Baba Yaga 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘A Tel Avivian restaurant with French taste and a Russian soul,” that’s how
managing director Ben Muravchik describes Baba Yaga, a three-year-old European
restaurant on Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Street.
Baba Yaga offers visitors a
grand tour of the Continent, from Spanish-tinged appetizers through French
entrees and rich desserts from Mother Russia. Russia’s influence is particularly
palpable at Baba Yaga – popular as it is with tourists from the country and
Israelis with roots there – and each of Baba Yaga’s waiters speaks Hebrew,
English and Russian.
A large lawn and wooden deck front the restaurant,
while the interior recalls the Old World, with white tablecloths, high-backed
chairs and a collection of witch dolls behind the fully stocked bar (the place
is named for the feared sorceress of Slavic folklore).
Baba Yaga’s menu
is all over the map. This is one restaurant that seems to revel in eclecticism.
And while prices are far from from cheap, they’re not far removed from other Tel
Aviv establishments of similar caliber.
For starters, try the succulent
filet of beef tartare, beautifully capped with a poached egg (NIS 54). The
ceviche – served, unusually, beneath a radish-and-red onion garden salad – is
also worthwhile (NIS 48).
For a main course, the duck breast in prune
sauce was subtle and tender, and the filet of sea bream (better known by its
Hebrew name “denis”) superb (both are NIS 98).
If room remains for
dessert, the tiramisu is one of the finest we’ve tried anywhere in Tel
On weekdays Baba Yaga offers Around the World business lunches with
a choice of an Italian, French, Russian or Mediterranean-themed three-course
meal (NIS 79 to 99).
The premises, both indoors and out, are also
available for events.
The lawn can hold up to 100 people and often hosts
bar mitzvas and birthday parties.
For its wine list, the restaurant drops
its European conceit in favor of local boutique or mid-sized wineries including
Castel, Yatir and Chateau Golan (from NIS 88 per bottle or NIS 22 per glass to
NIS 360 and up).
Live music is on offer six nights a week – a rotating
roster of jazz, Brazilian samba and, when we visited, the smooth French chansons
of singer-pianist Arnon Friedman.
Ultimately, however, it’s Baba Yaga’s
distinctive and diverse menu that is its most appealing draw.
dishes you can’t find anywhere else in Israel,” says Muravchik in St.
Petersburg inflected Hebrew. “We’re gourmet for everyone.”
The writer was
a guest of the restaurant.
12 Hayarkon St., Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 516-7305
Open Sunday to Wednesday noon – 11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday