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Mika. 27 Montefiore Tel Aviv. Open daily 12 noon until the last guest leaves. Tel: (03) 528-3263 (not kosher).
Asian food is becoming increasingly available in Israel, but good Asian food is still hard to find.
Since its establishment in 1997, the Mika restaurant in the center of Tel Aviv has gained fame for its unique cuisine combining Asian and American dishes.
The spacious and elegant dining hall sports a large bar offering an extensive cocktail and wine list. Massive wooden beams stretch across the ceiling and the walls are painted a bright blue, making for a warm, comfortable and cozy - even romantic - ambience.
On a recent visit there, the service was welcoming and knowledgeable, while a promising menu boasted a nice range of foods and some enticing dishes.
With aperitifs of a cosmopolitan martini and a Southern Comfort martini, we tried edamame - an interesting, sweet Japanese snack made of large soybeans that are harvested when the beans are still green and later boiled in salted water.
For starters we had a superb sushi platter with an inside-out maki of fresh salmon and avocado, seasoned with sweet rice-wine vinegar. The vegetable and lemon grass spring roll was a bit disappointing by comparison, loaded with oil that overpowered the delicate taste of the lemon grass.
Next we had seared red tuna on a bed of Filipino suman noodles and shitake mushrooms. The fish was somewhat dry, but accompanied by noodles in soy and sesame oil sauce, it managed to maintain interest for the palate.
The beef filet main course, served with eggplant puree and a red wine sauce, arrived medium-rare as requested, and the combination of flavors was sensational. The other main dish of moussar filet with pesto and lemon risotto looked promising on the plate, but turned out disappointing. The fish was undercooked and the risotto was sticky and flavorless.
Desserts were good but not exciting: banana chocolate pie and vanilla ice cream, or a fried banana roll with coconut ice cream and toasted almonds.
Mika offers a business lunch including an appetizer and main course for NIS 78 between noon and midnight. Diners receive a 25% discount on the menu from Sunday to Friday between noon and 6 p.m., including a soft or hot drink, a dessert for NIS 15 and a 30% discount on wines by the glass.