It’s romantic, it’s trendy and it’s located in one of the best spots Tel Aviv has to offer – overlooking the seafront of the renovated port, atop the farmer’s market. What more could you ask for? Well, the food’s not too bad, either. In fact, it’s excellent.

The Kitchen Market is located above the trendy (and very popular) Tapas bar, and both are part of the thriving farmer’s market, the place where Tel Aviv foodies go shopping before preparing dinner. The place is not only a restaurant but also a culinary center, holding cooking workshops and chef master classes, including vegan cooking classes twice a month, that attract a few local TV personalities and other celebrities who follow the world movement of no meat.

Chef and co-owner Yossi Shitrit opened Kitchen Market after cooking for many years in other establishments. His inspiration, which is apparent in most of the dishes, is the new French cuisine – sophisticated dishes that include an interesting combination of ingredients and cooking methods, prepared with meticulous attention to detail and elaborate cooking techniques.

We went there on a weekday evening, after a stroll around the port area, and managed to catch the last rays of the sunset as we were shown to our table next to the glass wall. My dining partner and I were feeling very romantic, so we decided to start with two glasses of Chablis. The wine list is not huge but carefully selected, and many of the wines are available by the glass.

With the wine arrived a plate of seafood amuse-bouche, the sophisticated French style bite-size appetizers that bear the chef’s signature and are a way for him to display his expertise, taste and inspiration. The best things come in small packages, and this was indeed not only one of the most beautiful displays we’d seen in an Israeli restaurant but also very tasty, served on a small rectangular plate, decorated very carefully with fresh pea puree and other surprises.

Next we tasted the house’s most popular dish, egg mushroom ragout (the name does not do it justice). It is a dish of poached egg served in a glass jar, with an aromatic mushroom cream stew and topped with truffle foam. I must say that it doesn’t sound as good as it tastes, especially if you finish it off by dipping the freshly baked country bread in the sauce.

The third and most surprising starter was the tuna tartare. It was not my first choice, but the chef recommended it. I was expecting another version of this too popular dish, served lately in all the trendy places in Tel Aviv, but it wasn’t. The fish was seasoned delicately and mixed with coturnix eggs (red caviar) and aioli. My partner was delighted and said it was perhaps the one dish of the meal she will not forget.

I know it sounds like a lot of food, but the dishes here are small. We like it, but many people may feel that they do not get enough substance.

For the main course we ordered the warm terrine of lamb, made from slow-cooked lamb, chestnuts and red wine sauce. It was served on a long, narrow dish shaped like a small parcel and garnished with vegetables and green pea puree. A somewhat heavier dish in taste, it was nevertheless executed beautifully.

The second meat dish was breast of goose, seared with caramel sauce and served with yellow beet roots, a vegetable that is available at the downstairs market and is as sweet as fruit. We looked at one of the vegetarian possibilities – carpaccio of mixed red and yellow beets with goat cheese and fresh green peas, which was great and could be an excellent starter.

The dessert menu is not extensive but well thought out. We were given a taste of a hot chocolate cake, served in a deep dish, with hot chocolate sauce that was poured on the cake at the table. As chocolaty as a dessert can get, this is heaven for chocolate lovers. I chose a sorbet for a lighter finish of a very rich meal which, considering all the factors – the location, the decor, the extremely friendly, excellent service and the fantastic food – proved to be one of the best Tel Aviv has to offer these days.

Prices: Starters range from NIS 32 to NIS-72. Main dished run from NIS 53 (for a homemade pizza) to NIS 88 for fish and up to NIS 154 for fillet of veal. There is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Reservations are recommended.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Kitchen Market
Not kosher
Hangar 12,
Tel Aviv Port
057-942-6881; (03) 544-6669

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