Meeting an old friend from overseas in Tel Aviv, I was looking for a lunch venue with good food, pleasant atmosphere, easily accessible, parking and a place where we could unhurriedly eat, relax and talk. FoodArt was the constantly recommended place of choice from my Tel Aviv acquaintances.
Located in the courtyard of the Tel Aviv Performing Art Center, the entrance to FoodArt is inviting. Its large dining area features a greenery-laden enclosed terrace whose large plate glass windows overlook the courtyard, as well a light and airy main dining space where tables are set far enough apart to ensure privacy.
We were handed a business lunch menu and discovered that FoodArt is primarily a catering business, and the restaurant is only open for lunch, Sunday through Thursday from noon to 3:30 p.m. In the evening, the premises are used for events.
The business menu is small and the NIS 89 price includes a starter and main course. Before ordering, a basket filled with home-made breads, accompanied by olive oil with red pepper and a sundried tomato dip, were placed on the table. Both the dips and bread were excellent. There are only five choices of starters and two of them carry an additional small charge. As for the main courses, there are seven choices and three of them carry an additional charge.
We chose the green leaf salad with beetroot, prosciutto, grilled peach, Buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese, caramelized hazelnuts and citrus vinaigrette and the veal carpaccio with truffle oil, pecorino cheese and hot pepper (an additional NIS 10). The carpaccio was delicious, tender, not too thinly sliced with the truffle oil adding a distinctive taste. The salad was one of the most interesting I have had, with the contrast of the cheese and exceptional grilled peach leaving us in anticipation for the main courses. I realized then what the meaning of FoodArt is: the art of food attention to detail is in everything, from the quality and freshness of the ingredients, to the fusion of tastes, through to the presentation.
The service was unhurried but professional, leaving us plenty of time to talk before the sauteed grey snapper with fall caramelized vegetables and zaatar pesto and the asparagus gnocchi with walnuts, sage butter, Parmesan and white wine sauce we had ordered arrived. The fish was really good but, unfortunately, the second dish was lukewarm and the gnocchi soggy and falling apart. Our waitress immediately took it to the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with a piping hot plate but no improvement in the gnocchi. The perfectly cooked fresh crunchy asparagus and sauce, on the other hand, were extremely good.
Deserts are available on a separate menu. Even though we saw beautiful creations being served to other diners, we decided to forgo the temptation and settled on a good cup of coffee instead.
With FoodArt turning out to be just the place I needed for a business or leisurely lunch, it's a shame it is only open for lunch.
FoodArt: Open Sunday through Thursday, noon to 3:30 p.m., 23 Shaul Hamelech, Tel Aviv. Tel: (03) 696-6255; not kosher.
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