In one of the most historical areas of Tel Aviv, old meets new at Italkia Batachana, which embraces all of the old train station’s magic. As soon as we entered the restaurant, we knew the atmosphere would be enchanting.
The interior is classy, warm and Italian style, yet modern. A bar serves as the centerpiece of the restaurant, and customers can sit there for a quick drink or at one of the surrounding tables.
No Italian meal is complete without a good bottle of wine, so Italkia boasts an impressive wine list that includes some of the best reds and whites that Israel and Italy have to offer.
We had a chance to sample a wide array of dishes from the enticing menu. Once we were seated at our table, we were met with the homemade southern focaccia (NIS 24), with a traditional mixture olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The first appetizer to arrive was the beef fillet carpaccio (NIS 54), accompanied by caper flowers and Parmesan cheese. The tender slices of beef were thinner than tissue paper, which is very impressive. Unfortunately, with meat so thin, it’s hard to taste the beef beyond the salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Until now, my pizza quest in Israel has not gone very well. I remain unsatisfied by the fare offered by dairy restaurants and pizza chains. I desire the dedication and attention of a true Italian food lover, and I feel that finally one restaurant in Tel Aviv may be what I’ve been looking for. Italkia Batachana’s delectable white truffle pizza (NIS 75) with three types of mushrooms was just what I had been waiting for.
After a bit of a breather, we were presented with the main course, which consisted of a 250-gram entrecote steak (NIS 125) in mustard seed gravy, served with campfire vegetables. All was delicious. The meat was tender, melting in the mouth and easily sliced, with the side dishes providing excellent accompaniment. On the one hand, I really liked the gravy and wanted to smother the meat with it. On the other, the meat tasted so good that I wanted to savor its individual flavor.
After yet another breather, we were presented with an Italian dessert known as a semifreddo (NIS 42). The name means “half-cold” and is derived from the fact that the dessert is not frozen as hard as gelato. Consisting of layers of toffee sauce, hazelnuts and macaroon crumbs, it was sweet and delicious. However, in the end, the tiramisu (NIS 40) came out tops. This was quite simply divine – a heavenly mix of coffee-flavored cookies and sweet cream with a hint of mascarpone.
Topping off the meal with a shot of espresso, my dining companion and I agreed that the service was fantastic – the staff was incredibly fast, helpful and patient.
I was highly impressed with Italkia Batachana and recommend it to anyone who loves food – Italian or not. It also serves as a destination for a thoroughly enjoyable night out in Tel Aviv. I’m already planning my next trip.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Neveh Zedek, Tel Aviv