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”.
For a long long time I felt aversion to the the word dim sum. The culprits are many Israeli catering services and restaurants which served unappealing frozen sacks and dared to name those “dim sum”. This all changed when I visited Hong Kong a few weeks ago. I discovered an amazing culinary world to which complete injustice was done here.
We just got back from a tour of southeast Asia which included Hong Kong. Naturally, we were intrigued to find out if Hong Kong Dim Sum hits close to home.
Rak Hayom (“Only Today” in Hebrew) is a phrase that is commonly heard at Israeli food markets by the loud, local vendors. Rak Hayom’s menu is based on fresh market ingredients which definitely echoes its name, only without the noisy, messy atmosphere of an Israeli market.
Miazaki is perhaps the most anticipated food project in Shuk Tzafon (North Market). Miazaki is Yuval Ben Neriah’s (of Taizu fame) interpretation on a Japanese “Izakaya”. Traditionally Japanese Izakayas are a combination of a Japanese grill bar and a gastropub where food is served to accompany the drinks. The food being in the form of small dishes to be snacked while drinking. I think that in that sense the experience in Miazaki is far from the source. Not only are they focused on food rather than drinks, the bar chairs were bolted together so you couldn’t sit there. The only option is to pick up your lunch tray and go to find a table in one of Shuk Tzafon’s seating courts, which while being indoors provide little insulation from the cold. In addition, the experience of eating outside is not very pleasant – the indoor balcony is very crowded and the wooden floor decks transmit every vibration or movement caused by people walking or dragging chairs directly into your spine.
Michal Ansky’s Shuk Tzafon (North Market) just opened its gates for a run-in period and we had to check it out. The market is located in Ramat Hachayal area of Tel Aviv and is spread across 1600 square meters packed with 15 food stalls and 15 specialty shops. It follows the trend of food courts in recent years, such as Sarona Market and Shuk Namal (Harbor Market). Unlike the latter two, it is aimed towards a different crowd – residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and the hi-tech workers from close-by offices.
If you’re looking for a restaurant with a great view in Tel Aviv, Raphael is probably one of the best. The chef behind the name is Rafi Cohen, which defines the restaurant as Resto-Bistro. Raphael is well known and a stable establishment in the Israeli culinary scene, existing since 2001 which is quite an impressive feat.