The Best Dinner Date I Ever Had: Tamaroff and her husband begin new tradition in 2023


Emmanuelle Tamaroff, world language teacher, ate octopus at The Benevolent King during her dinner date with her husband in January. Tamaroff and her husband have started to go on monthly dates to try new places in the area.

Daniel Carrillo, Reporter

The best dinner date Emmanuelle Tamaroff, world language teacher, had was in January of 2023. 

“Me and my husband tend to order a lot of to-go food, but we are literally going out and we’re going to do a local restaurant and then an activity afterwards. We started the dinner dates in January. So I chose to surprise him. He had no idea where we were going, and it’s a place we’ve never been to. I asked for suggestions on Facebook with my friends, and I had so many recommendations for one called the Benevolent King. So we went there, and then I got tickets for a basketball game, and we went to see that afterwards. In February, it’s his turn. So I don’t know where we are going or what are we doing,” Tamaroff said.

The Benevolent King is a Mediterranean restaurant located in Maplewood. Mediterranean food originates from Spain, Morocco and other countries near the Mediterranean Sea.

“It’s super good and local. It’s not too big and they serve uncommon things that you can eat. My husband and I love trying out new restaurants and foods from different ethnicities,” Tamaroff said.

As part of her goals this year, Tamaroff decided to start going on monthly dinner dates with her husband. Her husband, Jeff Tamaroff, is the World Language and ESOL Facilitator for Rockwood.

“I decided after Christmas because it was winter and we felt like staying home and not doing much. We live in the city and wanted to stay in that area. In fact, we moved to the city because there are many local restaurants and places to go and visit. I felt like we hadn’t done that much this year, so I thought why not get to know some of the local places. So once a month we’re gonna go out to eat,” Tamaroff said.

But there are exceptions to the places they’ll go.

“It has to be local, not too far from where we live. And after the food, you take the other to do a fun activity,” she said.

At the Benevolent King, Tamaroff had seafood and her husband ordered meatballs.

“We had snails with garlic butter sauce to start as appetizers, and then I had the smoked octopus, but it was one of the tentacles and it had vegetables around it. The octopus was so good because it had lemon juice on it,” Tamaroff said.

Tamaroff’s favorite cuisine is seafood because it reminds her of her childhood. So when she heard of the restaurant, it was an obvious choice.

“ I was born in the south of France and was raised by the water. That’s where I started being able to eat oysters, muscles and a couple snails. To me that’s the best cuisine. That’s what we eat for Christmas. A lot of oysters, muscles, and snails with garlic butter sauce. It’s delicious,” she said.