Tag Archives: Bar

Cuban Disappointment: Alma the Cuba

22 Jun

A while ago we decided to check the new Latino restaurant that was opened in Ha’Arbaah Street. In general, Tel Aviv lacks restaurants that bring the Latin American sense. When we found out that a new Cuban place opened up, we’ve invited Roee and Gal to join us checking the place.

Mojito

Mojito

From the outside the place looks empty but when you go inside you realize that this is where everything is actually happening. This is kind of weird because usually bars and restaurants take over some of the street in order to create more room for their tables, but in this case you had to go inside, pass an empty bar and just then get to the action, not that there is much of it. It seems as all the elderly people from the nearby Bridge club have finish playing earlier that day and decided to go for a drink in the new bar. We were the youngest people in the room.

The waitress was more promising as she was talking with Spanish accent which made us believe, for a few moments, that maybe there is something authentic about the place. In the background, salsa music was played so in order to get into the mood we’ve asked for a Mojito, Quilmes and Havana Club Rum.

Havanna Club shots

Havanna Club shots

Although the (half) promising start, the food did not stand out our expectations. In general it was too fried and not cohesive. Part of the dishes was classic pub food and the others fit a restaurant.

Take for example the “Cuban Chips Mix” – theoretically you would expect some twist on the “bar chips” with mix of interesting ingredients – in practice these were thin slices of potatoes and yam deep fried. Nothing new, so why calling it “Cuban Mix”?

Cuban Chips

Cuban Chips

Another example is “Baby Back Ribs” – In contrast to other dishes we have ordered, this was a classic restaurant dish while others were much more suitable for a bar. The dish included Ribs, Rice with black beans and spicy carrot salad. Though it wasn’t bad, it felt as the dish came from a different menu. The other dishes – Croquets and Ceviche – did not stand out and were quite boring.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

Heading out of the place we felt unsatisfied and still in desire of some fine food and drinks, so we decided to go the neighbor bar – La Champa (which unfortunately closed its doors now).

The Check Please (4 People)

Mojito – 42NIS
3X Quilmes – 78NIS
3X Havana Club 3 Shots –57 NIS
Baby Back Ribs – 52NIS
Croquets Paratagas – 47NIS
Cuban Chips Mix -21NIS
Ceviche Malakon – 37NIS

All in all: 334NIS

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale:

2.5 Forks

2.5 Forks

Contact Details: Alma de Cuba
16 Ha’Arba’a st. Tel Aviv | 035234894
Daily 17:00-02:00
http://en.almadecuba.co.il/

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Eat Like an Egyptian – Port Said

20 Apr

Two months ago we met with Yael and Yoni on one of the new trendy places in Tel Aviv (and not in Egypt as the name suggests) – Port Said. The place is somewhere between a restaurant and a bar and it is owned by the famous chef – Eyal Shani.  It took us a while to write the post but it was worth waiting.

Port Said is all about the cool-hipster style with old fashioned Egyptian music like Umm Kulthum played in the background by a gramophone (or something that sounds like it). You cannot book a table at Port Said and it is quite hard to even find their phone number. Once I tracked it down they told me over the phone that if we will arrive until 20:00 we should be able to get a table without a problem. Indeed, we were the last customers that didn’t have to wait for a table. People that came later had to improvise with a bench as a table.

The menu isn’t really divided to firsts and seconds but rather a wide selection of dishes.

Minute Steak

Minute Steak

Yoni and Yael started with one of Shani’s famous dishes from the Miznon – the Minute steak and in addition some kind of mash of Soybean. The Minute Steak was quite good but the soybean mash was so awful that we had to ask them to take it back and asked for baked potato with Crème fraîche instead.

Roast beef Carpaccio

Roast beef Carpaccio

After a while of waiting we have also received our dishes – Roast beef Carpaccio &

Bread Salad

Bread Salad

. Both of them were delicious. The Carpaccio wasn’t the classic Carpaccio that you can recognize from the typical Tel Aviv’s restaurants; it was seared before it was cut to a thicker level than usual.

Rooster Sandwich

Rooster Sandwich

After additional waiting Yael and Yoni got the “Rooster Sandwich” that they ordered in the beginning of our dinner, nevertheless the waiting didn’t kill their passion to the dish and they found it very tasty. I ordered Egg Salad sandwich while we were still short of one baked potato Shahar ordered earlier.

Backed Potato

Baked Potato

The Egg Salad was very classic and even reminded me my grandfather’s egg salad that came from Poland and definitely not from Egypt.  The baked potato that appeared in the first act got off (from the kitchen) in the third. Finally we received the potato and it was worth waiting as it felt as it brought right out of the fire. With fresh touch of “Crème fraîche” and a bit of spicy green paper you can feel the Eyal Shani’s touch.

For dessert we took Guava marmalade which was a sweet ending to a very good dinner.

The check pleases (4 People):

2 X Goldstar beer- 47 NIS
5 X Peroni beer – 145 NIS
Minute Steak – 44 NIS
Bread salad – 38 NIS
2 X Baked Potato – 46 NIS
Roast beef Carpaccio – 37 NIS
Rooster Sandwich – 38 NIS
Egg Salad Sandwich – 28 NIS
Guava Marmalade – 28 NIS

All in all 451 NIS

Summary:
Food:  Advanced bar food
Price:  High
Location: Allenby street

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

3.5 Forks

Contact details: Har Sinai 2, Tel Aviv

Beer Heaven – Porter & Sons

12 Jun

You can’t find many American style diners in Israel. There’s probably a reason why the diner style never caught for real outside of the US and it’s probably the lack of quality, in any perspective. Even though, few diner style restaurants are trying their luck in Tel Aviv while bringing some message stating food quality doesn’t have to suck. Porter & Sons is one.

70 Different Kinds of Beers

70 Different Kinds of Beers

Few places I’ve been to around the world offer more than a few draft beers. “Porter & Sons”, located in the Harba’a Street offer no less than 70 different kinds of them. Wow. Belgian, American, Israeli, German, English and many other draft beers decorate the bar along the restaurant. There’s even a small chalkboard guiding you how to find your desired beer. After checking out the Chimay Triple and the St. Bernardus we definitely approve.

Market Salad

Market Salad

The owners of Porter & Sons didn’t stop their investment at the taps. The Menu is fully combining with the beer options and varies from Cheese or Charcuterie plates to Fish & Chips and Rib Eye Steak. Though the food isn’t the cheapest it’s quite value for money and it surly feels there’s a chef behind the bar.

House Sausages

House Sausages

Other than the Market Salad, that wasn’t special and didn’t leave a mark, we checked out the House Sausages – 3 types of homemade sages with beans. The sausages were fat, juicy and very much fulfilling along with the beans. You wouldn’t find many better sausages out there. The Spare-Ribs continued with the same line that shows the chef doesn’t have to be creative to execute well. The classic Pork Ribs were served with an (again, classic) barbeque sauce and corn on the cob.

Spare Ribs

Spare Ribs

Porter & Sons is perfect – if you know what you expect. It isn’t a romantic place neither much of a trendy one or with the most original food. As an American Style diner, having an amazing selection of Beers and a well-executed menu to match, it is one of the best.

The Check Please (2 persons)
Market Salad – 24 NIS
House Sausages – 69 NIS
Spare Ribs – 86 NIS
St. Bernardus – 30 NIS
Chimay Triple – 36 NIS

All in all – 245 NIS

Summary:

Food: Whatever suits Beef
Price: Expensive
Location: Ha’arbaa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact Details: Porter & Sons
Address:  14 Ha’arbaa, Tel Aviv| Phone:  03-6244355 |
Daily 12:00-Late
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=10911&txtNavID=3&txtItemID=413824

The Jaffa Escape – Yona

9 Apr

Some things seem simply inevitable. The sun will rise up in the morning; Messi will score in the next Barca match; A new restaurant with a lot of buzz, a predictable name and a perfect location will succeed. At least it was our assumption when we headed at another Thursday night to the new hot name at the vibrant Jaffa Port area – Yona (or Jonah).

Yona

Yona

Yona’s atmosphere is pretty cool. The combination between wooden furniture, high ceiling and the open kitchen creates a setting which you can’t ignore – some kind of urban-yet-welcoming feeling. Even though, we felt it a bit too processed and trying too hard to impress. But hey – it wasn’t as bad as the food.

Taboun Grilled Tomato salad & Haloumi Terracota

Taboun Grilled Tomato salad & Haloumi Terracota

The starter we took was at least an attempt to create an original dish. The tomato salad Terracota and melting Halloumi cheese (cooked in the Taboun) isn’t something you’d normally see in a restaurant’s menu, but it lacked any real soul in it. The tomato salad was nothing more than a few chopped tomatoes without any kicking flavor. Too bad for the Halloumi, which definitely saw some better dishes next to it.

Bouillabaisse soup

Bouillabaisse soup

The two main courses we took were a different story altogether – some kind of a horror story. Bouillabaisse soup is one of our all-time favorite sea food dishes. When the chef knows what he is doing, it can be marvelous (we recommend the neighboring Container for this one).  Unfortunately this one was lousy. The soup was served separated from the seafood (why? It is best to cook them together), which made the soup itself simply tasteless. The mediocre fish, as well as the mussels and the shrimps seemed as they don’t understand what had been poured on them as Inbar combined the two.

Hanger Steak Medallions

Hanger Steak Medallions

The other main course could have been a rescue for the dinner. The Hanger Steak medallions we ordered felt they had taken care of by someone who understands how to pick beef. Unfortunately, the dish, served along some tired Chard leaves, was simply cold. After asking for another round of heating for the beef we got it again. Cold. At this point there was no hope for the beef after taken out twice out of the pan. While waiting for it, at least we had some very successful oven potatoes that kept us from starving.

Oven Baked Potatoes - Kept us from starving

Oven Baked Potatoes - Kept us from starving

After that experience, we have decided we will act as the Hebrew prophet and flee outside to the beautiful Jaffa Port. Though it seems the restaurant is a success in terms of occupancy, it should definitely have deep thoughts about its chefs.

The Check Please (2 people)

Taboun Grilled Tomato salad & Haloumi Terracota – 32 NIS
Bouillabaisse soup – 99 NIS
Hanger Steak Medallions – 79 NIS
Oven Baked Potatoes – 14 NIS
Guinness 1/3 lt – 22 NIS
Weinsteffen 1/3 lt – 22 NIS
Perrier – 8 NIS

All in all: 276 NIS

Summary:

Food: Seafood & Taboun grilled food
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Jaffa Port

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

1.5 Forks

Contact Details: Yona (Jonah)
Address:  Hangar 1, Jaffa Port, Jaffa| Phone: 03-7742222 |
Daily 12:00-24:00
http://www.yona.be/en/

The King’s Wife – Vashti

16 Jan

Bread with dips

For a while the word on the street said there is a new place in Jaffa that worth a visit. It was 8 PM at a cold Thursday evening when we have decided we should go out to eat. Luckily, our first try to find a place was successful with seats on the bar at Vashti. Vashti is one of trendy restaurants that were opened in the last year and represent the new Israeli kitchen – market goods in small plates.

Cured Rump Cuts with Mini Pita

As appetizers we were served nice bread served with Pepper Aioli, Balsamic & Olive oil (in a deep bowl which made the balsamic inaccessible) and non-spicy green Skhug. The first dish we ordered was the home made cured rump cuts that was served with mini pita bread and some mezzets to fill-in the small pita. The idea was nice, but they should have supply some more pita in order to take the “make-your-own-meal” experience to extreme.

Sweetbreads

The second appetizer we ordered was Sweetbreads on celery cream and bacon & king oyster mushroom. The cream fitted perfectly to the sweetbreads that were cooked to the right point and were tender without too much fat. Alongside, the mushroom added an interesting twist to the whole dish as it had an unexpected texture.

Sea food platter

We shared the main dish – Sea food platter that contained crab, mussels, shrimps, calamari, tomatoes and Kalamata olives. The shrimps were big (Tiger), the crab digging was fun, the sauce was tasty but we finished the dish with the feeling that a lot was missing. For 120 NIS we would expect a little bigger dish.

With that dish we decided to end the evening and skip the dessert. The dinner at Vashti was good as the word on street said. We just can’t figure out why Ahasuerus replaced Vashti for Esther.

The check please (2 people)

Cured Rump Cuts – 32 NIS
Sweetbreads – 45NIS
Sea Food Platter – 120NIS
Sangria – 34 NIS
San Miguel 20 NIS

All in all: 251 NIS

Summary:
Food: New Israeli Kitchen; Market
Price: High
Location: Jaffa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

 

Contact details: Vashti
Address:  8 Ha’Aliya Hashniya (The Clock Square), Jaffa | Phone: 057942867 |
Opening Hours:  Monday to Saturday, 18:00 to 24:00|
http://vashti.rest-e.co.il/

Consistent Beauty – Sebastian

6 Nov

As restaurants enthusiasts, we often encounter the “second visit effect”. Restaurants which elated us in the first visit just didn’t perform the same in the second time. While this could occur because of our high expectations or a deceiving memory, many restaurants are simply inconsistent with their food quality.

Lamb filled Ravioli

Sebastian, located at the oh-so-commercialized area of Hertzliya-Pituach, is different. For some reason, when coming to decide about a place to have dinner, Sebastian rarely comes to my mind, and I never expect a really great dinner there, but actually I am always wrong. Dinner at Sebastian is a consistently fabulous dinner.

Filleted Sea Bream

The other day, when we were invited by my parents (Shahar) to the place, owned by the same group that owns Cafe Noir, we were really excited by the food. Take the Calamari A-la plancha for example: A dish we have ordered a dozen times at least. The coriander and yogurt seasoning together with lime juice and olive oil made it no less than perfect. The fish ceviche was also quite unique as the fish was a little thicker than usual and the tiger tomatoes added fresh flavors.

Filleted Salmon fish covered with black sesame

The entrees showed once again that Sebastian doesn’t have its ups and downs but it rather serves quality courses consistently. Lamb filled Ravioli with Mascarpone cheese, mushrooms and truffles sauce were heavenly and surprisingly not heavy at all. Filleted Sea Breams a la plancha were very well cooked.

Banana Tart

The last main course did not showed consistency and accuracy unlike others, but rather pure greatness. Filleted Salmon fish sounds like a dish served at the nearest coffee place, but this one, covered with black sesame (turning it almost to a Japanese course), was amazingly pink in its middle and delightfully crispy on the edges.

Pear Tart

Two deserts of Banana Tart and Pear Tart were quite tasteful as well and left us with a feeling that there are restaurants, although few, that insist on keeping their level up high. Sebastian is definitely one of those places.

Summary:

Food: Bistro
Price: Expensive
Location: Hertzliya-Pituach

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Contact details: Dallal

Address: 33 Maskit Street, Herzliya Pituach, Herzeliya| Phone: 09-9513939|Opening Hours:  Sun-Wed: 12:00 – 24:00, Thu: 12:00 – 01:00, Fri: 09:00 – 01:00, Sat: 09:00 – 24:00   | http://sebastian.rest-e.co.il  (English Menu)

Happy Happy – Nanuchka

11 Aug

The view from outside

When Elad called me (Inbar) and asked at what time are we meeting today I was surprised. Getting an unplanned invitation from Elad is something you just can’t say no to. Adi picked me on her scooter and we all me at Lilenblum st.  which is a host of some fine restaurants such North Abraxas and Frida Kahlo (which we didn’t like).

Toast with Australian Gewurztraminer

We decide to  visit a well known institute in Tel Aviv food scene – Nanuchka –  a place that had opened its gates over 8 years ago – impressive fact in this short-term industry. Nanuchka is known for is Georgian food and its very happy atmosphere.

Meat Khinkali

We were set in the front of the restaurant, probably the worst area in the place (as we wanted to have a smoke), while the best place is probably at the vibrant bar. Nevertheless, we were not disappointed. We shared four dishes: Mjave – Pickled Georgian Vegetables – which was a nice escort to the dinner, though we didn’t notice anything Georgian (or different) about it.  Meat Khinkali – are kind of Georgian dumplings that were served with spicy and tasty salsa sauce. Ispanakhi Kada – Spinach and Cheese pastry that was very large and satisfying. Last but not least was the Satsivi – cold dish of Chicken breast in a transitional walnut sauce – that was kind of heavy (as the waitress warned us).

Malabi

We escorted the dinner with an Australian Gewurztraminer & chose a tasty Malabi for dessert. All in all the food was good but not amazing. It was the good atmosphere, the band and the people who were dancing at the bar, that made our visit (and the place) so special.

Happy Happy - the vibrant bar

The check please (3 people)

Mjave – 19 NIS
Meat Khinkali – 52NIS
Ispanakhi Kada – 48NIS
Satsivi – 39NIS
Malabi – 28NIS
Australian Gewurztraminer – 128 NIS

All in all: 314 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Georgian
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Lilenblum

Contact details: Nanuchka

Address:  30 Lilenblum Street, Tel Aviv | 03-5162254, 057-2274198
Opening Hours:  Sunday-Saturday 12:00-late
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/default.asp?txtrestid=2954 (No English Menu)

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