Issue No.
44, December 2001 Latest update 9 of July 2007, at 6.25 am
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Iftar In Gaza

Al Sammak Ghornata
Al Rasheed Street - Gaza City
Tel: 08-2840107, Fax: 08-2836204
Open daily till midnight

There is something very romantic about dinning by the seashore and as more restaurants opened adjacent to the Gaza beach, competition has become increasingly stiff. With the air to surface missile attacks of late, one would have thought that the restaurants have closed down. But to my utter delight, they were all open and ready for business. A special Ramadan Iftar, with the fish of the day as the main meal, was the attraction of the sea front.

With such a wide range of restaurants by the seashore (at least 10), there was something especially attractive about Al Sammak Ghornata.

The attraction is not the décor, which is unusually tacky, with a wooden roof and rough stonewalls, accentuated by an indoor waterfall, making you feel as if you were underground. The large (the place seats at least 60 people) rectangular restaurant is clean and the tablecloths all washed, the waiters are all tall and handsome and very, very polite, as Gazans tend to be.

The Ramadan meal at Al Sammak Ghornata consists of a delicious vegetable soup, a mezze for ten people, with only the Cole slaw slightly out of place in an otherwise very Middle Eastern menu, and the humus leaving something to be desired. Then comes the ultimate hot appetizer, zibdieh, a delicious clay pot dish, which consists of shrimps baked in a stew of olive oil, garlic, hot peppers, and peeled tomatoes. Some have compared it to Shrimps Creole served in five star New Orleans restaurants, and for those who love hot and baking, this is the place to be. The main meal is the fish from the catch of the day; in any case, a nice Denis, grilled or baked, depending on one's preference, with potatoes and vegetables in season, is always a good choice.

Few people have discovered this great secret by the Gaza shore and a delicious secret Al Sammak Ghornata is!!

Special meals should be ordered in advance.

Note: The views expressed here reflect the experiences of the Phantom Diner at the restaurant listed.

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