Cafe marinara

The new bistro-style branch of the Cafe Landver chain serves standard but savory fare.

Cafe Landver 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cafe Landver 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Cafe Landver chain of coffee shops is a regular feature on the streets of Tel Aviv, like any of the other dozen or so other chains. In an effort to stand out a little from the crowd, the chain recently opened a bistro style restaurant that offers a slightly more sophisticated menu in a unique setting. The cafe, located in the newly renovated Tel Aviv Marina area, has a great sea view and a welcoming outdoor atmosphere next to the boats.
I went with a friend one summer evening, and we spent hours in the beautiful setting enjoying the live Latin-inspired music. We ordered a bottle of the house Chardonnay (NIS 99) from one of the very attentive and friendly waiters. We seemed to have different waiters throughout the evening, which made the whole experience slightly less personal but they all did a good job and never seemed to stop smiling.
With the heat and laid-back seafront vibe, I was in the mood for something a little lighter for starters, so I went for a tomato salad (NIS 26), which was served with lemon, olive oil and garlic bread. The mix of fresh regular vine and cherry tomatoes along with raw red onions dressed with the olive oil and lemon was a great choice that provided fresh tastes without being too heavy. The toasted garlic bread made the dish that little bit more complete.
My friend went for the grilled eggplant and tehina, which was served with fresh bread and tomatoes (NIS 26). The bread was served hot and made a great dipping tool for the eggplant and tehina, which were tasty and suitably seasoned.
With shnitzel being such standard fare at Tel Aviv coffee shops, I couldn’t resist ordering it. The huge portion (NIS 59) was more than enough to satisfy my craving. The shnitzel, which was served with chips, didn’t stand out from the rest on offer everywhere else in the city, but there was nothing bad about it, either. It had the qualities that I think every shnitzel should have: home made, suitable thin and the right mix of crispiness and tenderness.
The other main courses were also quite standard, even if this particular branch is trying to be different with its bistro approach. My friend went for the tomato and mushroom pasta (NIS 54). Again, there were no surprises, but the large and tasty dish hit the spot. The pasta came with roasted peppers, feta cheese and fresh oregano leaves, which all added to the rich taste.
By this point we were quite full and neither of us could handle a separate dessert, so we ordered one to share. This turned out to be a mistake because what we ordered, an offering called Garda (NIS 49), was in fact larger than two desserts put together. It consisted of crushed meringue, vanilla ice cream, banana truffles and forest fruit sorbet topped with whipped cream, seasonal fruits, crushed pecans, white chocolate chunks and forest fruit fruit sauce. It was one of those desserts that arrive at the table and no one touches it for five minutes because everyone is in awe of how ornate it looks and, more importantly, no one knows quite how they are going to finish it. We did indeed finish it, even though we felt a little fragile by the end. But it was well worth the calories.
While most of the dishes at Landver are not very original, they are prepared very well, and there is that great sea view to add to the equation.
The cafe is ideal for an informal afternoon meal after the beach or a leisurely dinner before a night out near the sea. With reasonable prices and friendly service, I think this cafe will be a regular feature on the beachfront for years to come.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Cafe Landver
Not kosher
14 Eliezer Pri, Tel Aviv (Next to the new Gordon Pool)
(03) 523-0010

Open Sunday to Saturday 7 a.m to midnight