Nithan Thai has been through a lot since it had opened a year ago. It first started as a Royal Thai restaurant, offering an authentic experience that “treats each guest as a member of royalty”. Publications began circulating claiming a crazy weeks-long waiting list and reviews talked about subpar, kitsch food. The inclusion of Thai girls in traditional outfits whose job is to wash guests hands was met with skepticism and awkwardness.
Lately many restaurants in Tel Aviv started serving brunch over the weekends. This is perfect for us, seeing as how we mostly go out to eat on the weekends. We are always looking for new places that serve more than just the all-Israeli-breakfast that had become so prevalent lately.
Shuk Levinsky is becoming a very interesting neighborhood in the culinary sense. With new restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and gastro pubs, opening up constantly, and lot of available parking space nearby (a rare commodity in Tel Aviv), it has become one of our favorite go-to areas. To name a few interesting establishments: Ouzeria expanded to open the sister restaurant Ouzeria Next Door (fantastic food, high VFM but we didn’t enjoy the service), a great and decadent American bakery named Sweet Box opened up (don’t miss their huge decadent cinnamon bun) and Fifi’s, a tiny Thai place which created a buzz and amassed long queues.
The Italian restaurant Magazzino was opened almost a year ago by the same people behind the burger chain Moses, Zozobra and the pizza joint Tony Vespa. The huge, urban hangar is situated right in the heart of the construction works on Harekevet street, making access harder. However, there’s a big parking lot right at the entrance to the restaurant. The place is aimed towards large groups and families. This was evident when we visited on a Friday lunch and saw it packed with parents and their kids. We were seated right by the entrance, where every person opening the door also gifted us with a gust of hot and humid summer air. It didn’t help that next to us sat a couple with a baby which once in a while tried to verify that their large stroller could not, in fact, move through solid objects like our chairs and table.
EatWith is a new(ish) and unique way of dining. Basically, you go to a stranger’s house to eat dinner prepared by said stranger, with other strangers who came to the stranger’s house. Sounds weird? Well, it is. But It’s also very fun! It provides a way to get a glimpse into other people’s life, listen (and tell) interesting stories as well as share your passion for food with other foodies. I’ve been subscribed to the EatWith newsletter for a while now, waiting patiently for a specific host’s event to be scheduled. As luck would have it, just a week ago, Summer Endevors by Urbano was announced.
Friday morning, Shuk Tzafon is packed with people grabbing food and loading their baskets for the weekend. Entirely unbeknownst to many of them, a huge, spacious deli had opened just a minute’s walk from their very location. Agatha is more than a deli, though, as it offers a casual dining experience where you can get a taste of the great quality ingredients it has to offer. If you always envied the Europeans for their ostentatious delis, you’ll just love Agatha. Visiting there will make you forget you’re in Tel Aviv, if just for a few blissful moments.
The Norman is a luxury boutique hotel on Nahmani st, just off Tel Aviv’s central and busy Rotchild blvd. They offer a few dining experiences, including The Norman, a French brasserie-style restaurant with mediterranean influences. The Norman website promises and fails to deliver on a “world class fine dining restaurant”. In our case it definitely delivered “an unforgettable experience in the heart of vibrant Tel Aviv”, only not in the way they intended.
Located In the lobby of the boutique Mendeli Hotel, Mashya offers modern interpretation of local cuisine and serves Moroccan and mediterranean dishes with a fine, modern touch. The kitchen is headed by Yossi Shitrit, which is also the chef of two other great restaurants in town – Onza and Kitchen Market. Mashya prides itself on using local ingredients, produce and spices with advanced cooking techniques.
OCD opened several months ago in Noga neighborhood, an area that is becoming a creative center in Old Jaffa. OCD offers a unique culinary experience in the TLV scene. First it only offers a set degustation menu and second, the place contains only 18 seats located around the bar overlooking the open kitchen. I was first exposed to this way of dining in Tokyo, and since then it has definitely become my favorite. It provides a great view to the kitchen action and enables direct interaction with the kitchen staff. It also prevents awkward situations where your waiter doesn’t know which fish he just served you (happened to me in a pretty expensive restaurant).
Tel Aviv is in the midst of an Indian cuisine wave, and the recently opened Ma Pau is riding this wave alongside other restaurants like Captain Curry and Dosa Bar. More street-food eatery than a restaurant, this family business was opened next to Meir Adoni’s Catit and Mizlala, at the corner of Nahalat Binyamin and Ahad Ha’Am. Its three founders decided to open following their mother’s death, as a way to honor her cooking – hence the name, which literally translates as “mother’s bread”.