By Chelsea Truesdell
I have finally found love in this bustling and crazy city of Tel Aviv. I never would have thought it would happen so quickly, but it did. I have never felt so satisfied, so comfortable, and so daring in my entire life. I’m so in love that it’s all I think about, dream about, and talk about. Some things you just can’t control… and I have fallen in love with Herbert Samuel.
Herbert Samuel isn’t a name you can just toss around. Headed by renowned chef Yonatan Roshfeld, Herbert Samuel is a gourmet up-beat restaurant in Tel Aviv that serves fine Israeli-haute cuisine with the freshest ingredients and a creative twist. The restaurant itself overlooks the Mediterranean on Hayarkon, giving you a dining experience you will never forget (if you don’t mind the new gas station put in right across the way.)
Since the menu changes seasonally, even weekly, you are guaranteed never to enjoy the same meal twice, but instead experience the ever-changing creative cuisine that chef Yonatan Roshfeld shares with Tel Aviv. When I went to Herbert Samuel, I was told to order any fish dish, since the fresh seafood is what the restaurant is best known for.
The menu at Herbert Samuel is in the form of a tapas style restaurant, offering small plates of every dish as tasters, as well as medium sized portions. Because I wanted to experience as much as possible, I ordered the small version of every dish I wanted to try.
The first dish I ordered was the “Tomato Salad.” Don’t let the simple name fool you; this was the best tomato salad I have ever eaten. The plate came out with a variety of tomatoes sliced up, all different colors and sizes. Not only were they different types of tomatoes, but some were charred and some were refreshingly cold, giving the dish a unique twist in texture. The tomato salad was topped with rich Turkish cheese, sliced radish, onion, egg yolk (something unexpected), garlic and basil. Each ingredient was distinct in flavor but came together in a fresh and innovative way, letting me taste something I have never experienced before.
The second dish came out in a beautiful presentation. The server called the dish the “Infamous Balkan Shrimp Salad,” and I can see why. The salad was a bed of fresh spinach and cilantro, charred okra, grilled sweet onion, all topped with lightly grilled plump shrimp. The plate was painted with a stroke of tangy light yogurt and a an olive tapenade, both working in unison to compliment each other’s flavors. The presence of the okra gave the dish an African influence.
I ordered the Goat Cheese Ravioli, because I can never pass up home-made pasta. The dish was very unique in that it was two large pieces of ravioli, rather than a collection of smaller pieces. The ravioli was truly packed full of surprises- topped with toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs, crumbled hardboiled egg, and a light olive oil sauce, it was unlike any pasta dish you would find in other Tel Aviv restaurants. The goat cheese stuffed inside was rich and creamy, causing me to lick my lips after every bite.
The desserts ordered took the restaurant into a whole new ballgame. Because all the desserts are made in-house, we couldn’t decide one. The waitress surprised us with bringing out one, and giving one to us on the house. One of the desserts brought out was a cheese cake, but this cheesecake was something I have never experience in my life! It came out in a beautiful presentation, paired with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and a stroke of pistachio glaze. The cheesecake itself was a dome of rich and velvety half-baked cheesecake topped with a thick green pistachio glaze and crowned with a ring of sliced juicy strawberries. The richness of the cheesecake was perfectly complimented with the zesty cold texture of the sorbet. You can definitely not find a dessert like this is any other Tel Aviv restaurant.
The last dessert was called “fruit salad,” but it was much more than what the title led on. The dessert was diced tropical melon pieces, paired with a large scoop of pistachio ice-cream and tiny balls of compressed pistachio covered with toasted shredded coconut. The entire plate was covered in sweet coconut milk, giving the dessert a tropical taste.
Herbert Samuel is a foodie’s heaven. Every dish is unique in presentation and bursting with the freshest flavor. The staff is friendly and very helpful, making you dining experience seem like their pleasure. You won’t find any other Tel Aviv restaurant dishing out such inventive and creative dishes, all crafted with an eye for detail and attention to taste. If you want to enjoy delicious cuisine of Tel Aviv, I dare you to fall in love with Herbert Samuel.