Olivo Local Bistro
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Chef Shadi Bishara, who worked for years at the famed Al Babour restaurant, has recently opened a bistro in the Druze town of Yarka. The menu offers a combination of Galilean Arab cuisine and rustic Italian cuisine. Bishara’s aim is to create an inviting Mediterranean bistro that uses the freshest local ingredients. The breads, pastas and pizzas, as well as the sauces and desserts, are made daily on the premises by Bishara himself. Among the items on offer are meat-filled kubbeh with sheep’s milk yogurt sauce (29 shekels), pasta shaped like wrapped candies, filled with homemade labaneh in a butter and za’atar sauce (48 shekels), cheese-filled agnolotti pasta with a mint butter and Roman artichoke sauce (48 shekels), and seared lamb ribs with root vegetables (98 shekels). Desserts include Sicilian cannoli with berry sauce and sorbet (32 shekels).
Indian food is having a heyday lately in Tel Aviv, after years when it was relatively scarce here. Dosa Bar is in the space formerly occupied by Boazu, a small Japanese restaurant that closed unexpectedly not long after it opened, despite its popularity. (Chef and owner Boaz Tzairi has already announced that he is searching for a new, more spacious location to reopen it.) Meanwhile, Dosa Bar, a vegan Indian restaurant, has taken over the venue. It offers a gluten-free Indian crepe (dosa) made from rice and black mung beans, with lentils, potatoes or other legumes added. There’s a yellow dosa with potato, onion and carrot (38 shekels), an orange dosa with sweet potato, carrot, onion and scallion (40 shekels),a green dosa with mangold, butternut squash, onion and ajwain, a hot Indian spice (44 shekels). There’s also Blue Moon beer and a selection of vegan desserts.
Dosa Bar, 188 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv. (03) 659-1961
Ticho House in Jerusalem is now home to Anna, a new kosher dairy Italian restaurant. It’s a joint venture of the Mona Restaurant Group and Dualis Yozma, created as a social business that trains and employs disadvantaged youth. Chef Moshiko Gamaliel, owner of the Mona Restaurant Group, is the guiding culinary spirit behind the project. The menu includes homemade ravioli with spinach and ricotta (54 shekels), homemade gnocchi with crème frache and grilled tomatoes (42 shekels), and desserts, such as a lemon tart (34 shekels) and crème brulee (26 shekels). Breakfast will soon be offered as well.
Anna, 10 Agan Street, Jerusalem. (02) 543-144
Kiryat Ono’s growing culinary scene now boasts the addition of Bombyx Mori, a restaurant and adjacent deli that together make for an ambitious project that’s full of surprises. Why confine yourself to a single Asian cuisine when you can traverse the entire Silk Road from China to Bukhara? Chef Sabina Valdman provided the culinary guidance and her touch is evident in dishes like the soup of lamb-stuffed dushbara with chickpeas and Uzbek raisins (38 shekels); steamed eggplant with maple, chili pepper, cilantro, peanuts and raw tahini (36 shekels); and Thai seafood curry (82 shekels).
Bombyx Mori, 35 Shlomo Hamelech Street, Kiryat Ono Mall, (03) 508-8999. Open daily 12:00 P.M. – 11:00 P.M.
Very quietly, with no fanfare, a marvelous wine bar has opened its doors in Tel Aviv. The wine shop owned by importers Anat Sela and Rafaella Ronen needs no introduction. It’s an island of expertise and exciting choices that offers a lovely glimpse into the European wine scene (with a significant nod to organic, biodynamic and orange wines, among other interesting finds). Now they’ve added a wine bar that has its own special twist.
Along with wine, you can have a small platter of fine imported cheeses or of charcouterie. Wine is sold by the glass, and the wines change from week to week in accordance with that week’s featured theme (wine region, grape variety, winemaker). There are also house wines that change from week to week. During happy hour (4-5 P.M.), the second glass of house wine is half-price. But the real fun is to first visit the shop and choose a wine, which they’ll gladly open for you at the bar at no extra charge.