Tag Archives: Spanish

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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Tengo Hambre: The Spanish Experience

10 Nov

Two years ago Shahar and I visited Madrid for a private vacation just before I started to work for Microsoft.  As food lovers we searched for places to eat and as usual we were looking for the locals recommendations instead of the touristic places. At that visit we came across a blog of a Spanish guy from Madrid that wrote English recommendations about the Spanish restaurants. In that trip we have realized we should write such a blog about Tel Aviv. My current trip, which was a business trip, was some kind of a closure as I visited the city in which the blog was founded from.

Thanks to my Spanish guide Hector, and some wondering around the streets I have tested again the wonderful tastes of Madrid.

Mercado de San Miguel
I admit, this is a very touristic place and it seems that the locals don’t really go there. Nevertheless it was very nice experience of colors, tastes and sounds.  I even discovered over there that Sea Urchin is something people actually eat.

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

Bazaar Restaurant

Very ‘value for money’ place. You can’t book a place in advanced so we came there, registered and went to drink a beer in the Chueca barrio. At the restaurant itself I took a Burger that was a bit dry in my opinion but overall it was a good lunch. Very good Cheese Cake.
http://www.restaurantbazaar.com

Bazaar

Bazaar

El Zagal
To this place I arrived just because it was very close to my hotel. I had a traditional dish of Octopus with Potatoes and Paprika (Pulpo Gallego).
http://madrid.salir.com/cerveceria_restaurante_el_zagal

El Zagal

El Zagal

Taberna Txacolina
I have asked Hector for a tapas and beer tour in all the cool places, so he took me to Calle de la Cava Baja in La Latina. We were in a few places and the one I liked the best was Txacolina. The place had good vibe and quite big tapas.
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187514-d1942497-Reviews-Taberna_Txacolina-Madrid.html

Txacolina

Txacolina

Txacolina

Txacolina

With Hector at Txacolina

With Hector at Txacolina

La Gloria Montera
Another place by the owners of the Bazar restaurant. Overall i think it was also value for money as I payed 21 EUR for a good Salad, Entrecote Steak and wine. I drank the wine by myself, wishing Shahar was there to share the experience with me.
http://www.lagloriademontera.com/

Malatesta
I have arrived here by chance. I was walking around the streets looking for something to eat and I was already a bit tired from all the deep fried food. Then I have noticed this small and cute place and I knew right away this is the place for me. It was a bit expensive but definitely worth it. The pasta was great and I finally had a real salad with fresh vegetables
http://trattoriamalatesta.com

Malatesta

Malatesta

Orio Fuencarral
I went there on our night out with all the Spanish guys and the people from the training. In my opining the tapas there were over-fried. I mean why everything should be deep fried? And when I’m saying everything I mean that even the oysters were fried.
http://www.oriogastronomiavasca.com/

Orio Fuencarral

Orio Fuencarral

Tempranillo
My biggest challenge in Madrid was going by myself to a tapas bar, push people in order to get to the bar and then to ask for food in Spanish. On my last night in Madrid I decided I will do it no matter what. I went back to Cava Baja and found Tempranillo. It wasn’t easy for me but I found myself at the bar asking for “Jamon Serrano con pan tomate y vino tinto” and afterwards I was able to ask for 2 or 3 more tapas by myself from the Spanish menu. That was a joy! And the food was very good as well.
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187514-d990681-Reviews-Tempranillo-Madrid.html

Tempranillo

Tempranillo

Tempranillo

Tempranillo

Santiago Bernabeu
Yes I know, this is a food blog not sports. Nevertheless one cannot miss mentioning that he (or she) was at a game of Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu. Absolutely amazing experience that does not remind the Israeli football in any way.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid

New House, Old Food – Casa Nova

3 Dec

Rainy Friday noon in Jaffa in amazing arched building – we set a brunch in a ceviche place named Casa Nova, or as the sign say “Cevicheria”. The place tells about itself that their specialty is new Latin food.  Sounds premising in theory, but in practice… well, read this post and decide for yourself.

Mixto

Inbar took the Mixto – mix of Fish, Shrimps, Calamari and Mussels in lime, red onion and coriander in chili cream, which was probably the highlight of the meal – a nice and fresh sea salad. Shahar took Escabeche –Fish “a la plancha” in vinegar of onion and pepper served on top of avocado crème. The fish was soaked in vinegar for too long which caused it to be very sour and not so tasty. Adi took Calentado, rice with black beans and tomato sauce topped with egg, sunny side up style, and mullet fish fillet. The rice was undercooked, the egg came in a different plate (they forgot to serve it…) and the fish seemed to come from a different story (although Adi thought it was nicely cooked).

Escabeche - The fish was soaked in vinegar for too long

Calentado - fish from a different story

We have also shared Remolacha & Almojabanas. Remolacha is a beet salad that was served with carrots, coriander seeds and Manchego cheese. The salad wasn’t special but it was good due to the fine cheese that supplied that needed edge.  Almojabanas are scones of corn and cheese that were quite unique and suited the salad.

Remolacha - Beet Salad

Almojabanas - scones of corn and cheese

We were also served a complimentary dish (that was charged by mistake) – Choritos – Mussels and shells with salsa of red onion and tomatoes. The dish was small and the mussels felt as they were taken out of freezer.

Choritos

To sum up the experience – the setting is amazing and you can have some wonderful sea view but the food is somewhat disappointing.  If you’re just looking for an outstanding sea view – go for it, just don’t expect outstanding food.

The Check Please (3 people)

Calentado – 74NIS
Escabeche – 39NIS
Almojabanas – 28NIS
Remolacha – 21NIS
Mixto – 40NIS
Cava Brut – 48NIS
Mineral water – 14NIS
Choritos – 28NIS

All in all: 264NIS

Summary:

Food: Sea food / Latin
Price: High
Location: Jaffa port

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Contact Details: Casa Nova

Address:  Ratzif Haalya Hashnia 48, Jaffa port| Phone: 03-5413636
http://www.casa-nova.co.il

Los Campeones – La Champa Del Mar

9 Jul

Update July 2013: The place is closed.

Yes we know we’re reviewing another Tapas place. We can’t help but to surrender the love for the little Spanish dishes. Unlike many imitations, La Champa Del Mar, located at the restaurants and business area of Ha’arbaa Street, is the real Tapas (and Cava) deal. The Barcelona football club flag, hanged on the rear of the bar, keeps it no secret that the place is focusing on the fabulous Catalan kitchen, the menu written on chalkboard on top of the bar, as well as the rustic wood setting, provides a nice homely feeling.

At that night, as I (Shahar) promised Eran, one of my friends, we headed out to review the place together. Since we came a little early, the place was empty but we didn’t mind so much. The ordering in La Champa Del Mar is done from the bar itself as a true Catalan Tapas place. The sausages hanging just besides the Barca scarf seemed inviting as well.

The Menu

In order to enjoy the food just a little more, we ordered a bottle of Semi Seco Cava (note that Cava is the only alcohol available). For the Culinary part, Eran ordered Hamburguesa with Emmental cheese, which was very good according to him. A dish of Calamari a la plancha, was a little ambiguous. Although the Calamari itself were very good, the sauce of our choice – glazed orange peel – didn’t fit the Calamari at all and overshadowed the taste of the Calamari.

Semi Seco Cava

However a similar dish of Shrimps a la plancha with a different sauce – “Spicy Español” (Chipotle Barbecue) – was a whole different story. The shrimps were grilled perfectly and the sauce was amazing. Another successful Tapas dish was the Morcilla – Spanish blood sausage. The sausage, served on top of baguette slices, was spicy and full of taste.

Calamari a la Plancha

Since we were still a little hungry, we also took a plate of Roquefort Cheese and Cured Spanish, Both excellent and emphasized the fact that La Champa del Mar is using the finest ingredients (Surprisingly now I see we weren’t charged for it). A dessert of “Champa-Jores”, a variation on the Argentinean Alfajores, Ended the evening with a good sweet note. Hopefully other people will figure out the fine character of La Champa so it won’t fade out.

Shrimps a la Plancha & Hamburguesa

The check please (2 people)

Shrimps a la plancha, Spicy Español – 34 NIS
Calamari a la plancha, Glazed Naranja – 34 NIS
Hanmburguesa (w/ Emmental) – 23 NIS
Morcilla – 25 NIS
Champajores – 14 NIS
Selection of Cured Hams & Roquefort cheese (not charged)
Semi Seco Cava – 69 NIS

All in all: 199 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale: 

3.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Spanish – Catalan
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Ha’arbaa

Contact details: La Champa Del Mar
Address:  16 Ha’arbaa Street,Tel Aviv | 03-5610630

A Taste of Spain – Tapas 1 Haam

5 Mar

Everyone wants to have a vacation from time to time. When, from many reasons, you can’t take one, you compromise to get just the vacation feeling. Getting out to a restaurant that brings another country’s atmosphere will get you somewhere close to that feeling. Tapas 1 (Ahad) Haam is exactly one of those places.

The setting

This Jonathan Rushfeld place, nearby his formerly reviewed “Yavne Montifiore”, was opened about a year and a half ago with a major emphasis on the restaurant atmosphere. The beautiful setting include colorful Spanish-style tiles, a classic display of hanging sausages, a wide open kitchen and restaurant goods set on the high tables, where we sat.

Tomato Salad & Shrimps and Calamari

After a bad experience we had in Tapas Ahad Haam around its opening, which included seating in the very end of the place and suffering from a pushy waitress, we decided to have a corrective experience. This time the waitress was very nice and our experience was much better.

Beef Tartar

We were glad to see that the place investment in its atmosphere did not subtract with the food quality. We shared five dishes between us. A Beef Tartar that was far better than the one we reviewed on the Butchery post (while Inbar thought the tartar at the Yavne Montifiore was better). It included quality beef, great sourness and a tasty smoked peppers sauce. The toasts that were served alongside were delicious as well. A dish of grilled Baladi Eggplant with eggplant paste was very good, though not Spanish at all (but rather an Israeli mainstream one).

Baladi Eggplant

A dish of Artichoke hearts on the plancha with goat cheese and oregano was wonderful, fresh and ended too quickly, and so was the Tomato Salad which included few types of cherry tomatoes, hard cheese and a great addition of Za’atar leaves.
Sevillian Shrimps and Calmari, taken from the restaurant specials, was the last dish of the night. The seafood itself was simply amazing. It had a very natural fresh taste and even a too oily sauce didn’t hurt the flavor.

Two glasses of Cava escorted the great experience abroad. Well, at Tapas 1 Haam.

The Check Please (2 people):
2 X Cava – 58 NIS
Baladi Eggplant – 22 NIS
Artichoke Hearts – 31 NIS
Beef Tartar – 28 NIS
Shrimps and Calamari – 44 NIS
Tomato Salad – 34 NIS

All in all: 217 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Tapas
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Echad Haam / Allenby

Contact details: Tapas 1 (Ahad) Haam
Address:  27 Echad Haam, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-5666966
Opening Hours:  Sunday-Thursday 18:00-01:00 | Friday-Saturday 12:30-01:00
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=10748 (No English)

Spain was found in Tel Aviv – Tapeo

19 Jan

After a break of about a week, in which we ate only at home, we decided spontaneously to find a restaurant to break the drought. For a while, Shahar wanted to visit Tapeo. The problem is that when you’re spontaneous you won’t find a place at Tapeo bar. We were skeptical – but we tried. We made the call and the hostess told us she has a place on the bar for an hour and a half. We didn’t have doubts – We were on the way.

Cold Dishes Chef

Tapeo define itself as tapas and ceviche bar, and if you are one of our regular readers your already know what we think about Tapas in Israel. Tapeo is no different –this is not Spanish Tapas but it is so good we forgot the criticism. So… After that emotional introduction we can start with the interesting part – the reason we are all here – the food.

Red Drum Ceviche

We were seated in the middle of the bar with a good view on the cold dishes chef and his amazing work. We shared all the courses and ordered them together. We chose to escort this dinner with a half jar of their house white wine. The first course to arrive was the Sirloin Con Tres Pimientas – half-raw meat covered with pepper which was good meat dish. While we were eating, the chef had served us the second dish that he prepared in front of us – Cubes of Red Durm Fish in an herb chimichurri sauce served with grilled eggplant in yogurt-lemon sauce. This was an excellent combination of fresh fish with fresh sauce which made this dish delicious. The next course was Gambas a la Brasa – two prawns on the plancha seasoned with sea-salt. The prawns were in cooked in the desired manner and we enjoyed them very much.

Mejillones Al Ouzo

All these courses were good but they did not prepared us to the next one – this was Mejillones al Ouzo – small iron casserole filled with Mussels in tomato and ouzo sauce. This dish was very good and when the mussels were over we were left with a casserole filled with fantastic sauce. That was a good reason to order their breads – we got two buns & two small Pita breads – all of them hot from the oven – that were used to dip and wipe out the sauce.

We chose to finish this great dinner on the bar with a pistachio Crema Catalan that was served with strawberry and white crème – excellent and refreshing desert.

The check please (2 people)
Half jar of house wine – 70NIS
Sirloin Con Tres Pimientas – 38NIS
Cubes of Red Durm Fish – 38NIS
Gambas a la Brasa – 34NIS
Mejillones al Ouzo – 38NIS
Pan y Tres salsas – 18NIS
Crema Catalan – 28NIS

All in all: 264 NIS

Summary:

Food: Tapas
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Ha’Arbaa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale

4.5 Forks

Contact details: Tapeo

Address:  16 Ha’Arbaa Street, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6240484|
Opening Hours:  Sun – Sat 18:00– until late.
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/default.asp?txtRestID=5545

The winter has arrived… to the Cordovero

17 Nov

July 2012 Update: The place has closed its doors.

Just to prove that we didn’t lie to you when we said we love tapas, we decided to go the day after to Spanish-wanna be place – The Cordovero. Don’t worry, we will write about other options in Tel Aviv except tapas, and you don’t need to read again the background information about the Israeli tapas places.

Cordovero is a neighborhood bar that focuses on cava and good food. It started as a small place in Florentin neighborhood that wrote its daily dishes on board, and today it’s a small-medium bar that serves a good (sometimes a little commercial) food. Try going there on a Friday afternoon (The best time of the week to spend time in Tel Aviv in our opinion).

The reason we decided to go there, a day after our visit in Winberg (another tapas bar) is that we heard that they are trying their upcoming winter menu. They served a dish for 19 NIS & 3 dishes for 49 NIS. By the time we got there the place was full and some of the dishes already ran out. We order 3 dishes of what was left – Shrimp Ceviche, Mushroom Risotto & Pumpkin Gnocchi. The ceviche was so small that is hard for us to judge, we think it was only OK. The risotto was an improvement in the meter of the size of the dish and was tasty. Luckily, the last dish, the gnocchi, was also the best. It was a gnocchi made of pumpkin, with Brie cheese & smoked eggplant. We enjoyed it very much. We must say that we understand the rather small size of dishes since it was a tasting deal for 49 NIS which is not expensive.

After the 3 dishes, we felt that we are still hungry so we order the Meat Paella. It was a nice dish and was much bigger. The meat itself was not that tasty but the rice together with the other ingredients was good. We have chosen to escort the dinner with glasses of Cava semi-Saco.

To sum up, the Cordovero is a small neighborhood bar for Friday afternoon or while visiting Floertin.

Summary:

Food: Spanish/Mediterranean tapas bar
Price: Medium
Service: OK
Getting there: by car (parking can be hard on nights/weekends), taxi is also an option.

The check (2 people):

3 Tasting courses – 49 NIS
Meat Paella – 53 NIS
3 Cava glasses – 66 NIS

All in all: 168 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact details: Cordovero

Address: Cordovero & Stern, Tel Aviv
Opening: Sunday to Saturday: 18:00 – late. Happy hours 18:00-20:00
077-4060771
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=9912

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