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The restaurant Herbert Samuel, like the Hotel Carlton hosting it, is decorated with a sea theme including comfortable blue chairs, white horizontal slatted claustras, which set off intimate seating areas, and small touches of wood for a warm touch. The wine cellar is exposed on two wall panels with bottles that seem to be floating on transparent supports. The space, which features an open kitchen, offers a lovely volume. The meal starts with a very interesting creamy cauliflower soup, attractively spotted here and there with drops of olive oil. The beef tenderloin with foie gras is served Rossini style with a beautiful slice of seared foie gras, lovely beet cream and large quarters of organic beets. Crushed pistachios provide some interesting crunch. The dessert, Caribbean nemesis, bursts with ingredients including chocolate, passion fruit coulis, spicy ice cream, and banana caramel. The whole thing works astonishingly well, with the ice cream and coulis ending on a very refreshing note. This is a really excellent place with elegant service and decoration and most of all elegant cuisine.
La Cantina, located on boulevard Rothschild, is an institution with nothing more to prove. Their loyal following of customers has been coming here for years to enjoy the classic, comforting Italian cuisine. The service and the welcome confirms our impression that they don’t feel the need to win over customers who are already happy to have managed to reserve a table. However, the quality and flavor of the dishes is their main strength. Whether you choose Antipasti, pasta, a meat dish or a dessert, everything is as good and as generous as in the best Italian trattorias. The wine menu is a nice combination of Italian and Israeli wines. You leave with the sense that the privilege of getting a table makes the evening worth it.
Located in a street with a high concentration of restaurants, ONAMI offers a somewhat dark, Asian atmosphere, with a slightly outdated but still welcoming, friendly setting. We are surprised by the impressive wine menu, and the varied selection of sake with something for every budget. The menu is extensive and designed to please a wide range of tastes. It is a good blend of basic Japanese dishes, and a few more creative ones with an “Onamian” touch. The Boterga Soba, an unlikely Asian twist on the Italian version of pasta works very well with excellent quality soba, the right amount of Ikuba so that the flavor of the fish is not overpowering. The dish is delicately flavored and perfectly balanced. Another lovely surprise is the Maguro Yukke, a sophisticated tuna tartar, with just the right amount of soy sauce to add the desired unami without masking the flavors of the egg and the fish, and a hint of spring type onions to subtly balance the richness of the dish. And of course, let yourself be tempted by the wide range of Nigiri and Sashimi: the fish is very fresh, the vinegar rice is excellent, and we highly recommend it, especially in a city with a limited choice of high quality sushi.
Pronto has lots of character thanks to its high ceilings and large bay windows, attractive wood bar, visible kitchen, and apparent cellar. The service is relaxed but very efficient. It is pleasant to be able to taste the wine before choosing. The classic Italian menu is designed around excellent quality, skillfully handled ingredients and the dishes are very attractively presented. The pepper flavor of the arugula salad seasoned with an excellent olive oil gives character to the tasty, thinly sliced beef carpaccio. The Taglioni al tartuffo are cooked al dente, and the truffle pasta is perfectly dosed so that the taste of the truffle is delicate and not in the least overpowering. The Valrhona chocolate brownie served with a scoop of white chocolate ice cream and ricotta mousse is a great success. It is unexpectedly refreshing, delicate and lightly sweetened. Thumbs up for the coffee worthy of a barista!
Brut is located on the charming, busy street Nahalat Binyamin, right near boulevard Rothschild. The wine menu is impressive including a few very rare wines and small unknown local vineyards along with some very great wines. The menu is perpetually renewed with many daily specials inspired from local market products. The tuna tartar is interesting: it is served on a bed of charred cabbage which goes astonishingly well with the very fresh fish, sprinkled with black sesame for a delicate hazelnut flavor. The barracuda à la plancha is perfectly cooked: the fish is firm, pearly, tasty and enhanced by a bed of braised red onions which, in addition to their strong flavor, provide a sweet, tangy note. The Turkish Layley, a dessert with oriental flavors, is a semolina cake with pistachios, dried figs, and creamy, very fresh mascarpone for a more western texture. The dishes are attractively presented without being overdone; no aesthetics for the sake of looks. Here the goal is to make the dish appetizing, and they definitely succeed in doing just that.
Yakimono is located in the very comfortable Hilton Hotel in a beautiful space opening onto the lobby. The décor is understated, elegant and calming. The perfectly seasoned starters are very fresh and made with lovely products. Classics such as sashimi and sushi get a second youth here with for example a very accurate sweet flavor or a lovely cream sauce paired with a crispy texture. The minced fish is pleasantly presented and the fried white fish is dressed in a citrus sauce that gives it character, enhancing its already very successful moist texture. The tempura vegetables are no less appetizing, technically perfect and made with seasonal ingredients. This is a lovely place, which is not afraid of stepping a bit out of the box. However, for this price we would have appreciated a slightly more high-energy ambiance.
With its decor somewhere between an understated temple and a chic massage salon, largely dominated by gold, and featuring lots of bouddhas, Nithan Thai is an elegant place with lots of wood, making it very warm. The menu zigzags between Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India with a good dose of aromatic, spicy ingredients. Sako Kao Rol, or the perfectly fried, flavorful, crispy Vietnamese chicken spring rolls, is served with lovely crisp lettuce and coriander. Bandera Kai, or three small pieces of tandoori chicken on chapatti, with red onion and a slice of lemon seems very simple but the seasoning is full of flavor. The Piaroro rolls, rice leaves stuffed with asparagus, is the restaurant’s emblematic vegetarian dish. An Israeli favorite, papaya salad with mango, mint, kafir lemon, and cashew nuts, here is magnificently accurate, distinctively flavored and exceptional. To finish on a sweet note, try Chi Cake, a chocolate cake instead of chocolate mousse with a crunchy crust that crumbles easily with the first bite. The scoop of Indian chai ice cream makes it a very original dessert.
Located near the Habima theatre, at the end of boulevard Rothschild, Milgo Milbar focuses primarily on seafood such as the lovely white fish carpaccio with crispy fried ginger and a few chilli slices, a very tasty, balanced fish sashimi with pumpkin pickles, with its creamy amber passion fruit and pumpkin vinaigrette, white sweet potato Agnollotti served with richly flavored tiger shrimps, a filet of fish with cherry tomato butter crowned with a potato gratin dauphinois. And to finish, why not try the crack-pie with camomile and honey ice cream, a lovely dessert with just the right amount of sweetness and an ideally light ending to a large meal. The vibe is warm and friendly, with a low-key, elegant setting. The accomplished dishes are made with very fresh ingredients and some surprising combinations which never disappoint. This place has a lot to offer.
Yakimono was one of the pioneers on the Israeli culinary scene, the masthead of a new wave of Japanese restaurants in Israel. The welcome is warm and while the wine list is not especially interesting, it encourages you to order from the great selection of sakes. The miso soup is rich and tasty, and without sodium glutamate which is unfortunately often used in these soups. Agedashi, one of their typical Italian Japanese dishes is generous and skillfully made. And for the rolls (Tokobestsu), we let the chef choose an assortment of very fresh fish for us. Then we understand why this place is one of the best in its category, not simply for the freshness and quality of the fish but also for the way that it is prepared. Yes the prices are high, and the decoration is a bit cold, but the food and especially the sushi is a small masterpiece in terms of the very talented use and transformation of fresh products such as fish and shellfish on view in their emblematic aquarium. The business lunch is a good value for the money.
Nammos, which has a very beautiful view over the marina, is known for its excellent quality food. The setting is low-key and elegant although without any Japanese decorative touches. Out of season, we recommend the warm indoor dining room rather than the terrace. The menu showcases excellent fish and seafood such as the very generous Batayaki Seafood Mix served with a light, tasty sauce or grouper and truffle dumplings served in their bamboo steam basket with soy sauce and a spicy miso sauce. The flavorful papaya salad comes with lots of fresh herbs, crispy fried onions, and a very spicy tamarind and yuzu sauce. Desserts include a delicious green tea and coconut mochi and a more regionally inspired very tasty Kadaif with strawberries and mascarpone.
Claro is located in the Sarona complex in a spacious industrial style space. The music has been carefully studied to enhance the pleasant atmosphere. The cuisine is inventive and Mediterranean inspired. Start out the meal lightly with the perfectly cooked white asparagus and goat cheese. Or try the Mediterranean raw fish, a lovely starter with thick, firm delicately flavored chunks of fish. The seasoning is an excellent balance between tart lemon, spicy pepper, and mild yogurt, while the green wheat tabouleh provides a toasted, crunchy texture for an excellent balance. Continue your meal with the skillfully cooked calf sweetbread, slightly crisp on the outside and tender inside. It comes with a new twist on classic polenta thanks to the flame grilled corn seeds for a surprising texture. The caramelized onions and green chili add the perfect note to this spicy dish. And don’t miss out on the short rib tortellini. The meat is tasty, the homemade pasta is perfectly cooked, and the very light sweet onion cream enveloping the dish is excellent. For dessert try the Claro Malabi, which is not too sweet thanks to the fragrant pomegranate coulis with a welcome touch of tartness.