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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

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Falling in Love – The Container

11 Mar

Container

Some people in Israel hate saint Valentine, simply because of what happens on his day across all restaurants. Valentine’s Day is another day (together with New Year’s) when restaurants apply over-priced special menus. While this is a money milking cow, it still is an opportunity to have a special dinner. After many recommendations about the place, we decided to have our Valentine’s Day dinner at the Container.

The Bar

The Container, defined as a restaurant, bar, art space and a music lounge, is located inside an old hangar, at the heart of Jaffa port, one of the oldest ports in the world that was once the main port in the land of Israel. Right there, just besides the boats with a beautiful view, lies the Container. And this is just the outside.

Wine & Bread

When you go inside, large glass windows shows you this marvelous view, a high tin ceiling and warehouse walls gives you  a true authentic feeling, an extremely large bar allows you to sit where everything happens and a huge wood oven warms the whole space, just in the right way.

The Salads

Though we had an option to take the special tasting menu, just for that night, we decided to stick with the a la carte. Jerusalem & Italian Artichokes salad with truffle mushrooms was heaven for us, artichoke lovers. It was crunchy and fresh and had a great taste of artichokes. Grilled Calamari Salad with black lentils was no less than perfect, as the Calamari had a great grilled taste and the lentils were a great match to it. To conclude the starters we took a plain simple green salad which surprised us for the good. The combination of fresh roman lettuce, genuine Parmesan cheese and from-the-bottom-of-the-heart seasoning was excellent.

Grilled Calamari Salad

After a short break, in which we had some red wine (Bouchard Père & Fils – Beaune du Château) we bought earlier and took with us, we continued to the entrées. Sea bass fish a la plancha, with smoked potato (from that oven) was quite a good dish. The fish was nice and tender and the potatoes were nothing like we ever tasted, as one could clearly taste the scent and flavor of the oven.

Sea bass fish a la plancha

Chraime, a dish originated from the Libyan Judaism and is general referred to a fish in hot peppers sauce, was the highlight of the dinner. The tasty grey Mullet fish was hidden in a rich, inviting chipotle pepper sauce, along with black olives and “lost bread” which came from the same oven and was latter used to clean up the sauce leftovers.

Chraime

Being a little intoxicated from the wine, we decided to skip deserts and head back home. The lovely Jaffa port and the Container have given us the feeling we wanted on that evening and we would definitely go back.

Intoxicated from the wine...

The check please (2 people)

Artichokes Salad – 49 NIS
Calamari Salad – 55 NIS
Green Salad – 33 NIS
Sea Bass a la plancha – 88 NIS
Chraime – 76 NIS
Corkage fee -50 NIS

All in all: 351 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Fish & Seafood
Price:  Expensive
Location: Jaffa Port

Contact details: The Container
Address:  Warehouse #2, Jaffa Port | Phone: 03-6836321 |
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Thursday 12:00-late | Friday-Saturday 10:00-late
http://www.container.org.il/

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