Calis Kitchen brings SoCal to Manly’s Laneways

Which is your favourite? Southern California, Mexico or the expanse of Latin America? Well the good news is that you don’t need to choose your favourite when you can enjoy the tastes of them all at Cali’s Kitchen

Anyone familiar with Manly has most likely ended up (or started at cocktail hangout Donny’s Bar), tiptoe up the very tight spiral staircase and a world of adventure meets you in a cute New York loft style space with drop lighting, concrete floors, a long bar illuminated with candles and cascading greenery.

Prawn Tostada

It’s a Friday night and the pretty young beachy people are all here, strappy dresses, thongs and a lot of laughter and friendship. Head Chef Gabriel Rodrigues (ex Icebergs) has created a riot of a seriously mind blowing tastes the hero being his prawn tostada. Its tapestry of flavours. A cripsy corn tortilla topped with sweet poached Yamba prawns, green tomatillo salsa and topped with a herb salad. Each element pops, sizzles and there is a bit of a stunned silence. WOW. That was amazing. The Holy Guacamole is lifted out of the ordinary thanks to a pico de gallo salsa and shaved ricotta along with a generous amount of tortillas.

We break up eating with drinking. A green machine of a cocktail is coming our way. Elderflower and Jalepeno Southside with Beefeater Gin and a spicy salt rim is delicious. The Stormy Mule is a refreshing blend of Havana 3, muddled coriander with ginger beer.

Ancient grain salad and cocktails

Smalls continue with a balanced ceviche of kingfish in a cold pressed green apple dressing, eschalot and chives. Next up are the tacos; halloumi is paired with guac, slaw, tomato salsa and cholula hot sauce. If pork on your fork is your thing, this taco is elevated to new levels with jalapeño, slaw and a smoky chipotle mayonnaise. ‘Bigs’ include a cubano sandwich – a monster toastie of pulled pork, melted swiss cheese, and sprightly pickles. Ancient grain quinoa salad with faro, barley, pomegranate, pico de gallo and Baja dressing says it all really. Sourcing, spicing and creativity of flavours.

Cali Kitchen 7 Market Place,Manly NSW 2097
Hours: 5pm to 11pm Mon to Fri; 12pm-11am Saturday and 2pm-10pm

Check out – Sunday ‘Bottomless Fiestas’ featuring endless endless margaritas and a three-course Cali feast for $75pp; and Wednesday night Barbaroca meat platters for $30pp which includes tacos, braised wagyu beef brisket, pulled pork and house pickles.

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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