Most top chefs in Israel do not choose to open kosher restaurants. This is a somewhat puzzling phenomenon in a Jewish state but true nonetheless. For this reason, we were very pleased to revisit the kosher Italian chef’s restaurant UNO in Tel Aviv’s busy center, near the museum, opera and court. UNO recently refreshed its menu, adding new and delicious dishes that provide a personal kosher interpretation to the modern Italian cuisine.



Decorated in a modern and elegant fashion, the atmosphere seems to fit its clientele – businessmen and lawyers for lunch and families for dinner – like a glove. There is a large and well-equipped bar along one wall, which as an after-thought we decided would have been the best place to sit. But we were shown to our table in a boothlike area with soft padded benches and round tables. In other parts we saw parties celebrating birthdays around larger family tables.

UNO’s chef, Nitzan Raz, bypassed the kosher challenge in a very clever way. The restaurant serves a dairy Italian cuisine and thus doesn’t have to forgo using cheese and cream where needed.

Our friendly and knowledgeable waiter suggested we start with something from the crudo part of the menu. Crudo, which means raw, includes such items as carpaccio and tartare. We couldn’t make up our minds which, so we chose two – the crudo corvina with pickled kohlrabi, celery, radishes tomato seeds and Atlantic sea salt, which was very good (NIS 54) and the sea bream carpaccio with confit of Portobello, truffle oil, tomato seeds and chili, which was even better (NIS 52).

To get a feel of the Italian, we sampled the cappelletti porcini (mini raviolis filled with mushroom, porcini oil and Pecorino cheese), which was so good, we fought over it.

Trying very hard to limit the calorie intake, we overlooked the special pasta and gnocchi dishes, salad menu, pizza and bruschetta menus and went straight to the fish, which was a good decision. But people dropping in for a quick meal and a drink can certainly find many reasonably priced and very tasty options, such as soup of the day (NIS 27), pizza and bruschetta (NIS 38- 54), Italian salads (NIS 42-28), risotto (NIS 54) and pasta dishes (NIS 48- 58).

My dinner companion chose the grilled whole sea bream with gnocchi served with potato and artichoke. It was well prepared and very satisfying. I chose the fillet of salmon on a bed of green ragout, which was really good, well cooked and tasted fresh. A bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc from the Regional series by Carmel went very well with all the dishes we ate.

We vowed to try tiramisu where available, and this was not going to be an exception. Here they serve the Italian dessert in a glass, and it does look more elegant. It was good and not too sweet and, together with some well-prepared espresso, it was a perfect ending to a very enjoyable meal.

On New Year’s Eve, UNO will have a special meal for two including choice of two starters from the special menu, two main dishes and a dessert for NIS 169 per person.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

UNO
Kosher
2 Weizmann St. (Beit Amot Hashkaot),
Tel Aviv (03) 693-2005

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