The new Papagaio Prime, formerly Market Arena, is my kind of restaurant.
The restaurant is located in the Arena mall at the Herzlia Boat Marina. Park your car in the underground lot as close to the yellow section as you can and elevator up to the first floor. Parking is free. With the exception of one or two low steps you can consider this a wheelchair friendly restaurant. Rest rooms are on the dining level.
Everything at this restaurant is as you like it, including the seating. There is indoor seating and outdoor seating overlooking the Marina. Inside the tables suit the size of your party, whatever it may be. There are bar stools of every height: standard tall bar stools and more comfortable bar chairs on an elevated platform alongside the bar. There is also a private room with glass doors that can seat about 50 people comfortably. Keep that in mind when you make your next party.
This new restaurant is vintage Papagaio with Brazilian music and atmosphere. The restaurant offers three options: the Brazilian menu, an a la carte menu, and the Juntos, their specialty, which is a mix of meats that you can order by weight. How does the Juntos work? You can order a platter of either 800 grams or 1200 grams (nis 245) of grilled meats. Your order is delivered to the center of your table in a sizzling pan, to be shared by your party. The quality of the meat, they tell me, at Papagaio Prime, is the best that they have ever had. Try it and find out.
When you take your seat you will be offered a refreshing grapefruit juice cocktail with herbs. The menu (in Hebrew and in English) is a one page affair with a short list of starters and a long list “from the Butchery.” Tacked on to the menu is a list of small dishes that you can order for nis 15 each.
We were still trying to figure out the strategy for the evening when the waiter approached our table with a tray of these small dishes. We chose 3 vegetarian salads that were substantial enough to share, and one order of focaccio served with 4 dips. Choosing the starters live, from an actual tray (the way they do with desserts at some restaurants), and not from the list on paper, was very nice. Being able to try several small portions and get explanations from the waiter was fun.
My carnivorous companion struggled to choose his main course from among the many meat dishes. They range from the less expensive hamburger to the rib eye and sirloin steak. You will never guess what he chose! Thankfully the meat dishes come in two sizes: 300 grams and 500 grams which is probably good for sharing.
I was up for a modest main course that evening and I was please to see that the fish dish could be ordered with two fillets or with just one. The one expertly prepared and totally delicious fillet was served on a bed of roasted vegetables in a tin pan right out of the oven. Speaking of right out of the oven, my companion’s rib eye steak was served on a sizzling platter-size skillet with crispy chips and roasted onions and tomatoes. The dish was so large he could not finish all the chips – a first for him.
All of these dishes were served up by a delightful waitress who is clearly enthusiastic both about the concept and the food.
We were treated to an ice cream dessert with toppings of your choice. Again, you choose. On a tray at our table, a half-liter container of parve ice cream was placed on a cold metal sheet. We chose from 6 different toppings which were then cut and blended into the ice cream before our eyes. The blended result was then distributed into two dessert bowls so that we could both enjoy this creative dessert.
The menu and all the foods are under the skillful hand of Chef Guy Harel who comes to this restaurant with a great culinary background. He launched his career with Chef Kadosh, went on to receive a culinary degree in France, experience in two well known French restaurants, work with Chef Ezra Kedem back in Israel, and more.
In conclusion: my companion and I enjoyed a lovely dinner on the outdoor deck overlooking the boat marina. It was a beautiful evening. The food was delicious. The service, excellent. It was a “what a wonderful world” moment. B’teavon!