Bariba in the Tel Aviv Port is a kosher dairy restaurant whose name includes the message the owners are trying to convey. Bari in Hebrew means “healthy,” and with their new summer menu, the owners have introduced new dishes where the emphasis is on health without compromising taste. Fresh ingredients and substitutes for the less healthy options are now standard on the menu.
“We use only whole flour, low-fat yogurts and white cheese and have reduced the amount of sugar and oil in our recipes,” they assert.
A visit to Bariba for a sample press lunch was something of a mixed experience. On the downside was the fact that not one of the communal dishes arrived with a serving spoon, so that all the diners at my table were helping themselves with their used forks – the more sensitive wielded their clean knives – until I called attention to the missing spoons, and the utensils then appeared.
One more complaint before I get to the positive side of the event is that the waiters came around with glasses of carrot juice but quickly ran out of it and gave us orange juice instead. Since I make a point of never drinking calories except in wine, I was out of luck, especially as the carrot juice looked very appetizing, the glass garnished with a slice of the vegetable.
And so to the food. The first courses, which all appeared in the center of the table, included a mixed cherry tomato with mozzarella, smoked salmon crostini and some unusual salads with unexpected ingredients such as pear slices with piquant dressing.
The homemade crusty bread studded with olives and sun-dried tomatoes was particularly good.
Next to arrive were some excellent fish dishes. They included sea bass fillet with sautéed vegetables (NIS 88), salmon steak with sweet potato puree (NIS 98) and grouper (NIS 94). The homemade gnocchi with red potatoes (NIS 68) and the sweet potato ravioli (NIS 68) were both attractive and tasty dishes.
Vegans can be accommodated at Bariba, with special vegan-friendly adaptations of standard dishes using soy yogurt instead of dairy.
The wine served at this meal was a young Gewurztraminer from the Tabor Adam series – a bit too sweet for my taste (NIS 28 a glass).
Desserts, served in small lidded jam jars, were chocolate mousse, Malabo and fruit salad. The fruit salad was topped with a piece of watermelon cut into a heart shape (NIS 38).
Bariba is also open for breakfast, which is served until 12:30 p.m. It includes the usual two-egg based meal with extras (NIS 56) or the sweet breakfast with options of pancakes and muesli (NIS 38).
The Tel Aviv Port has become a lively and attractive hub for good shops and entertainment over the last decade, and with a dearth of kosher eating places around, Bariba has an important role to play.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
3 Hata’arucha, Tel Aviv Port
Tel: (03) 602-5026
Sunday to Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Available for private parties.