A hidden (kosher) gem in Herzliya Pituah
Vino Socca is pricy but well worth the pleasure with its good food and intimate, serene atmosphere.
Food Photo: Courtesy
Located in the industrial area of Herzliya Pituah, Vino Socca is a real hidden gem. The industrial surroundings only make the entrance into the restaurant all the more magical, like entering Aladdin’s cave. It is evident that a lot of thought went into the design. From the lounge chair in the ladies’ room to the ornate sugar bowls, nothing has been overlooked.
Although the restaurant can accommodate 100 people, it has a very intimate, serene atmosphere.
This can be attributed to the soft background music and the calm nature of chef Ishay Attias.
Throughout the evening that my dining companion and I were there, he was friendly and attentive but understated. It is clear that he knows his food speaks for itself. Trained in Europe, he worked in France and at Carmela Banahala in Tel Aviv before moving over to top Israeli caterer Meggi & Tuly.
At Vino Socca, it is difficult not to be tempted by the appealing selection of appetizers, but three stood out from the rest. The potato gnocchi served with asparagus, spinach, smoked duck and garlic confit in a porcini mushroom sauce (NIS 60) simply melts in the mouth, and the thick, creamy sauce made from coconut milk combines perfectly with the other silky flavors and textures.
Next, the bruschetta brioche nicoise with aioli, snow peas, new potatoes, capers, pickled lemon and quail’s eggs (NIS 58) is a definite hit with a powerful crunch. And then there’s the goose liver pâté topped with caramelized figs, roasted pistachios and served with crostini (NIS 72).
The crème brulée topping, together with the fig and sweet crostini, is a perfect balance to the rich flavor of the liver.
On to the main event. We began with seared sea bream (denis) served with eggplant, zucchini ratatouille, tomato concassé, lemon juice, spinach leaves and truffles (NIS 145). The dish is vivid in color, and the fish and vegetables are perfectly cooked with a simple combination of flavors. It is impressive to find a kosher restaurant that excels in both their fish and meat dishes.
What followed was one of the tastiest, most succulent kosher steaks we have ever tasted. The specially aged beef fillet is topped with hot goose liver, in a wine and fig sauce on potato cream (NIS 178). The steak was cooked to perfection, dark and crispy on the outside and pink and tender in the middle. It is often said that kosher steaks are not as good due to the koshering process, but we challenge anyone to try this steak and keep to that statement.
We then had baby lamb chops in a mixed herb crust, served on a root vegetable puree (NIS 175).
This dish brings out the juicy flavor of the lamb, and the puree provides a nutty balance to the herb crust.
If you like French pastries, you must leave room for dessert, as pastry chef Adir Baum will not disappoint. The petit four platter (NIS 55) is a selection of pralines, tarts and macaroons. The banana tatin (NIS 48) is more of a pie than a traditional tarte tatin, but it is made to order and served with a toffee sauce, pistachio and almond cream, and excellent parve vanilla ice cream. We rounded out our selection with the Toblerone (NIS 55) – a creamy Belgian chocolate praline mousse.
Throughout the meal, the waiters were friendly and attentive but not overbearing. The manager and sommelier, Alon, has an infectious passion for Israeli wine and is keen to share his knowledge. We started with a classic Meron from the Galil Mountain Winery, which was poured through an aerator into a crystal decanter. We then had a Shiraz from the Or Haganuz Winery, a young wine with a rich purple color and light fruity taste.
The entire experience at Vino Socca was a pleasure. Although the prices may be high, the food is well worth it, and we anticipate our next visit there.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
7 Galgalei Haplada, Herzliya Pituah
Saturday – Thursday, 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. or last customer.
Reservations are required.