It is always a pleasure to return to Liliyot, the kosher meat restaurant in Tel Aviv, established in 1999, that has built up a formidable reputation as the place to go for a celebration, a friends’ reunion or a gastronomic night out on the town.
The food is innovative, the atmosphere always warm, and the fact that you are helping youth at risk by dining there is an added bonus to make the evening even more enjoyable.
The wait staff are pleasant and friendly and, once you have succeeded in getting their attention, are helpful and charming. They have a tendency to cluster together for a chat, which only goes to show what a pleasant workplace Liliyot is.
The starter menu offers a wide variety of dishes in meat, fish and vegetarian categories. These include salmon ravioli (NIS 48), sirloin carpaccio (NIS 49) and fresh salad with fennel, endive and crispy capers (NIS 38).
My companion chose chicken livers on banana cream (NIS 47), and I chose fresh fish salad, which in Hebrew was described as sashimi with lemon mousse (NIS 48). While waiting for the first course, we were treated to crunchy bread with aioli and tomato salsa dips, which seems to be fairly standard these days in upmarket restaurants.
When a plate of smoked salmon arrived, I was somewhat taken aback. Not that I would ever turn my nose up at smoked salmon, especially a high-quality one which this was, but by no stretch of the imagination could it pass for fresh fish. Presumably, the kitchen had run out of fish that was fresh enough to serve raw. But no explanation was given.
My companion was very happy with his grilled chicken livers on banana cream, an interesting combination. Perfectly cooked, crispy without and soft within, it was a good choice.
For a main course I ordered corvina, a white fish related to sea bass. In fact, it could well have been sea bass, as I would never have known the difference. It was beautifully cooked, just right, with a delicious crispy skin.
The accompanying vegetables were braised beets and crunchy cooked radishes (NIS 115), which certainly made a change from fries or potato puree.
My companion had beef tenderloin with wheat root vegetables and onion cream (NIS 150). Viewing this massive piece of meat from the other side of the table, I had my doubts that he would be able to finish it, but it went, to the last fiber. There was very little fat left, so it was clearly a good cut of beef. The onion cream, brown and sweet, was a delicacy.
The dessert menu also offered a good choice, and we plumped for chocolate nougat with bitter chocolate sorbet (NIS 32) and banana brulee with whiskey and pecan ice cream (NIS 37). The chocolate dish was especially good, with rich mousse on a crunchy base. The pastry of my banana tart was very good, light and crispy, and the ice cream excellent; but I could have wished for another filling, as baked bananas don’t quite work.
Other desserts on offer are green apple crumble with pecan and ginger ice (NIS 36), hot chocolate soup, sugar-free (NIS 34) and zabaglione with sour fruit (NIS 34).
Liliyot seems very popular with the non-religious crowd as well, although it is kosher lemehadrin. It is always a good indication of a restaurant’s high quality when people who don’t necessarily have to eat kosher still choose it.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Liliyot 4 Weitzmann St., Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 609-1331
Sunday to Thursday, noon – 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday, noon – 3 p.m.
Sat., 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.
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