Florentine is the young pumping heart of Tel Aviv, which many also call the Soho of Tel Aviv. At night, the narrow streets are filled with local hip youngsters, as well as tourists looking for the right places, and the atmosphere is hot and sexy.

In the middle of Vital, one of the busiest streets at night, we almost missed the humble entrance to Meat Night. We didn’t know what to expect of a neighborhood cafe-sandwich bar but decided we’d give it a try, and we didn’t regret it.

Meat Night, opened by chef Naor Cohen, a veteran of some of the city’s better eateries, is friendly and welcoming. The food is affordable but served with elegance. All the portions are generous, and the dressings and the bread are made on the premises.

Seating is only at the bar, which is divided from the kitchen by a glass wall, allowing diners to see the cooks at work.

Looking around the place, we saw a couple of women whom we recognized from the social movement demonstrations, next to them sat a few American tourists, and farther down the bar a mother and son were having a great time.

The brick walls are covered in part with graphic artwork, giving the place a New York feel. The manager, who greeted us with a broad smile, asked if we wanted to try some of his favorite dishes. We did.

The place serves meat sandwiches and some small dishes, as well as a few vegetable dishes. All the food we sampled was excellent.

The best dish we had was the mini-burgers made from entrecote and served with mushrooms and a poached egg – delicious and filling (NIS 29). On the side we tried a dish of roasted cauliflower with pepper puree (NIS 14) and a plate of fried potatoes (NIS 12). All were prepared with great care.

A more sophisticated sandwich was the steak and pear with truffle oil (NIS 42). It was a perfect sandwich – the meat was cooked to perfection, the pear added sweetness, and the truffle oil upgraded the whole thing, We savored every bite. With one Malka beer (NIS 22) and one Goldstar (NIS 10), this was a very satisfying meal.

Meat Night is a great hangout for lunch, a light supper or an afterparty late-night nosh. We’re going back.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Meat Night Kosher but not supervised 2 Vital, Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 518-4999 Open from noon until the last customer

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