Tag Archives: Italian

Keeping it Simple – Café Italia

15 Mar
Cafe Italia

Cafe Italia

There is a common thing between all good Italian restaurants around the world – they are all simple. Italian cuisine hails the products themselves and does not appreciate cumbersomeness and over sophistication. The reason there are really a few good ones is that you can’t hide behind lots of sauces and spices, unlike other kitchens. Many good Italian restaurants are family-run, as the recipes classics and mostly are not pretentious.

Café Italia tries to bring the simplicity of the Italian kitchen into a large and inviting space with a bistro atmosphere, and for the most of the times, it works.

Carpaccio

Carpaccio

Take the assorted mushrooms starter for example. You would expect to read this kind of dish description in a coffee place – very simple – But the execution is brilliant. Few kinds of mushrooms in a quality olive oil, garlic and parsley were really enough to create a delicious starter. A shrimp and zucchini starter continued a very clean Italian line of tasty starters. It was rather the Beef Carpaccio that hid behind a blue cheese and walnut that didn’t fit the dish, which was a shame.

Shrimps Zucchini

Shrimps Zucchini

Simplicity ruled the main courses as well. The Rib Eye Steak was a simple very fine piece of beef. Classic dish of Cream & Mushroom Pappardelle (though has an 80’s name) was, well, simple and gentle and comforting. Two dishes of Spaghettini, one with a tomatoes and (too much) basil and the other black pasta and seafood weren’t bad at all but did not stand out because of the pasta itself. A Pork Ossobuco on the other hand was very special and felt as it was cooked for a night with close eye from an Italian grandma – it was really special.

Tomatoes and Basil Spaghettini

Tomatoes and Basil Spaghettini

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

Classic courses ruled the desserts as well. Apple tart, gigantic Tiramisu and a special with mascarpone cheese, mango and passion fruit ended a fun, classic dinner.

Vanilla Cookie

Vanilla Cookie

The Check Please (10 people)


San Pellegrino – 25 NIS
Water – 24 NIS
Alexander Beer – 28 NIS
Coke X3 – 39 NIS
7UP – 13 NIS
Corkage – 45 NIS
Focaccia X2 – 28 NIS
Shrimps & Zucchini X2 – 96 NIS
Beef Carpaccio X3 – 174 NIS
Fried Artichokes – 36 NIS
Assorted Mushrooms – 46 NIS
Kohlrabi Salad – 44 NIS
Lettuce Salad – 38 NIS
Cream & Mushroom Pappardelle X2 – 112 NIS
Tomatoes Spaghetti – 56 NIS
Black Seafood Spaghetini X2 – 176 NIS
Seabass Fillet – 118 NIS
Pork Ossobuco – 98 NIS
Rib Eye Steak – 140 NIS
Strawberries & Mascarpone – 44 NIS
Vanilla Short Bread – 36 NIS
Tiramisu – 44 NIS
Chocolate Mousse – 36 NIS
Apple Tart X2 – 38 NIS
Vanilla Ice cream – 9 NIS

All in all: 1591 NIS

 

Summary

Food: Italian Bistro
Price: Expensive
Location: Yigal Alon

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

4 Forks

4 Forks

 

Contact details: Café Italia

Address: 6 Kreminitzki st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03512888

Serious Stuff – Mel & Michelle

30 Jan

It rarely happens that we go to a “fancy” place. Restaurants with such serious atmosphere, slow French music and textile napkins usually don’t do it to us. We are more into lively places where the average age is the older 20’s rather than early 50’s. BUT we heard so much about the most romantic restaurant in Tel Aviv (awarded two times in a row at “Time Out”) we had to give it a shot.

Mel & Michelle’s Bar

“Mel & Michelle” is located at the vibrant Ben Yehuda Street long after you pass the fabulous ice cream places around Gordon and the numerous pubs around Ben Gurion. Across the yet-to-be-reviewed trendy Shila, you’ll find the quiet Restaurant, which defines itself as an Italian-Middle Eastern Trattoria. We would define it as excellent. Simple as that.

Artichoke and Polenta

As we headed to our bar seats, we were a little intimidated by the crowd and the music, which was some piano cover album for famous hits. The prices were not a sight for sour eyes as well. Even though, the atmosphere was indeed very romantic, especially on the heavy wooden bar, and the food was, well, exceptional.

Roman Artichokes on top of soft Polenta was a wonderful dish mainly due to the Polenta made from fresh corn. The roasted Italian artichokes fitted well and only breadcrumbs interfered with the Italian harmony. The Parisian Gnocchi demonstrated how Italy and France can pull together one of the best dishes in town. The Gnocchi were made out of cheese rather than potatoes, melted in our mouths and were escorted by a white truffle sauce, but one that lifted the dish to extreme heights. That dish competes with Toto’s Chestnut Gnocchi fair and square.

Cheese Gnocchi

Though at that point it seemed almost not important what would come as main course, but we did share one. An in-house aged Fillet of Beef continued the same line. The beef was exceptionally tender and was escorted with a reduced red wine sauce and figs. For once I understood how a red wine sauce should be executed. It was a shame that the Potato Pure that came along did not reach the level of the rest of the dishes, but nevertheless we agreed, while having two shots of espresso, that Mel & Michelle is one hell of a restaurant.

Fillet of Beef

The Check Please (2 people)

Bread – OTH
Roman Artichoke – 58 NIS
Parisian Gnocchi – 57 NIS
Fillet of Beef – 132 NIS
2X Prosecco – 60 NIS
2X Espresso – 20 NIS
Soda water – 12 NIS

All in all – 339 NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian
Price: Very Expensive
Location: Ben Yehuda – Arlozerov

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Contact Details: Mel & Michelle
Address:  155 Ben Yehuda st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-5293232 |
Daily 19:00-00:00 Saturday 12:00-16:00 |
http://www.rol.co.il/sites/mel-michelle/

Almost at Home – Rustico

3 Jan

Everyone wants to have a neighborhood restaurant he or she can just take a sweater and head down to sit the regular table and have the regular course which will always be executed the same way. Though sounds a little boring, such a place can provide a very good default when you just don’t have the strength to start cooking or you’re just too damn hungry. Rustico Bazel, with its solid execution, relaxing atmosphere and location, is getting quite close.

Rustico is an Italian place, where Bazel is its second location (first one in Rotshield). The Bazel location, as well as the staff attitude, feels very welcoming and neighborhood-like (not only because it’s close to home). The times where we sat down and ate in Rustico, we always had the same feeling regarding food quality and execution – not amazing but rather quite solid.

Take the Lasagna for example. Rustico’s Lasagna is very much what you would expect as a fulfilling Italian lunch. Though the Bechamel sauce wasn’t much noticed, it felt very much straight from the oven, along with tasty tomato sauce and quality melted cheese.

Gnocchi and Shrimps

Gnocchi and Shrimps in a Lemon butter sauce, though coming from the days’ special, felt also like another day in the (solid) office. While Rustico’s Gnocchi is nothing compared to Toto’s, it is moist and not sticky. Though the shrimps are not more than OK, the sauce is another one Rustico simply won’t fail with.

Seabass Escabeche

It was rather the Seabass Escabeche with vegetables that did not come from the same neighborhood and, though not bad at all, was a little boring and failed to put a big impression on us.

Profiteroles

Profiteroles as dessert, ordered from the specials as well, were very sweet, very chocolaty (and too heavy) but showed that Rustico, despite being a very solid with its execution and food quality, is too expensive to call a neighborhood restaurant. We will come back. Just not that often.

The Check Please (2 people)

Seabass Escabeche – 38 NIS
Gnocchi and Shrimps – 69 NIS
Lasagna – 62 NIS
Profiteroles – 41 NIS
Coke – 12 NIS
San Pellegrino – 13 NIS

All in all – 253 NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Bazel

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact Details: Rustico
Address:  42 Bazel st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6026969 |
Sunday –Saturday 12:00-00:00 |
http://www.rustico.co.il/bazel/index6.html

See also previous review – A Rustic Breakfast – Rustico

Italian Experience at the Heart of Tel Aviv – La Repubblica (di RoniMottti)

10 Dec

Lately, while talking a walk in the quarter of the heart of Tel Aviv, we noticed that our favorite restaurant from Ramat Hachayal is working on a new branch. Over the weekend, while reading our favorite magazine – Time Out Tel Aviv, we have realized that it is not a new branch but rather a relocation. RoniMotti, one of the best Italian places in the city have decided to get closer to the heart of Tel Aviv. The week after we have already booked a table in order to check the new place with Shahar’s parents – Zipi and Shaul.

Bread and Antipasti

We started with complimentary Bread and Antipasti. This antipasti is a good example of how this dish can be served in so many restaurant in the city but only few will really know how to execute it well. On top of quality olive oil there they were – oven baked vegetables such us Beet, Onion and Pepper alongside Olives and tasty slices of Parmesan cheese. The bread was crispy from the outside and soft from the inside. With the bread came some crunchy bread sticks that were topped with nigella seeds that gave it its edgy taste.

Rocula Carcciofi & Fichi

For starters Shaul and Zipi shared the Rocula Carcciofi Salad, Fish Carpaccio and Fichi. Fichi are slices of fresh figs and real buffalo mozzarella cheese that were topped with balsamic sauce and basil olives. This classic Italian salad (Fichi are figs in Italian) was surprisingly not dull at all and the balsamic sauce was cooked to be contracted and thick. The Fish Carpaccio was gentle and light, perfect match for the crispy bread.

Beef & Fish Carpaccio

We shared the Beef Carpaccio that was, again, seasoned with good olive oil, parmesan cheese and Rocula leaves. As its colleague dish, the Fish Carpaccio, the Beef Carpaccio was made of good beef (Sirloin) and suited the bread perfectly. In addition, we were served complimentary Malfatti. Malfatti are kind of dumplings made of spinach and cheese on top of Rosa (tomato) sauce. The combination of the melted cheese and the cream sauce, made it, as appose to the other starters, a heavy dish.

Veal Cannelloni

After a massive attack of appetizers and starters, and after drinking a first round of fine Flam Classico (Israeli red wine of Flam winery), we were ready for the main courses. This time we decided to split – Shahar took the Veal Cannelloni – Canneloni Pasta filled with slow cooked chopped Veal and tomatoes sauce – a true Italian dish that does not try to flatter the average Israeli diner – and tastes great.

Tagliatelle with Shrimps and Carcciofi

Inbar took Tagliatelle with Shrimps and Carcciofi that were cooked in lemon, white wine and butter sauce. A simple dish with quality ingredients – from the homemade pasta to the fresh Shrimps, and especially the lemon sauce that gave the dish it unique flavors. Zipi and Shaul shared the Sirloin steak that was perfectly cooked and served with beef stock and spinach. A good steak is measure by the beef quality and the cooking quality. In that case, both were at a very high class.

Sirloin Steak

For dessert, our first two choices were missing from the menu that evening, so we head to settle for Crème Brule and Tiramisu, both served at their classic version – not too bad (or even good), but nothing to write home (or post) about. As in the previous phases of the dinner, so as in the dessert phase, the owner (Motti) did not forget us – we were served complimentary chocolate cake. At that stage it was already overloading of sweets and we pretty much skipped it (Although appreciating the nice gesture).

Tiramisu

When coming to the end of the post, you will probably say it is hard to critic when receiving so many complimentary dishes. But, our dear readers – have no fear! We are professional writers, and as such we know to compliment a place when it deserved it and definitely criticize when needed. This time, with a whole heart (and stomach) we will definitely recommend you book table ASAP.

The Check Please (4 people)

Fish Carpaccio – 52NIS
Beef Carpaccio – 48NIS
Fichi – 48NIS
Rocula Carcciofi – 42NIS
Tagliatelle – 72NIS
Veal Cannelloni – 78-NIS
Sirloin Steak – 110NIS
Water – 20 NIS
Flam Classico – 138NIS
Crème Brule – 38NIS
Tiramisu – 32NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Heart of Tel Aviv / Allenby

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4 Forks

Contact Details: La Repubblica di RoniMottti

Address:  3 Mazeh st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6470247 |
Opening Hours: Sunday – Friday 8:30-24:00 Saturday 9:30-24:00 |
http://larepubblica.co.il/

Off Topic – Italy

22 Oct

We have just came back from a one week trip and have decided to blog about food outside of Tel Aviv and even outside of Israel – this post will be dedicated to our recommendations from Italy.

Florence

Polizia Municipale near the Duomo

Trattoria Mario – Small but famous for its low prices and good food. Definately wins the “Value for Money” badge for the trip (around 12EUR for main course). Get ready to stand in line. http://trattoria-mario.com/

Trattoria Mario

Value for Money Steak

La Giostra – That place was actually too fancy in our opinion and we didn’t really like it.  It does have unique dish of Pear Ravioli that we liked and other courses were generally OK. Even though, this place wins the “Not Enough Value for Money” badge (around 20EUR for a main course). http://www.ristorantelagiostra.com/frameset.html

Pear Ravioli

San Lorenzo food market– while walking through San Lorenzo district’s streets one cannot miss the stands selling souvenirs. Nevertheless, you can esily miss the indoor food market located in the heart of the market. The market has a few restaurants in it but the real interesting experience is of course the stands with the fresh goodies.

Porcini

Different Kinds of Lettuce

If you know what this vegetable is – kindly let us know

Trattoria Nerone  – Next to our lovely hotel (Hotel Azzi) we found a trattoria that offers large veriaty of food alongside unique atmosphere and indoor design. We had a good steak and the best pizza we ate in Italy (We didn’t eat so much pizza so take it as a limited recommendation). http://www.trattorianerone.it

The Best Pizza

Pisa

“Mama” – As we travelled we felt a passion to find an authentic restaurant. In Pisa, while looking for another restaurant (no success there) we accidentally came across a small place with a real Italian Mama, cooking with her husband the last 40 years while their son is working as the waiter. We don’t know the name of the place (nor does it have a name), but on the door your will see “Degustazione Prodotti tipici Toscani Solo Buongustai” which mean “Tasting, local Products, Tuscany, Only Gourmet”. The place is located in a small alley named Via Tavoleria and if the place is open you’ll probably find it. The food was good but not amazing, yet if you’re looking for the “real” experience you should definately go there.

Tasting, local Products, Tuscan, Only Gourmet

Traditional Pasta

Rome
We were lucky to find a place in the heart of the historical center, next to the Pantheon – Charming Miniflat. From the apartment we were only few minutes away from everything.

The view from the Spanish stairs

Campo dei Fiori – Very touristic market but gives you sneak peek to Italy’s fresh products.

Campo Dei Fiori

Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé – The Best coffee we had in Italy (which probably say the best we had at all). Try their Gran-Caffe. http://www.santeustachioilcaffe.it/en/

The Jewish quarter – A part from the cooking class we took (see next recommendation) we were taken to a tour in the old Jewish ghetto that has an authentic atmosphere. Try the families’ bakery and you will not be disappointed.

Fresh from the Oven

The Jewish Quarter

BA" GHETTO Restaurant (Word Game of "In the Ghetto" and "Baguette"). Not so politically correct

Fabulous Cooking Day – THE best activity we had in Italy. The class started in the morning when we took the tour to the Jewish ghetto and bought goodies in Campo dei Fiori. Then we met Fabio, our chef, in his restaurant near the Spanish steps and walked with him to his amazing apartment nearby.  In his kitchen we learned how to make Pasta, Lasagna, Risotto and Chicken. The outcome was simply outstanding and delicious. Bottomless wine supply helped us digest the rewarding lunch. Don’t miss it! http://www.fabiolouscookingday.com/

You will need at least 6 hands to make pasta

Donny & Rob Making Pasta with Fabio

Cooking with Fabio

The result (one of them…)

TAZZA D’ORO – One of the most famous coffee in the world, Lockley our apartment was located just above their main store in Rome. http://www.tazzadorocoffeeshop.com/

The famous coffee

Osteria Dell’Angelo – Good steak on the grill. Pay cash only. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d792990-Reviews-Osteria_dell_Angelo-Rome_Lazio.html

Due Ladroni – Quite different from the “Touristic” veriaty of restaurants (in a good way). Comparing to all the above this one is quite expensive (20-25 EUR for a main course), but definately worth it for celebrating our last day in Italy. http://www.dueladroni.com/

We hope you will enjoy our recommendations and you’re welcome to add yours as well in the comments.

Shahar & Inbar

Disestablishmentarianism – Toto

24 Aug

About a month ago we got married for the second time. In oppose to the first time, when we got married by Rabbi Gilad Kariv from the Progressive Judaism movement, this time we only did it for the official stamp of the Rabbinate. When the ceremony was done, all we were looking for is a good place to eat non-kosher food that will help us to forget the old-fashioned establishment. Luckily, Toto was just 10 minutes’ walk from there.

The Bar

Toto is a chef restaurant from the kitchen of chef Yaron Shalev, a young and premising chef. The restaurant is located near the court in Tel Aviv, which makes it a popular place for lunch among lawyers and business men. Although Toto is a very expensive restaurant, it offers fixed menu for lunch – for 98 NIS you will get an entrée and a main course.

Calamari Salad

For starters Inbar took the Calamari Salad – fresh combination of grilled Calamari, fresh onion and fried onion, two different kinds of Cherry tomatoes, green pepper, chick-peas and herbs. This kind of dish have become a must have dish in the menu of every Tel Aviv restaurant that respect itself. Nevertheless, it was not disappointing and did manage to top over the average Calamari Salad.

Pickled Anchovy

Grilled Eggplant

Shahar took the pickled Anchovy that was served on top of lentils & yogurt, green pepper, tomatoes and onion – spicy and fresh dish. Benny & Zipi took the Grilled Eggplant that was served with tomatoes seeds, radish, labaneh,  onion and herbs. This dish came in two different sizes as one of them was part of the fix menu and the other wasn’t. Shaul took the Gazpacho soup that was excellent.

Pappardelle Ragu

For the main courses we weren’t so much versatile as in the entrees. Benny, Shaul & Inbar took the Pappardelle Ragu –stew of veal, chestnuts and root vegetables that was cooked for hours and served with homemade Pappardelle. Shahar & Ronit took the Shalev’s legendary dish – Chestnut Gnocchi with Truffles butter – a dish that although is quite “heavy” you just can’t get enough of… heavenly dressed fluffy gnocchi. Zipi Took the Black Pasta that was cooked with Calamari and Shrimp and was also a good dish but not very special.

Chestnut Gnocchi

Black Pasta

Picking Toto as the dessert of our unnecessary wedding was a good choice for the beginning of our shared life (according to the state if Israel) & helped us to quickly forget that anachronistic establishment.

The Check Please (6 people)

Vital Water – 28NIS
3X Lemonade – 36NIS
Soda water – 11NIS
Calamari Salad (Fixed Menu) – 15NIS
Grilled eggplant (Fixed Menu)
Gazpacho (Fixed Menu)
Grilled eggplant – 48NIS
Pickled Anchovy – 58NIS
3X  Pappardelle Ragu (Fixed Menu) – 294
2X Chestnut Gnocchi – 164NIS
Black Pasta – 98NIS

All in all: 752NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian Chef Restaurant
Price: Very Expensive
Location: Weitzman, Curt house, Tel Aviv Arts Museum.

 The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Contact Details: Toto

Address:  4 Berkovits st, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6935151 | Opening Hours:  Sunday – Saturday 12:30-00:00 | | http://www.toto-rest.co.il/

Italian Trend – Pappa’s

20 Aug

Pappa's

It seems that in some point during the last few years, the Italian kitchen has stepped aside from the main restaurant scene in Tel Aviv to allow the other trendy Mediterranean kitchens, such as Seafood and Spanish cuisines, to rise up. Suddenly, Italian restaurants came out as less interesting, less fashionable and generally belong to those who look for a “serious” dinner.

Pappa’s, which defines itself as a “Ristorante Italiano”, is actually a few years old Trattoria, located in the back of Allenby, just beside the Carmel’s Market, and proud of its self-made Pasta, traditional cooking and welcoming atmosphere. All that said, it seems that Pappa’s took the last few years trends into consideration, offering many of the Pastas as half-size as well and using lots of market goods such as Shrimps, Artichokes and Truffles.

Tuna Fish Carpaccio

Take the special Fish Carpaccio for example. The red Tuna fish tasted as it came straight up from the market, dressed with only salt, pepper and olive oil. Though a bit expensive for the place, it was definitely a good dish. A Broad bean Rissoto, which contained also pieces of lemon and Celery, was also an original Mediterranean variation on top of a classic heavy dish.

Broad Bean Risotto

The self made Pastas, as promised, were no less than excellent. A half-size dish of Truffles Gnocchi, was quite simple but amazing on taste and, given its price, became quickly one of our favorite Italian dishes around town. Another dish of Artichoke Campanelle, brought the market to our table once more and, along with roasted tomatoes and lemon, came together as a very good dish. Another half-size course of Shrimps “a la plancha”, dressed with garlic and olive oil, with roasted potatoes and asparagus, showed that Pappa’s has nothing to be ashamed of its seafood as well.

Gnocchi Tartufo

Artochoke Campanelle

Ending our night with a very-basic and quite tasty sweet Pana Cotta we agreed that, in value for money standards, Pappa’s has very little competition as it combines fresh and self-made ingredients, trendy original dishes, and fine execution.

Shrimps and Asparagus on Potatoes

The Check Please (3 people)

Tuna Fish Carpaccio – 42 NIS
Gnocchi Al Tartufo (Small) – 34 NIS
Broad Bean Risotto (Small) – 36 NIS
Artichoke Campanelle – 52 NIS
Shrimps and Asparagus on Potatoes (Small) – 38 NIS
Pana Cotta – 26 NIS
Cava (bottle) – 89 NIS

All in all: 317 NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian
Price: Medium
Location: Allenby & Carmel market

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4 Forks

 Contact Details: Pappa’s

Address:  12 Hillel Hazaken, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-5107373
Opening Hours:  Sunday – Saturday 12:00-01:00
http://pappas.rest-e.co.il/

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