Jun 13, 2012

Introducing Baby Bites: Child friendly places to eat in Tel Aviv

A year ago to the day, I became a mom to a beautiful bouncing baby boy. For some, this experience means, at least for the first month, house arrest. I'm not quite the "staying in" sort, so after being released from hospital on a Thursday, I found myself out with family and the baby carriage Friday morning for breakfast on Dizengoff. At the tender age of two weeks he was breastfeeding happily while I chowed down on Fu Sushi (after what felt like an interminable wait) and his first foray into solid food included scrambled eggs from Benedict. What can I say; we're proud Tel Avivians who don't see life with baby as a reason to give up on the feast of excellence the streets of the Hebrew City have to offer.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce a new column called "Baby Bites: Child friendly places to eat in Tel Aviv" to the wide-ranging TasteTLV portfolio of reviews. It will look at the best (and perhaps "lesser than") places to eat out with your child in Tel Aviv. It will have a rating key which includes important facts for hungry mothers with strollers in tow, such as access, high chair availability, noise, space and sound issues, food appropriateness, service recommendations and more. You make a lot of compromises when you become a parent; you at least deserve a decent feed once in a while.

Looking forward to sharing a good meal with you,

Jamie Zimmer

Baby Bites: Child friendly places to eat in Tel Aviv 

Reviva and Celia, Yoo Buildings, Tel Aviv

Service: 5 strollers + ( )
Food: 5 strollers ()
Stroller Access: 4 strollers (
Noise Factor: 3 strollers ()
Shade/Indoor: Yes
Highchair availability: Yes
Price: Moderate to expensive

Friday morning is a sweet blessing for parents. For those with kids over the age of three, its a few quiet hours in which they can enjoy each other, or friends, or have the headspace and hands to get everything that needs to be done, done before the kids get home from school. For parents with babies, its a nice time to relax together and, if you're like us, enjoy a nice breakfast out. A few weeks ago we (my husband, one year old son and I) decided to do exactly that together with family (his sister, her husband and their youngest, who is 9 months old). A motley crew in some regards, but not entirely impossible to serve. They were coming in from Ramat Aviv Gimmel, over the river, and we're in Kikar Milano, so the parking issue was in play but we found a compromise by meeting at the Yoo Buildings, which boasts a lovely cafe in their shopping complex called Reviva and Celia. They have another branch on Rechov Ha'Arba'a near the cinematheque in Tel Aviv, with the original bakery in Ramat Hasharon having risen to superstar status after Reviva's pastry appeared on MasterChef. In short, we knew we would be in for a nice meal. 

So upon the Yoo Buildings we descended; four adults and two babies in strollers. We were immediately welcomed up the ramp into the restaurant and asked if we needed high chairs, if we wanted to be indoors or under the shaded outdoor area, and if we had anyone else joining us. We were shown to the biggest table indoors which later sat another group with a baby as well, with enough space for us all to eat in peace but coo at each others children from a socially acceptable distance.  We ordered the Israeli breakfast between my husband and I, with an extra serve of scrambled eggs and bread for the babies. My sister in law had the healthy breakfast and her husband the muesli with fruit and yogurt. All beautifully presented, packaged and brought in good time with a smile. And of course, delicious. The kids thought so too. My son had already eaten breakfast at his usual hour of 6.30am but was, as usual, happy for more. My niece chewed hungrily on fresh baked bread while my offspring shoved the eggs into his mouth at lightning speed. When my sister in law and I both pulled out pureed fruit snacks for the kids, the management offered us spoons to feed them with, rather than making a fuss about bringing outside provisions that some places tend to do. Ten thumbs up for that.

Still, that isn't the kicker of why this place is excellent. Food, service, accessibility - some of the best I've ever seen. They made room for our strollers without complaint, asked if we were having a nice morning, and couldn't get over how cute the kids were holding hands in their high chairs. Here comes the best part, though; my son, after literally filling himself to maximum capacity, vomited all over the high chair and floor, conveniently missing my plate but sadly catching my handbag and my sister in law's shoes. Without missing a beat, the staff brought us napkins and a cloth to clean it up, helped clean it up ( even though its something you never, ever want someone else to do) asked if he was ok and then carried on like we were still their favorite customers. My son, now happily relieved of indigestion, reached for the cheese. The staff laughed and brought me a glass of water. 

If I ever build up the character to show my face there again, we'll certainly be back. 

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