The story of Bindella began more than 100 years ago in Switzerland. Jean Bindella (1878-1918) was the first to import Chianti wines to Switzerland and was the first in this family of European restaurateurs. The Bindella chain now operates 40 restaurants in Switzerland and produces wine, grappa and olive oil in Italy.
Jean Bindella’s great-grandson, Chris Bindella, came to Israel three years ago as an exchange student and fell in love. His love story and chance meeting with chef Roi Soffer resulted in the birth of a wonderful new restaurant in Tel Aviv.
Bindella Osteria & Bar is the first restaurant in the history of Bindella to open its doors beyond the borders of Switzerland.
Bindella stands for Italianità, a dedication to food, wine and sharing a lively ambience. Oste in Italian means “host,” and osteria means “the house of the host.”
Walking into the restaurant, the decor immediately induces a feeling of calm. The light-colored modern Italian style and the clever pattern of the screens play with the changing light. The chairs are comfortable, and the smooth, efficient service is more Italian than Israeli. But the food is a delightful fusion of modern Italian and Mediterranean.
The original menu of the Bindella restaurants was adapted by Soffer, who added his own signature to many classics and he also transformed local favorites into more refined dishes.
We had a very knowledgeable waiter who, after a brief conversation, made wonderful suggestions, allowing us to taste the dishes that set this place apart.
We started with focaccia with honey and garlic (NIS 16) and two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc from the Bindella winery in Tuscany (NIS 34). The wine was crisp and fresh and was perfect on the warm summer evening.
As starters we had one dish from the crudo menu – a cold dish of Yellowtail sweet & spicy & sour, served on a bed of thinly sliced kohlrabi with sweet pepper stew, fresh chili slices, pepper, lemon and olive oil. The dish looked like an aquarelle painting, and the flavors were fresh and had many layers.
We continued with what is called on the menu Sicilian cauliflower salad. The dish was made from raw cauliflower, grated to look like tabouleh, with fresh herbs, pistachio, hazelnuts, hazelnut oil and honey vinaigrette.
This is a dish I would love to have every day (NIS 49).
With another glass of wine, we shared a plate of homemade agnolotti – Italian pasta envelopes with spinach, ricotta, lemon zest, asparagus, brown butter, sage and slivers of Parmesan cheese. This was one of the dishes that have made Italian cuisine a favorite around the world. It was refined, flavorful, straightforward and perfectly executed.
We decided to share the main dish as well and agreed to go with the mushroom-crusted drum fish.
The fish fillet was served with leek, mushroom and asparagus in a white wine, lemon and truffle oil sauce. Yes, it was as good as it sounds (NIS 121).
With so many tastes and flavors in our mouths, we had to wait a while to have dessert. In the end, we ordered the cannoli with fresh figs, mascarpone and pistachio ice cream, almond biscotti, white chocolate and orange zest (NIS 43). It was perfect, and we had to fight over the last bite.
The restaurant’s central location, the professional and attentive service, the serene yet interesting surroundings and, above all, the fantastic food and great wine list made it a meal to remember.
Bindella Osteria & Bar is definitely one of the best new eateries in Tel Aviv and one we will return to soon.
Bindella has business lunches, offering a choice of appetizer, main dish and soft drink for the price of a main dish (NIS 60 to NIS 121). Business lunch is served Sunday to Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Bindella Osteria & Bar Not kosher 27 Montefiore St., Tel Aviv (03) 650-0071.