Tag Archives: Chef Restaurant

Friday Night in Jerusalem – Muna

5 Aug

Recently we have celebrated our second anniversary. We have decided to celebrate it a short weekend at Emek HaElah (Valley of Elah) including sleep in Ein Kerem at Montana Boutique hotel.

When we go on vacation we love to plan it in advanced, searching the internet for the best hotel, the most successful restaurants and exciting places to visit. When we have planned this short trip we knew that eating in this area on Friday night will be challenging as most of the places in Jerusalem are closed due to kosher limitations. We booked in advanced a table for two for the hottest spot (and almost the only place open) in town – Muna.

Muna is a well-known institute in Jerusalem that lately was handover to a new ownership by the people of Machneyuda. While the Machneyuda restaurant have the market vibe, Muna is the older respectful sister among the two. We were offered seven portion tasting meal that was served one by one with long breaks. A dinner in the full sense of the word.

And now for the excuses section in this post – it have been a while since we ate there and not all the courses that were served appear on the menu. The chef is creating the dinner for you according to what you love or hate, so we decided to show you all the portion without too much explanation about each and every dish. We will just say that we have enjoyed every portion, some we liked more and some less but overall all of them were tasty and original for us.

The Check please – 630NIS

Summary

Food: Chef Restaurant
Price: Very expensive
Location:  Jerusalem

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

4 Forks

4 Forks

Contact Details:

Shmuel Hanagid 12, Jerusalem | +972-2-6222283 | http://monarest.co.il/mona/en/

A True Stark – Aria

13 Jul

A while ago I was looking for a nice restaurant for some quality time with my husband, after I didn’t see him for a week while I was in Romania.  The decision was made to Aria, a new restaurant that has been on our “to-do” list for a while. Aria is located in a beautiful reconstructed building that contains 2 floors. The first floor serves as a cocktail bar and the second floor is a classic European restaurant of the promising chef Guy Gamzo. As expected, we choose the restaurant.

Aria Gin and Tonic

Aria Gin and Tonic

Since they have a cocktail bar on the floor below, I decided to start with “Aria Gin and Tonic” that contained (in addition to the basics) cucumber, spring onion, coriander dill & orange that made this cocktail very special and refreshing.

Coquilles St. Jacques

Coquilles St. Jacques

We decided to share three starts and one main dish. For starters we took Coquilles St. Jacques, Porcini mushrooms & Tortellini Raghu. The Coquilles St. Jacques were served in white almond cream and lobster foam that was amazing and we both really liked it. The flavors were fantastic and we had to fight for the leftovers.

Eggs & mushrooms

Eggs & mushrooms

The porcini mushrooms was actually a dish of two minute egg on wild porcini mushrooms & smoked duck. Although I have weakness for soft eggs, this dish did not meet our expectations. It was served in a very special plate but the plate was not made to contain the yolk liquid that spilled over the plate’s socket.

Tortellini Raghu

Tortellini Raghu

The Tortellini Raghu contained generous amount of meat and had the feeling of a beef that was cooked on a low heat for quite a while. The sauce was also quite good and we wiped it with the complimentary bread we were served.

Duck breast

Duck breast

For the main dish we shared the blush duck breast in its broth along with strawberry coulis. Usually we don’t have a lot of opportunities to eat duck. This was a fantastic opportunity as the dish was absolutely amazing. The duck breast was cooked to the right measure and it was pink and soft.  The puree that was served with it was smooth and suited the dish perfectly. A true hit.

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

For dessert we took the open Lemon Tart and Italian meringue with a zest of raspberry jelly. That was only a nice dessert, nothing more. But it did sign a very good meal of European flavors. We would definitely come back.

Summary

Food: Cocktail Bar & Bistro
Price: Expensive
Location: Nachlat Binyamin

The check please (2 people)
Aria Gin and Tonic – 47NIS
Coquilles St. Jacques – 65NIS
Eggs & mushrooms – 48NIS
Tortellini Raghu – 65NIS
Duck breast – 98NIS
Lemon tart – 42NIS
Sparkling water – 11NIS
2 X Espresso – 20NIS
San Miguel – 25NIS

All in all – 421 NIS

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

4.5 Forks

Contact Details: Aria
Address:  66 Nachlat Binyamin St, Tel Aviv | 03-5296054 | http://ariatlv.co.il/

Best of the Best? Mul Yam

27 Jun

When it comes to true fine dining, Tel Aviv doesn’t offer many options. It might be the endless summer dictating the dress code in the city, or it might be that the Israeli cuisine is simply less formal than the European one. Nonetheless, Tel Aviv still possesses one of the most famous seafood fine-dine restaurant in the world – Mul Yam. Mentioned in Les Grandes Tables Du Monde, Mul Yam is arguably the best restaurant in Israel, presenting fish and seafood from all around the world. Matching the price to its products, you will be best to do as we did, and try to go for its Business lunch, available on weekends too.

Arriving a little early for lunch, at about 12:00, we were the first table for the day, and the place looked a bit like a museum, where the white table cloths and the silverware were all still in their exact spot. Even though, and despite the fact the outside windows makes it feel a bit like an aquarium, we were treated very nice by the waitress and haven’t got the feeling of strangers eating in an exclusive Oligarch place.

Looking at the business lunch menu, it seems a 170 NIS is indeed a fair price to pay for such products (at least once in a special occasion). Half a dozen Normandy Oysters, Coquille St. Jacques, Blue Crab and Canadian Lobster will make any seafood enthusiast to drool even before the food comes in. But it did have lot to prove making us say it is the best restaurant in the land of milk and honey.

The bread

The bread

After very good bread as an appetizer, we received two starters: Salmon Sashimi, Japanese Style, of a premium Norwegian Salmon, and Scallop Cassoulet, with lentils and smoked Eggplant sauce. The Salmon was amazing and quite different than the “simple” Sashimi Salmon you would normally get anywhere. The minimalism of the Japanese escorts (Ginger, Wassabi and Soy sauce) were a good idea to keep focus on the brilliant salmon. On the other hand, the Scallop dish rather lacked minimalism. Though the Scallops were seared perfectly, the lentils weren’t that good and the sauce simply took over, which was a shame as the scallop taste got lost there.

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

Scallop Cassoulet

Scallop Cassoulet

Off to the main dishes, we took seafood again: Grilled Langoustine with Lobster sauce and root vegetables, and “Popeye’s” Shrimp, with Turkish spinach, Feta cheese and poached egg. The Langoustine was simply amazing, filled with a lot meat, and juicy from the fabulous sauce – couldn’t get any better. The Shrimp dish was very unique, but it suites a real spinach lover, as it controlled the dish. But again, the Shrimp itself was excellent.

“Popeye’s” Shrimp

“Popeye’s” Shrimp

Grilled Langoustine

Grilled Langoustine

On the dessert section, though we knew there are better ones, we couldn’t help taking the famous “Faberge Egg”, which is basically sugar-made egg, filled with Chestnut ice cream, vanilla cream and caramelized almonds. Though it looks like a real museum piece, you really better off choosing another dessert other than this dull one.

Faberge Egg

Faberge Egg

Wow, how can you summarize such a meal in the one of the most famous places in Tel Aviv? Yes, when you expect the best of the best, you might get a little disappointed, we can’t say we loved every piece in that lunch. Even though, comparing to other restaurants around, it definitely presents a very unique set of products, which you probably know only from the best restaurants around the world. All in all, for 170 NIS for a business lunch it is well worth the experience.

Us

Us

The Check Please (2 people)

Business Lunch X2 – 340 NIS
Fabrege Egg – 70 NIS
Soda Water – 12 NIS
Orange Juice – 13 NIS

All in all: 435 NIS

Summary:

Food: Seafood Chef Restaurant
Price: Very Expensive
Location: Tel Aviv Port

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

4.5 Forks

Contact Details: Mul Yam
Address:  Hanger #23, Tel Aviv Port, Tel Aviv | Phone: 035469920
Opening Hours: Daily 12:30-15:30, 19:30-22:30
http://www.mulyam.com/indexEn.html

Mix and don’t match – The Dining Hall

1 Jun

When you dine at a “chef” restaurant you can expect nothing but the best. Yes, although Omer Miller, the chef of “The Dining Hall” (as well as “The Table” – someone ran out of names), became more famous of his TV appearances than of its restaurants, The Dining Hall is still considered a chef restaurant and should be judges as such. Miller is doing a lot of mix & match and, most of the time, it is simply confusing.

As the site describes, Miller “uses local products”, together with “Mediterranean and European kitchen techniques” includes “well known dishes”, “familiar from home”, “modern, minimal and innovative”. Did your head spin already? Mine have. So yes, Miller actually tries to bring his interpretation of a classic homemade Israeli kitchen. But no, it is hardly enough for a chef restaurant taking these prices.

The Dining Hall Salad

The Dining Hall Salad

Take the Dining Hall Salad for example. Though the fancy serving along with separate boiled egg on the side, the salad was mediocre and had nothing over a regular chopped vegetable salad done at home. The “familiar from home” was way better when it came to the famous chopped liver starter. The dish did make the place famous with real justice as it is a real thick tasteful liver and the fried onions are a great fit to it.

The entrées did not bring any “innovative” part or any special “technique”. We rather picked two meat dishes that we did expect to raise the level of the dinner. The two main courses – 200 gr. Fillet Mignon with Marrow, Potatoes, Carrots and Demi glaze as well as 300 gr. Entrecote with Sweet Potato – were served the same – on top of a cutting board, and were somewhat boring.

Entrecote

Entrecote

On top of that, the Fillet dish was served cold (after the waitress forgot we asked for a different side). When told, it seemed the fillet was re-heated in the microwave, which kind of ruined it for us.
Overall both pieces of beef were not bad, and the roasted vegetables were nice, but we didn’t feel moved at all as you would expect.

When you are planning on spending over 350 NIS for a dinner out you do want to have something special. Though The Dinning Hall food is not bad at all it is not reaching its pricing level nor to its fancy website descriptions. We’ll just consider it as an OK place with a very high price.

The check please (2 people)

The Dining Hall Salad – 32 NIS
Chopped Liver – 32 NIS
200 gr. Filet Mignon – 128 NIS
300 gr. Entrecote – 138 NIS
Coke – 12 NIS
Soda Water – 10 NIS

All in all: 352 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

2.5 Forks

2.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Classic Israeli
Price:  Expensive
Location: Shaul Hamelech

Contact details: The Dining Hall
Address:  23 Shaul Hamelech St, Tel Aviv | 0579443036|
Opening Hours:  Sun-Sat 12:00-00:00 |
http://thedininghall.rest-e.co.il/

Spring is coming – Popina

15 May
Popina

Popina

The spring of 2013 is probably one of the more exciting times to be a restaurant lover in Tel-Aviv. Restaurants are opening up in such a rate even we cannot follow. One after the other, like mushrooms after the rain, promising restaurants such as Hannoi, Taizu, Tiger Lili open up and give us the great opportunities eating some fabulous food. It is definitely the Asian cuisine that having its renaissance around town. Popina, on the other hand, a brand new Chef restaurant, is trying to give a different, unique experience. Oh and it does.

The setting, inside a beautiful classic old building, is combining well with early 20’s century village-like Neve Tzedek atmosphere with its exposed stone walls and interesting wine cellar. Nevertheless, its setting is probably the only “classic” or “old” around. Popina is a modern chef restaurant, focusing on innovative kitchen full of techniques and presentations. And it seems like they really know what they’re doing.

Shrimp "Burger"

Shrimp “Burger”

Starters were somewhat Asian, and probably some of the best we ever had. A Shrimp Burger which came inside steamed bun with aioli sauce was a delicate, perfect dish, and was the star of the dinner. Goose spring rolls in steamed rice rolls and demi glaze weren’t any worse actually and kept a cohesive line of fabulous delicacy. Two other starters of Grilled Calamari with Root vegetables as well as Gin and Tonic Tartar made us feel we are having a really unique and original dinner.

Goose Spring Rolls

Goose Spring Rolls

Grilled Calamari

Grilled Calamari

The two main courses that came after were really exceptional. Braised Veal Check, a dish rarely seen in chef restaurants, was extremely tender and full of deep tastes, while Sea Drum and Scallop Cannelloni did not disappoint at all.

Braised Veal Cheek

Braised Veal Cheek

Sea Drum

Sea Drum

As it seemed the chef sat right by us on the bar, he noticed we are taking pictures. After asking us what we thought about the food, he did promise a surprising dessert. He actually added two desserts for the two we already ordered, and they were all really wonderful. Strawberries soup with tapioca, tiny lemon tarts, steamed mascarpone cake with berry foam and white chocolate with truffle (!) mushrooms ice cream were all amazing, no other word.

Strawberries soup with tapioca

Strawberries soup with tapioca

White Chocolate & Truffles Ice Cream

White Chocolate & Truffles Ice Cream

So yes, we did get two free desserts and no, none of these praises are because of that. Popina is a truly unique place, an oasis of original food at a chef level. Yes, it is expensive for the size of the dishes, but sometimes it is just worth it.

Popina

Popina

The Check Please (4 people)

Gin & Tonic Tartar – 64 NIS
Grilled Calamari – 56 NIS
Shrimp Burger – 48 NIS
Goose Spring Rolls – 58 NIS
Braised Veal Cheek – 98 NIS
Sea Drum and Scallop Cannelloni – 115 NIS
Alaska – 44 NIS
Lemon Tart – 42 NIS
White Chocolate & Truffles – 0
Steamed Mascarpone Cake – 0
Coke – 12 NIS
Soda Water – 12 NIS
Tonic – 12 NIS
Water – 12 NIS
Coke X2 – 24 NIS

All in all: 585 NIS

Summary:

Food: Chef Restaurant
Price: Expensive
Location: Neve Tzedek

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

5 Forks

5 Forks

Contact Details: Popina

Address:  3 Achad Ha’am, Tel Aviv | Phone: 035757477
Opening Hours: Daily 18:00-01:00
http://www.rol.co.il/images/sites/popina/menu/english.html

The Disappointed Tourist – Herbert Samuel

2 Nov
Tel Aviv from the City Lookout Point of Azrieli

Tel Aviv from the City Lookout Point of Azrieli

This year, birthday came early. As Inbar headed off to Spain for a business trip (wait for the post…) she decided to celebrate my birthday by doing a touristic tour in the wonderful city of Tel Aviv. Starting off at the city lookout point of Azrieli Towers, we had some great views of Tel Aviv, the neighboring cities and the sea. A bicycle ride throughout the Tel Aviv boardwalk led to the mystic Montifiore graveyard where all the famous Tel Aviv founders are rested. The final spot at that Friday morning was the chef restaurant of Yonathan Rushfeld – Herbert Samuel.

Famous chef Rushfeld, is the head chef of three different restaurants across Tel Aviv (Tapas Echad Haam, Yavne Montifiore and Herbert Samuel) and also appears as a judge in the Master Chef TV show. While we visited the other two restaurants, Herbert Samuel is considered as Rushfeld’s flagship, one of Tel Aviv best restaurants and a tourist favorite. That in mind, you can understand what were our expectations from the Friday birthday lunch.

Olive oil with balsamic vinegar

Olive oil with balsamic vinegar

Though you can hardly have a view of the sea, the large glass font window allows nice lighting around the place, especially at the fabulous large bar facing the front. Arriving on Friday noon, we knew there’s a good option of an affordable fixed price lunch. The set menu named “Discover Herbert Samuel” includes five courses which we took along with a “regular” Friday lunch set menu.

Eggplant and Tulum Cheese

Eggplant and Tulum Cheese

Throughout the lunch we felt the food was good. We can’t say anything bad about it, really. It’s just that there was very little special about it and most of the food can be found at the same quality in a handful of places around town.

Chopped Raw Grouper and Tuna

Chopped Raw Grouper and Tuna

Take the eggplant and Tulum cheese starter for example. Yes, Tulum cheese gives a nice kick to a light starter. Even though, the Baladi Eggplant is such a boring starter that every restaurant in Tel Aviv serves that event the cheese couldn’t wow us in any way. The other starter, chopped raw Grouper and Tuna fish on top of eggplant cream, was better and had very delicate flavors, but again it was nothing special.

Soup of Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnuts and Truffles

Soup of Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnuts and Truffles

Things became way better when a foamy soup of Jerusalem Artichoke, chestnuts and Truffles arrived to the table. The surprisingly large dish was exactly what you would expect from a chef restaurant – original, bold and simply excellent, and emphasized the disappointment of the rest of the lunch.

“Torn” Pasta with Crystal Shrimps

“Torn” Pasta with Crystal Shrimps

Seared Grouper Fish

Seared Grouper Fish

A “torn” pasta with Crystal Shrimps had some nice fresh zucchinis and tomatoes but was a little blend and didn’t exposed the quality of the Shrimps, which was a shame. Together came a seared Grouper fish that was cooked great, but was accompanied with a zucchini and garlic paste which lacked flavors and didn’t suit the fish at all.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

The next two dishes came as we started to feel a bit full yet still looking for some fine courses. Again, it was just lacked a bit. A course of Lamb chops was OK but way (way) below the great Lamb Chops at Haim Cohen, while what was labeled as “Chopped Rib-Eye Steak” turned out to be just a burger. Luckily this burger was very good and was accompanied with a very tasty red wine sauce.

Chopped Rib-Eye Steak

Chopped Rib-Eye Steak

The dessert was a joy to the eyes and the palate. A Pistachio ice-cream and fresh chopped tropical fruits accompanied with Mascarpone sauce filled Baklavas and Pistachio was a very cheerful and refreshing dish.

A Pistachio ice-cream and fresh chopped tropical fruits

A Pistachio ice-cream and fresh chopped tropical fruits

Herbert Samuel might be the tourist culinary showcase of Tel Aviv and Israel. The food is good, we can’t say it isn’t. Even though, as a gourmet dining choice it is definitely not the best one.

Note: only days later we discovered the restaurant billed us for a bread basket brought to the table while it was never mentioned nor they asked us if we would like it.

The Check Please (2 people)

Bread – 19 NIS
Friday Set Lunch – 88 NIS
Discover Herbert Samuel – 160 NIS
Pepsi X2 – 24 NIS
Soda Water X2 – 20 NIS
Pistachio Dessert – 42 NIS

All in all: 420 NIS

Summary

Food: Chef Restaurant

Price: Very Expensive (though an affordable Friday Lunch)
Location: Hayarkon Boardwalk

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

3 Forks

 

Contact details: Herbert Samuel

Address: 6 Koifman st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 035166516

Expensive Taste – Jaffa Tel Aviv

3 Oct

It has been a while since we have visited an elite chef restaurant in Tel Aviv. We do get excited by food, but generally speaking, chef restaurants usually just don’t pay off. Though we have tried Messa restaurant (and though it received a very high score), we still haven’t tried many restaurants in that level such as Herbert Samuel, Refael, Mul Yam or Yoezer Wine Bar. It was rather the new restaurant of celebrity chef Haim Cohen, Jaffa Tel Aviv, that drew us for a visit.

Jaffa Tel Aviv

Jaffa Tel Aviv

Jaffa Tel Aviv has opened its gates about a year ago, when Haim Cohen came back to the chef restaurant scene after years of absence, generating a lot of expectations and buzz around it. Finally, along with our newly wed friends, Keren & Samuel, we went to check out how a chef restaurant is really like.

The Open Kitchen

The Open Kitchen

At first look, it is indeed expensive. Very expensive. The starters will cost you between 55 and 65 NIS while for a main course you’ll spend between 90 and 180 NIS. Is it worth it?
The ambiance is definitely our kind. There is a lot of noise around the restaurant, the kitchen is widely open for you to see anything, and generally the atmosphere is not super serious (no white table cloths). The food is somewhat unstable, counting in the price. Some dishes really justified it, and some really didn’t.

Red Tuna Fish Tartar

Red Tuna Fish Tartar

Take a starter of Red Tuna Fish Tartar for example. According to the menu, the tartar includes eggplants and “swims” in “off-road” tomatoes. Unfortunately the only taste we could feel of was the tomato paste. You could have removed the fish and the eggplant and no one would have noticed. The paste itself felt as if we could have made it at home, so generally, it was really a lousy dish.

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

From that point it was rather an uphill as the other starter, Beef Carpaccio with, again, “off-road” tomatoes (didn’t notice the difference with cherry tomatoes) and black-eyed peas, was very good. The beef itself was very good and together with on-the-house excellent focaccia bread, we liked it.

Gnocchi and Spinach with “Hameiri” Cheese

Gnocchi and Spinach with “Hameiri” Cheese

The main courses started giving a great fight to the prices as every bite brought out some enjoyable sounds. A dish of Gnocchi and Spinach with “Hameiri” Cheese was very good but was very small. The Filet of Beef, which was escorted by cauliflower cream, black lentils and bone marrow was delicious. The beef itself was from an excellent quality and grilled to the perfect level, and the cauliflower cream was very special.

Filet of Beef

Filet of Beef

Lamb chops, pilled figs, eggplant and fresh Za’atar

Lamb chops, pilled figs, eggplant and fresh Za’atar

It was rather the third dish that drew the most compliments (maybe because we took two of it). A very Israeli main course of Lamb chops, pilled figs, eggplant and fresh Za’atar was simply amazing. Unlike those “off-road” tomatoes, this truly felt as an off-road dish, coming from the Galilee Mountains. The Lamb chops were the best we ever had, and the combination of figs and fresh Za’atar caused some pleasure reactions around the table.

“Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate”

“Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate”

We really wanted the desserts to drive us forward the hill and continue the climb but it was the ups and downs that carried on through the last part of the dinner.
On the one corner, a dessert called “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate”, which contained a Makaron Chocolate cookie, Chocolate fondant, Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate chunks and, of course, Chocolate sauce to dip it all. It was very sweet and very good. Recommended for Chocolate enthusiasts.
On the other corner, we took the waiter’s recommendation – Coconut Crème Brule. The Brule was very boring and didn’t top any of the other Brule’s we had around town.

Coconut Crème Brule

Coconut Crème Brule

It is very tough to rate Jaffa Tel Aviv according to that dinner. On the one hand, the main courses were superb and gave us a true chef restaurant feeling, allowing us to overlook the price for a few minutes. On the other, the starters and the desserts were a series of ups and downs that such a high class restaurant simply cannot take. We agreed that although a good restaurant, we won’t go back soon.

The Check Please (4 people)

Bread – OTH
Sira Châteaux Golan Red Wine (bottle) – 205 NIS
Beef Carpaccio – 52 NIS
Tuna Tartar – 65 NIS
Gnocchi – 90 NIS
Filet of Beef – 170 NIS
Lamb Chops (X2) – 360 NIS
Soda water – 12 NIS
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate – 50 NIS
Coconut Brule – 40 NIS

All in all: 1044 NIS

 Summary

Food: Israeli Fusion
Price: Very (Very) expensive
Location: Yigal Alon Street

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

3.5 Forks

 

Contact details: Jaffa Tel Aviv

Address: 98 Yigal Alon st., Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6249249

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