribal thing going). There are certainly some interesting (but friendly) people out there in Manly. I love it.

We start chatting and she and her friend invite me to gate crash a Birthday party at Havana Beach – In total random Travel Czar fashion, I ditch my plans for The Winery and head over to the party. The music’s on, the people are cool and the drinks are flowing.

They tell me the mojitos are free – but I feel guilty and pay for mine.  I have a quick chat to the group, they are actually really nice / amazing people. Eventually there are too many “so how do you know the birthday boy” questions and eventually I decide to bid everyone farewell (lest I get thrown out) and head over to my next port of call.


Institu Bar 

Institu is pumping, the music’s on, the wine and cocktails flow and of course there is a real “look at moi” vibe going. I love Manly. I am joined at my table by a group who have nowhere to sit and gatehr around me. The guys tell me that the girl sitting opposite me has her birthday today! I wish her a happy birthday, she flashes a beautiful “it’s moi birfday” smile. The girls have a whole bunch of cool cocktails going (which I am going to try next time I am here). I love the randomness of the evening…. anyway onto the most important part, the food & wine. Here’s what I have:

Tangy beef cheeseburger sliders


The cheeseburgers are good. Probably not as good as the Black (Ezard) ones. The beef patties are juicy, there is the beautiful tang of mayonnaise and the the richness of the cheese which complete the dish.

Cajun chicken skewers with caesar mayonnaise


It’s a lovely dish, the light Cajun seasoning provides a real kicker. The chicken is tender and succulent and the mayonnaise adds a little creaminess to the dish to round it out.

Kudos Cabernet Sauvignon (2005, Pyrenees, Victoria)


The wine just oozes the full fruit flavours of blackberries, there are hints of chocolate and a bit of a light minty aftertaste. It’s your typical Cabernet Sauvignon – purrrfect.

I finish for the night and head-off to catch my ferry. The ferry ride home is amazing with beautiful fireworks next to the Opera House.

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