May 26, 2011

crêpe de la crêpe

Written by: Lidia Fabian

Pinsker 30, Tel Aviv
Prince Range: 25-60 ₪

For those who know a bit of French cuisine, the name Suzette should immediatly ring a bell: a place that must have to do something with crêpes, the very tasty and very thin French pancakes. “La crêpe Suzette” is THE crêpe de la crêpe, served “flambée”:with alcohol on top– in this case Grand Marnier, an orange liquor –light it up, wait until it blows out, and enjoy the delicious crêpe filled with a sauce of butter, sugar, and orange zeste.

Suzette is a crêpe restaurant that serves the original French crêpe made with buckwheat, in all kind of variations, sweet and salty. The menu offers what they call “classic” crêpes with cheese and ham, cheese and mushrooms or four cheeses, as well as “special” ones, filled with salmon, shrimp or chicken. The sweet are made with dark chocolate sauce, salty caramel (very delicious!) or you can order, of course, the crêpe suzette, which is served exactly how it should be.

The place has a very cosy and warm atmosphere, a place where one can hang out all day on the terrace. Even without the sea right in front of you it feels as if you're lounging on the French Atlantique coast. But it also has a touch of a “neighbourhood” restaurant, a “bistro du coin”, where everyone can come: parents,children, a couple on a first date or colleagues who want to have a nice lunch.

The crêpes are delicious, the staff very friendly, all together with the feeling you get when you sit on the terrace, as if you'd like to put your feet up and chat with the people sitting around you, mostly because you want to try their crêpes too. At the end you know you will definitely come back. And back. And back. And to make sure you will, enjoy your crêpe with a glass of cider.

May 19, 2011


Written by Chelsea Truesdell

Coming from the seafood capitol of Seattle, I can’t help but be somewhat of a sushi snob. I tend to be very critical when I enjoy the fine cuisine of fresh raw fish delicately rolled with crisp vegetables, paying close attention to the balance of flavors and creative presentation. I have been pleasantly surprised to find delicious and inventive sushi restaurants in Tel Aviv offering fresh fish and creative ingredients.

Earlier this week I wandered through Neve Tzedek looking for a new restaurant to try out and stumbled upon Okinawa sushi restaurant nestled in the center of the neighborhood. It seemed to be the only crowded Tel Aviv restaurant that Wednesday night and I always take that as a good sign. My friend and I sat down and we ordered the ‘Salmon Fingers’ as an appetizer to munch on while we scanned the menu and decided what to order.
The salmon fingers came out perfectly sautéed in a light teriyaki glaze with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top. When I bit into the salmon it lightly flaked off in my mouth, melting almost like butter over my tongue. We slurped the dish down so fast it was gone before our eyes. We we’re almost licking the plate as the waitress took it away.

We ordered a variety of rolls, including potomaki, inside-out maki, and sushi “sandwiches.” The red tuna potomaki came out rolled in a huge roll, stuffed with different finely chopped vegetables, including chives, carrots, and cucumbers. The roll itself was so wide I had to eat it in two bites! We ordered a sea bream inside-out maki roll rolled with fresh seabream, cucumbers, and avocado. The sea bream was a full white color and meaty in taste. The sushi “sandwich” consisted of salmon, cream cheese, and avocado, cut into triangle shapes and dusted with breadcrumbs on the edge. They we’re considerably bigger in size and filled us up quite nicely.

Although we stuffed our bellies full with sushi, it was so fresh and delicious we couldn’t help but order one more roll. We asked what the waitress suggested and she recommended the salmon tempura. The roll came out with salmon, cream cheese, and avocado stuffed inside with a crispy coating of tempura on the outside. The roll was still warm on the outside from being fried but still moist on the inside with the combination of the refreshing rich salmon and cream cheese. The dish was one of my favorite in all of the Tel Aviv restaurants.
Everything that came out from the kitchen was better than the next at Okinawa. Some sushi restaurants in Tel Aviv can come off intimidating, but Okinawa is bright and inviting. Not only was the staff attentive and friendly, but the food was classic with a light twist of creativity, which kept the dining experience simple yet unique. Neve Tzekdek hides many delicious restaurants, and Okinawa is just one more waiting to be discovered.

May 4, 2011

Shnitzel in the City

By: Chelsea Truesdell

Café Noir is a warm, upscale French Bistro offering a rich menu full of seafood and meat dishes. When I asked a friend, “Where can I find the best schnitzel in the city?” she didn’t even hesitate and gave me the address of Café Noir. Although the Tel Aviv restaurant offers more than the classic chicken dish, the Café is known for their famous schnitzels- chicken breast, pork, and milk-fed veal.

When you walk into Café Noir, you instantly feel welcomed. The low lighting creates a sense of warmth that brings you into the café. Jazz music tickles your ears as you relax in the dim, candle lit restaurant. The décor is clean and smart, letting you focus on the beautiful food served. If you’re looking for a romantic date restaurant in Tel Aviv, this is your place.
The menu is filled with appetizers, salads, and fish and meat selections. After much deliberation, my family and I ordered the ‘charred aborigine’ as an appetizer, the renowned ‘chicken schnitzel’ and the ‘gnocchi with ricotta and parmesan.’ Although they seemed like classic and simple dishes, we were surprised to indulge in complex and delectable flavors.

The charred eggplant was served on a bed of arugula, topped with cherry tomatoes, and creamy goat cheese drizzled with olive oil. The eggplant itself was infused with a smoky grilled taste from being charred which created a subtle yet distinct flavor. When you bit into the eggplant, it almost melted in your mouth like butter, giving it the feeling of baba ganoush. The heat from the eggplant melted the goat cheese on top which gave the entire dish a light creamy texture. It was this delicate, zesty taste, teasing our palette and leaving us wanting more.
After our appetizer, we were excited for what was to come. I truly support the statement that Café Noir holds the title for best chicken schnitzel in Tel Aviv. I never knew breaded chicken could taste so good! The schnitzel came out with light and buttery mashed potatoes and a small green salad. The juxtaposition of the thick crispy breaded crust on the outside of the moist and tender chicken made my mouth do back-flips. Usually I slather my schnitzel down with catsup, but the flavor of the unembellished schnitzel was enough to satisfy my taste buds.

I was still licking my plate as the gnocchi dish arrived. Usually when I order Italian-style food in Tel Aviv restaurants, I’m ready to indulge in a heavy and rich dish and be full for days. I was pleasantly surprised to see the gnocchi dish not slathered in cream or butter, but instead cooked in a light white wine sauce.
The gnocchi itself was like eating light pillows of love, each one fluffier than the next. Fresh, diced mushrooms accented the dish and although I usually don’t care for them, I rather quite enjoyed them in this dish. Ricotta and parmesan cheeses were sprinkled on top, leaving a pleasant salty and smooth finish.

Because we were so pleased with everything that we ordered, we had to sample some dessert. We ordered the ‘baked banana tart’ and the ‘Schwartz chocolate mousse,’ and neither one let us down. The baked banana tart came out warm in a pool of light caramel sauce and fresh cold ice-cream. The baked tart crust tasted almost like a waffle, with a crisp texture on the outside and a soft and butter taste on the inside. Since the bananas were more like plantains than overly-ripe bananas, it didn’t give the dish an overwhelming sweet taste.
If you’re a chocolate lover, the Schwartz chocolate mousse is just for you. The dish is like a chocolate tiramisu, with biscotti stuck in the middle and drenched with espresso. The chocolate mousse was perfectly whipped and topped with a wafer-thin chocolate cookie on top.
Well worth the price, Café Noir is the perfect Tel Aviv restaurant to spoil your taste buds. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared, with distinct flavors and exciting textures. If the romantic French design doesn’t make you fall in love, the chicken schnitzel will.