Sitting across from the head of the Ministry of Tourism in an one of a city’s top restaurants is a treat for any traveler, and I was lucky enough to live this experience in Tel Aviv. With their guidance, I experienced not only amazing food, but amazing people. Keep reading to find out where I went, and where you might want to go for your own culinary tour. TGIFguide highly recommends it 😉
My journey started off in Sarona Market, a modern almost Scandinavian looking development full of garden paths and quaint old houses. Sarona is considered to be the “Tel Aviv of tomorrow.”
[highlight color=”blue”] WILHELMINA [/highlight]
Situated in one of the refurbished buildings right in the center of the development, Wilhlemina offers a creative menu, some nice wine choices and a homey feel. It’s rare for me to say that my favorite part was the bread. Chef Haim’s creations of Green Vegetable Risotto, Truffle Fettuccini, Salmon Filet and Classic Gnocchi are simply divine.
The Chickpea Salad and Cod Ceviche are definitely worth a second visit. In addition, you know a place is good when you want to befriend the entire staff. I’ll surely be back. Be sure to say hello to Dan the Manager and Chef Haim when you see them, don’t forget to mention TGIFguide sent you!
[highlight color=”green”] THE BROTHERS [/highlight]
From the artwork of politicians depicted in hipster outfits hanging on the exposed brick walls, stepping foot into The Brothers restaurant on Ibn Gabirol gives you the vibe that you might as well be in Brooklyn, Silver Lake or even Melbourne. In other words, you feel like home. There’s no better meal than the one you have with your family, and “Ha’achim” (The Brothers), are as skilled as making you feel welcome as they are at preparing amazing food.
Run by real brothers Yotam and Asaf Doctor, the name of their culinary game is to take the Middle Eastern cuisine and recreate it with a modern flare. First, in true traditional mezze style, we were presented with a selection of salads. Fresh and innovative, my primarily vegetarian taste buds were savoring each bite. The deep-fried artichokes with garlic and parsley served on a mound of fresh labane cheese were amazing, as was the grilled butter lettuce, a must try. If you’re the carnivorous type, there are plenty of meat skewers — lamb, chicken liver, spicy veal sausage and more, which when judging by the “yum” and “mmmmms” of my colleagues, are delicious! 🙂
Our crew also were lucky enough to be lead through the central market by the chef himself. Now that’s some brotherly love!
[highlight color=”pink”] ABRAXAS [/highlight]
If innovation and food got married and had a child, or even if it were a love child, that child would be ABAXSAS. And Celebrity Chef Eyal Shani is the type of parent who lets his kid finger paint on the walls of their bedroom. The menu changes daily as Chef only cooks from what he finds to be the freshest produce or catch of the day. He crafts his tasteful works of art with his own hands and places them on a sheet of brown butcher paper in front of his many clients. So many that additional chairs are being pulled up at sidewalk tables that are almost overflowing onto the street. But no matter how busy the place is, it seems that he manages to give each and every person individual attention. I managed to capture a few snaps of him in action.
It’s a merry vibe at Abraxas, with a playlist that changes along with the menu, tunes from the top 40’s of today to the top 40’s of the literal 1940’s keeping the pace of the fast-moving staff.
While we were awaiting our first course, the waitress poured a bottle of wine and Chef took all of the glasses away in a swift movement and poured it out! The wine was not the best fit for the dish being serviced, so Chef opened a new bottle and we had it his way, which was delicious. Chef also encourages his patrons to eat with their hands, because the food has an essence meant to be felt. All I have left to say is, it felt and tasted delicious, and if you’re in Tel Aviv and don’t go to Abraxas, you’re missing out.
[highlight color=”blue”] VICKY CHRISTINA [/highlight]
From the minute I walked in to Vicky Christina, I felt like I was on vacation. Nestled under a grand tree in an old train station in Tel Aviv, you feel like you’re walking through worlds just coming up to the font door. The gorgeous decor and Gaudi-style tile are as hand-crafted and innovative as the menu.
Chef Yonatan Berrebi told us of how he wanted to take the traditional Spanish tapas and cater it to the Israeli palate. A job well done if you ask me. Just like Vicky Christina, the Woody Allen movie, `Vicky` is the calm cool laidback restaurant and `Cristina` is the adventurous freespirit bar. And I can say I’m lucky enough to have partied with the free spirited chef!
A mix of delicious and intricate flavors in one small bite makes you want to order more though, so you might as well bring two dates to share in the enjoyment 🙂
[highlight color=”purple”] TAIZU [/highlight]
Sometimes after so much Israeli hummus a girl has to mix it up! Taizu offered an elegant Asian-inspired menu served in a super stylish setting. Our party popped a few bottles of champagne and dove right into the tasty mix of the 5 category menu.
Subtle flavors started off our meal and we journeyed into the more complex and spicy flavors. I LOVED the raw fish plates. The best way to avoid homesickness from LA is to find some delicious sushi, and Taizu serves it up. Taizu features dishes from all across Asia, including Japanese and Indian-inspaired dishes. It’s posh and romantic, you should definitely bring a date!
Cheers to Israel and it’s amazing chefs and innovative restaurants. I can’t wait to come back! L’chaim!