Tag Archives: Mediterranean

Sunset at Tel Aviv – Fitzroy

27 Sep

Often, we are been asked for recommendation on a good restaurant in Tel Aviv by our acquaintances, looking for a good place to celebrate personal events. Often, we recommend about one of our favorite places – Kalamata. When we heard that the owners have opened a new place in front of Tel Aviv’s boardwalk we knew this is a place we must try.

The location is a bit confusing. It is so good you can easily fall in to the “over-priced-tourist-spot-next-to-the-beach” cliché. After all, this location have introduced some tourist restaurants in the past. Gladly, we have found another great place that does not compromise on quality nor originality.

Sunset in Tel Aviv

Sunset in Tel Aviv

With no “special occasion” we have decided to be spontaneous and check the sunset from Fitzroy’s balcony. We have decided to escort this sunset with their special cocktails – Shahar took “Flor de Sangrìa” Peach, Pineapple, Pear, Jasmine, Hazel nuts and Sparkling White Wine. I took “English Garden Cup” which is Celery infused Gin, Orange Liqueur, Rosata Vermouth, Citrus, Tarragon and Spicy Ginger ale. Both of them were very special cocktails you will not find easily in another place.

Black Gnocchi and Calamari

Black Gnocchi and Calamari

We have started with one of the specials – Black Gnocchi and Calamari. Needless to say that the Gnocchi melted in our mouth and the calamari were perfectly cooked on the grill. What we should actually mention is the amazing sauce that the Gnocchi and Calamri were “sitting” on. It was some kind of Crab Bisque, I would even say one of the best that we have ever tasted. I have considered to change the main course to a fish one just because I suspected that it will be there too. The waitress cancelled my thoughts when she said she is not sure it will be the same Bisque.

Raw Fish Slice

Raw Fish Slice

Our “Originality Award” in this meals goes to our second starter of Raw Fish Slice that was simply described as “Crispy pastry, Drum fish, Tomatoes, Red peppers, Parmesan, Olives, Basil”. Nothing could prepare us to the way it was severed – scale model of pizza in a delivery box with Tabasco. But instead of pizza we got a crispy pastry topped with fish covered with “pizza-like” topping. Except for its look and feel it was also tasty, though quite small (coming from the “Bar Snacks” menu).

Sirloin and Fillet of Lamb

Sirloin and Fillet of Lamb

We have shared a main course of Sirloin and Fillet of Lamb – Bourbon lamb stock, Potatoes and Spinach crème. The dish was very geometric as the meat and the potatoes were cut very accurately. The sauce once again was a winner and Shahar even said that it was probably one of the best lamb dishes he ate since “Jaffa Tel-Aviv”.

Porcini Brule

Porcini Brule

For desert we chose something that can easy sound as another main dish – Porcini Brule – a regular Brule topped with chestnut cream (that was there to replace the burned sugar layer). Served with Porcini ice cream and passion fruit twill that was there to replace the regular crispiness of a Brule.

This was definitely one of the most creative meals that we have ate lately. Nevertheless it did not impact the level of flavors or quality.  This definitely goes in to our “recommended list”.

The check please (2 people)

Pepsi – 12NIS
Soda water – 11NIS
Flor de Sangrìa – 40 NIS
English Garden Cup – 42NIS
Raw Fish Slice – 28NIS
Black Gnocchi and Calamari – 39NIS
Sirloin and Fillet of Lamb – 132NIS
Porcini Brule – 38NIS

All in all 342 NIS

Summary:

Food: Mediterranean
Price: Very expensive
Location: Tel Aviv Boardwalk

The Cizer Kobrinsky scale: 

4.5 Forks

4.5 Forks

Contact details: Fitzroy
136 Hayarkon st. Tel Aviv | +972-3-520-6100

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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

The hottest spot in Tel Aviv – Café Europe

25 Aug

This week we had a date with Yael and Yoni at the (currently) trendiest place in Tel Aviv – Café Europe. In Tel Aviv, where new restaurants open on a daily bases, every new restaurant has its 15 minutes of fame and since their lifetime is so short one should use it wisely. If last summer it was the Mizlala, this year (not very far away by the way), on the trendy Rothschild Street, it is Café Europe turn.

The trendiest place in Tel Aviv – Café Europe

The trendiest place in Tel Aviv – Café Europe

When I say trendy I mean that anyone who is “someone”, should find himself drinking wine on their bar. It also means that three days before our meeting, when Yael called to make reservations the hostess “did us a favor” and “pushed” us between 21:15 to 23:15 (Gee, thanks). And it basically means that they can over-charge for anything (scroll down to the menu or stay tuned). Oh and yes, they don’t have an online menu so you won’t know that in advance.

Lamb Tortellini

Lamb Tortellini

The menu is divided to 3 sections. One would expect that the graphical division will hint for the difference between the dishes size (Or their role in the dinner) – appetizer, starters and main courses. But it didn’t. Café Europe does not have any real “large” size courses. All of them are between tiny and medium (if you are lucky) and I’m saying it while taking the dish price under consideration. Take the Lamb tortellini with dry fruits “main course” for example that contains five tortellinis and cost 69 NIS. It was a good dish but way too small to share. But first things firsts, let’s go back to the starters.

Tomatoes salad that every restaurant in Tel- Aviv must have

Tomatoes salad that every restaurant in Tel- Aviv must have

Dreams about Thailand - Shrimps Cutlet

Dreams about Thailand – Shrimps Cutlet

The tomatoes-salad-that-every-restaurant-in-Tel-Aviv-must-have was executed as expected – several types of tomatoes, some grilled and some fresh, with a lot of garlic and goat cheese. It was good as the opening dish. Another dish we took was described on the menu as “Shrimps Cutlet, coconut milk and dreams about Thailand”. Well, they were right. In 3 weeks from now we will leave on a jet plane for a short vacation in the land of shakes and Pad Thai.  Until now, the longing was repressed. After eating this dish (and the Seafood plate later) – we cannot wait anymore. Thailand, here we come!

Polenta

Polenta

Back to the table in the humid Tel Aviv – We took to additional starters that were on the specials board –“Polenta with asparagus” and “Labneh, Matbuha and Red Mullets”. Both of them were good and tasty.  The Polenta was yet another very little dish. The Fish were fried and had a deep “sea” taste which Yoni didn’t like but we found as good.

Labneh, Matbuha and Red Mullets

Labneh, Matbuha and Red Mullets

Hanger steak

Hanger steak

While we were still eating the fish Yael mentioned she was pleased with the timing of the dished arrived to our table. At that exact moment, Shahar’s main dish had arrived to the table, too early to its time in the game. The waitress accused the kitchen for the mistake but took no responsibility for the failure. Shahar took the Hanger steak and while he was eating his dish we were towards the end of the starts. The Hanger Steak itself was very nicely cooked, medium-rare in the inside while still burned and crunchy on the outside.

Seafood Plate

Seafood Plate

For the so-called-main-course I took the seafood plate that I have already mentioned. I think it was the most surprising dish in the dinner. I wasn’t expecting to have more Thai tastes in this meal and this was a good surprise alongside with a crab that I managed to eat without making a mess on my shirt. Yael took that tiny tortellini dish and Yoni took Meatballs in Pita Bread. According to Yoni, the Pita wasn’t fresh and contained too much onion.  Judging according to the leftovers, it wasn’t as good as he expected.

Meatballs in Pita

Meatballs in Pita

We ended our dinner with Savarin cake (Rum baba) which was nice and a bit retro in my opinion.

Savarin cake

Savarin cake

When we got the bill we thought it was a good dinner but it did not justify the price. On our previous post was about Elba, we had pretty much the same amount of dishes and paid equal price to the one at Café Europe. However, we could not escape the feeling the Elba was much more value for money, in the dish size perspective as well as taste. Nevertheless, at the end of the day we are all fashion victims. We meet at Café Europe because we wanted to know what everyone is talking about. Café Europe is just using their 15 minutes of fame.

The Check Please (4 people)

Bread – 13 NIS
Red Mullets with Matbuha – 45 NIS
Polenta – 32 NIS
Tomatoes salad – 43 NIS
Shrimps Cutlet – 42NIS
Seafood plate – 89 NIS
Hanger steak – 85NIS
Lamb Tortellini – 69 NIS
Meatballs Pita – 49NIS
Savarin cake – 32NIS
Coke – 12 NI
Diet Coke – 12 NIS
Traminer Wine – 168 NIS
Stela – 26NIS

All in all: 743 NIS

Summary

Food: Mediterranean (Were was Europe during this dinner?)
Price: Very expensive
Location: Rotchield street

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

3.5 Forks

 

Contact details: Café Europe

Address: 9 Rothschild street | Phone: 03-5259987 | Online menu not available

An Island – Elba

29 Jul

Once every few months, a new restaurant opens in Tel Aviv creates a massive buzz around it, with promising chef, some fine reviews and intensive PR. Elba, opened just a few months ago has created just that. It helped that Elba was founded at the floor of one of the new meant-for-rich 20 stories at the corner of Ibn-Gabirol and Shaul Hamelech.

Looking at Elba from the outside it does reminds an island (Elba is an Island in Tuscany, Italy), and not necessarily in a good way. Ibn Gabirol is somewhat a hectic street and the large glass windows showing the white table cloths make it feel almost as an aquarium. But on the other hand, this whole tower is some kind of an unrelated island in the middle of the City. Maybe the outside seating planned soon would combine Elba with the street a bit more.

Roasted Bread and Adyghe Cheese Salad

Roasted Bread and Adyghe Cheese Salad

In a way Elba’s food seems also as a unique scene in the city. It’s not that it is extremely original as it simply manages to step out of the city’s trendy-but-boring dishes. Take the roasted bread and Adyghe cheese salad. It is very easy to go with types of tomatoes as many other restaurants would do. Elba has decided to put white and greed asparagus with it, which along with the unique cheese gave it great crunchiness. Perfect.

Pickled Mackerels with White Wine and Avocado

Pickled Mackerels with White Wine and Avocado

Calamari Bruschetta with Mustard Leaves and Salicornia

Calamari Bruschetta with Mustard Leaves and Salicornia

Pickled Mackerels with white wine and avocado, as well as Calamari bruschetta with mustard leaves and Salicornia were both unique dishes but ones that did not rise above OK. One would still appreciate the originality and fearlessness of choosing such dishes for the menu. The Calamari a la plancha, was unfortunately slightly disappointing, especially after the other starters.

Calamari a la plancha

Calamari a la plancha

Even though, we didn’t stay disappointed for much long as the main courses soon arrived. A Seabass on top of tomato cream sauce with semolina and roasted green onions was executed perfectly. Eating that dish with a spoon, absorbing the sauce in the semolina that, in its turn suited well with the fish, was exceptional and showed what can be done with simple ingredients.

Seabass on top of Tomato Cream Sauce with Semolina and Roasted Green Onions

Seabass on top of Tomato Cream Sauce with Semolina and Roasted Green Onions

The other main courses were not far behind as well. A burnt Tuna steak with lemon vinaigrette and Kale salad was dreamy. The Tuna was bloody red inside and quite thick, which made it feel as a real fleshy steak, while the sauce had great sour taste in it (though one needs to like lemony sauce). Another dish of fried Sweetbreads with Zucchini pure was extremely “corrupting” and fatty and reminded me how much I like sweetbreads.

Burnt Tuna Steak with Lemon Vinaigrette and Kale salad

Burnt Tuna Steak with Lemon Vinaigrette and Kale salad

Fried Sweetbreads with Zucchini Pure

Fried Sweetbreads with Zucchini Pure

Two heavenly desserts of sweet & bitter oranges with coconut ice cream and Panacotta with watermelon ice cream concluded a great dinner we would definitely remember.

Two heavenly desserts

Two heavenly desserts

The Check Please (4 people)

Bread – 13 NIS
Water – 13 NIS
Calamari a la plancha – 47 NIS
Calamari Bruschetta – 45 NIS
Pickled Mackerels – 57 NIS
Roasted Bread Salad – 53 NIS
Burnt Tuna Steak – 95 NIS
Seabass – 93 NIS
Sweetbreads – 77 NIS
Sancerre whine (bottle) – 160 NIS
Panacotta – 37 NIS
Sweet & Bitter oranges – 37 NIS

All in all – 727 NIS

Summary:

Food: Mediterranean
Price: Expensive
Location: Ibn Gabirol / Shaul Hamelech

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Contact Details: Elba
Address:  36 Ibn Gabirol st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-5467905 |
Daily (currently evenings only) |
no webpage

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/

Game of Thrones – Bertie

26 Nov

Fatush Salad

At the bi-weekly meeting with Elad and Adi I chose the new restaurant that was opened in King George Street. The street is named after George V, king of the United Kingdom. Bertie was actually the nickname of his son, George VI. The reviews I read about the place were quite good and I was eager to test (and taste) it.

Oxtail

Bertie is a small and nice restaurant that focuses on small-medium dishes that are meant to be shared. Their specialty is seafood though the meat is not absent from the dinner’s plates as well. We started off with a “Fatush” salad that contains Artichoke, different kinds of Tomatoes, Olives, Onion and dried Mint, and was a fresh and good salad that fitted as an appetizer for the three of us.

Spicha

Adi’s instincts led her to take Oxtail with Quince, Honey and Cinnamon on top of Friki (green wheat), which was a very tasty dish that gave us the feeling of home cooking. Comfort food for a rainy day. Elad took the Spicha – baked beef on top of a puff pastry, served with boiled egg. The Spicha was nice but quite small dish. For myself, I have ordered Calamari salad that was served with Labaneh, Grilled Tomatoes, baked potatoes from the fire and hyssop. Though had a bit too much of Labaneh, the salad was fresh and quite good overall.

Calamari salad

Elad and I were still a bit hungry so we took a Hanger Steak skewer that was served with stuffed onion. The beef was amazing, soft and tender, and had a delicate touch of sweetness that suit the beef greatly. For dessert we took the Malabi with grilled Peach that was very creamy yet tasty as the dinner came to a close.

Malabi

All in all we had a nice meal with a happy Greek soundtrack that suited our mood. Bertie is a small, unpretending restaurant with fresh food and good atmosphere.

The Check Please (3 people)

Fatush Salad – 37NIS
Calamari Salad – 52NIS
Spicha – 35NIS
Oxtail – 70NIS
Cava – 85NIS
Hanger Steak – 41NIS
Malabi -32NIS

All in all: 352NIS

Summary:

Food: Sea food with touches of Beef
Price: Medium
Location: King George

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact Details: The Brothers

Address:  88 King George, Tel Aviv | Phone: 072-2512950
Opening Hours:  Sunday – Saturday 18:00-00:00
http://www.mouse.co.il/CM.food_item_place,382,213,3954,.aspx

A Copy Well Made – La Shuk

9 Sep

La Shuk's Kitchen

The first really good market restaurant in Israel was opened just a few years ago just besides the Machne Yehuda’s developing market of Jerusalem. “Machne Yehuda” is also the name of the restaurant opened by the Chef Assaf Granit and is truly one of the best restaurants in the country (book well ahead). Following the success of the theme, market restaurants were opened as mushrooms after the rain in what seems to be a series of copycats. In “La Shuk”’s case, a well-made copy.

Dizengoff Square

La Shuk, opened just last spring, offers a rustic market setting, sounds that ranges from Israeli rock to Greek and Turkish taverns, and a surprisingly successful location, right below the Dizengof square that is about to go through renovations. Oh, and market food.

We weren’t that hungry, so we have settled for three courses. The smallest of which was Veal tartar which was a nice variation of the classic Tartar. Two toast breads with topped with mustard laid in a glass bowl that contained the Tartar along with a half-cooked egg. The Tartar tasted excellent and the combination, as a whole, was delicious. I was only upset it wasn’t a larger dish. Another combination was a dish of Tabbouleh Salad and Shrimps. In this case, although the Shrimps were cooked OK and were spicy in a good way, there wasn’t any real connection to the salad, that itself was mediocre.

Veal Tartar

Tabbouleh Salad and Shrimps

The last course was Siniyee, which is an Arabic dish that includes ground beef, vegetables and spices on top of oven baked bread. Although this Siniyee was less aggressive with flavors comparing to a “true” Siniyee (we recommend on the Siniyee served at “Al Reda” restaurant in Nazareth), it was tasteful and very satisfying.

Siniyee

A sweet and rich Malabi ended the evening, as we agreed that, although La Shuk seems like another copy of “Machne Yehuda”, it is quite a nice copy that we will probably return to.

Malabi

The check please (2 people)

Veal Tartar – 36 NIS
TabboulehSalad and Shrimps – 47 NIS
Siniyee – 44 NIS
2X Wine by the glass – 56 NIS
Malabi – 28 NIS

All in all: 211 NIS

Summary:

Food: Market Food
Price: Medium
Location: Dizingoff

 The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact details: La Shuk

 Address:  92 Dizengoff st. (Dizengoff Square), Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6033117 |
Opening Hours:  Sunday-Thursday 12:00-Late | Friday-Saturday 09:30 – Late
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=11726 (no English)

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