West Side, the beautiful restaurant at the new Tel Aviv Royal Beach hotel, has magnificent views of the sea and the beach promenade. The ambience can be described as casual on the outdoor patio and elegant in the interior The menu, created by the Isrotel Carmel Forest Resort’s acclaimed chef Amir Khalfon, the restaurant’s chef Mario Hilmer and the hotel’s chef Guy Malka, is both classic and innovative. Based on local fresh quality ingredients, it is inspired by classic European cuisine combined with an Asian influence. The result is a rich, modern kosher menu that warrants your full attention, so be prepared to take the time to fully savor the experience.
A fine dining establishment like West Side is held to a different standard than more casual places. I found West Side to be warm and welcoming. The hosts and waiters were gracious and polite; and while the tables were well appointed, they weren’t fussy or overly dramatic.
Finally, the food. Meticulous doesn’t begin to describe the attention given to the food preparation, with every dish beginning as a feast for the eyes. The flavors were full, rich and robust.
We were a group of eight, so we had a chance to sample and share many of the dishes. We really liked most of them, so here are a few details.
For appetizers, we had the beef carpaccio, served with Italian artichoke (NIS 68). It was sliced paper thin and drizzled with excellent olive oil. We all wanted the seared red tuna, served with beet confit, blood orange, olive oil and chopped shallots (NIS 68); and the Mediterranean fish carpaccio, served with radish slices, hot pepper, Thassos olives, juicy tomatoes, and olive oil, was divine. We added two fresh salads -- the Carmel Forest green salad (which was almost too pretty to touch) and the Beresheet assorted salad with Italian artichoke, capers, anchovies, red onion slices and Kalamata olives. Other appetizers we loved were the Vietnamese goose confit spring roll -- layers of thin pastry filled with goose confit, mixed with Eastern spices, soy dip and fresh leaves (NIS 62); chicken Jiaozi served on a Japanese cucumber salad with roasted sesame seeds (NIS 52); and the house bread -- hot stone-baked focaccia, roasted eggplant puree, seasoned olives in olive oil and herbs. They were a wonderful start to what was a very successful dinner.
For main dishes most of us wanted the fish, so we chose sea fish fillet a la plancha, served with charred eggplant and market vegetables, seasoned with pastis and a roasted pepper gazpacho; and the charred Norwegian salmon in mirin caramel, served with porcini risotto, sweet soy sauce and bok choy. Both were perfect.
The meat dishes we chose included a classic beef filet served with pureed ratte potatoes, asparagus, roasted mushrooms and a Cabernet sauce, an elegant dish one would expect in a place like this.
Another classic, the goose leg confit, was served with charred gnocchi, chestnuts, roasted butternut squash and a sweet pomegranate sauce.
It seemed a shame not to try the vegetarian dishes, so we added the crispy zucchini florets filled with tofu, served with gnocchi and roasted mushroom – a fantastic dish not only vegans will like. We also had the hand-torn pasta served with vegetables, olives and tomato puree.
Desserts were delightful. We all agreed that the best was the trio of sorbets. But all the desserts were a feast for the eyes and a great ending to a wonderful meal.
Our dining experience at the West Side was delightful in every way.
Thoughtful, professional service, combined with stellar food, adds up to a perfect evening.
West Side makes good service look easy. Our waiter was a rare breed. Not a student or an aspiring actor waiting tables while waiting for his career to take off, he was a professional waiter who said he loved his profession – and it showed. He was fully familiar with the menu and was able to discuss the various dishes and options while conveying the feeling that he cared about our enjoying the meal rather than trying to sell us something more expensive.
Professional and friendly, he had an easy-going manner that never lapsed into over-familiarity.
West Side also offers one of the best breakfasts in Tel Aviv, with free parking thrown into the deal. The breakfast buffet (NIS 90) includes many egg dishes, an array of cheeses, salads, fish, breads and muffins, fresh juices and excellent coffee. Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
West Side Kosher mehadrin The Royal Beach Tel Aviv 19 Hayarkon Street Tel: (03) 740-5054 Rtfirstname.lastname@example.org Open for dinner Sunday to Thursday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
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