For us, winter in Tel Aviv is the best time to go out to dinner – it’s not too hot, the places are less crowded, and the chefs seem to be much more creative. At the Kitchen Market in the Tel Aviv Port, chef Yossi Shitrit is reinventing his menu all the time. From vegan specials to seasonal surprises, there are always new dishes to be found in this beautiful spot.
The open and inviting area is decorated in modern elegance, with small tables laid out along the walls overlooking the sea and a huge, heavy wooden center table where you join others in a bar-like situation.
Sitting there and looking at the dishes served around us, we were reminded of a fantastic meal we’d had in Paris at the bar of L’Atelier Robuchon.
Perfectly prepared, beautifully served, yet in a friendly, happy and easygoing atmosphere.
It is not only the location – the first floor above the Farmer’s Market, looking out to the sea – or the friendly, knowledgeable staff or the excellent wine list that make this one of Tel Aviv’s must-go-to places. It is also the great food, prepared by chef Yossi Shitrit, a talented chef who moved to the Kitchen Market from his legendary little country restaurant Violet, an excellent French restaurant in Moshav Udim near Netanya. Many of his customers followed him, and for them he prepares old favorites every Sunday evening.
We started with the egg mushroom ragout, boiled egg and truffle oil (NIS 33), a dish that is a manifestation of the chef’s knowledgeable hand.
Light, flavorful and seemingly simple yet very satisfying, accompanied with a glass of Chablis, it was a great opening to a fantastic meal. My companion had the foie gras and Jerusalem artichoke ravioli, served with goose liver pâté and cherry amarena (NIS 65). It was very sophisticated and traditionally French, yet also very modern. When served this dish, we were reminded of the American TV show Top Chef Masters, where celebrated American chefs try to outdo each other serving the judges wonderful little parcels on beautifully laid-out plates. We usually salivate in front of the screen wishing we could have even a sniff of those pretty little bundles. Well, lucky for us, many of the dishes at Kitchen Market looked exactly like that, and we got not only to sniff them but to actually bite into them. The ravioli was perfectly cooked, and the pâté was exactly what you’d expect.
The dishes here are so flavorful and so pretty, that we really had a hard time choosing what to order next.
Should I go for the porcini crème brulè or maybe the tomato tarte tatin with eggplant? Or perhaps the handmade gnocchi in red wine sauce with porcini? All these sounded so tempting, we were sorry there weren’t more of us eating so we could try all the dishes. In the end, we decided to go for the duck breast served with cherries, prosciutto and sherry gastrique (NIS 116). Another very French, yet very modern dish.
The duck was a little chewy, but the sauce was spot on.
The other dish, which we’d had before and simply had to have again, was the warm terrine of slow-cooked lamb, with chestnuts and red wine sauce (NIS 150-200). It is a very tender, flavorful, rich dish, and perfect for a winter dinner.
To end this perfect meal, we chose one of the unbelievable desserts – the famous hot chocolate cake, which was selected as one of the best desserts in Tel Aviv. It’s not your usual hot chocolate cakes – it’s a work of art. Served in a large white deep plate, the dark cake rests in a pool of white chocolate sauce surrounded by homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream, caramelized bananas, and garnished with more chocolate. It is simply ravishing (NIS 46).
The perfectly cooked Frenchinfluenced food is not all you can get there. One can simply waltz in after a stroll in the market for a late lunch of soup, salad or homemade pizza and dessert or pop in and join the huge center table for a quick glass of wine from the well-stocked bar to go with an appetizer, the kind you’d expect to be served in Paris.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Hangar 12, Tel Aviv Port (above the Farmer’s Market)