(photo credit: Courtesy)
A culinary jewel, offering delightful Italian cuisine in a charming setting, Bellini has become the favorite among Italian food aficionados. Nestled in the Suzanne Dellal plaza for more than 20 years, Bellini is the place to go before or after a performance. In winter, sit in the Tuscan farmhouse setting, and in the summer enjoy the people watching on the plaza from the outdoor tables. Rough stucco walls, tiled floors and a high-beamed ceiling accommodate tables covered in red or green-checkered cloths.
Bellini features a selection of classical Italian starters and main dishes such as pasta, fish, meat and seafood. Its wine list has a good selection of Italian wines, well-known Israeli wines and a choice of boutique wines.
Upon sitting down, we were met with the house cocktail (also complimentary for every diner), a frozen variation on the beverage for which the place is named. It was impressively tasty.
We started our meal with the entrecote risotto (NIS 49). The creamy and al-dente texture of this dish simply blew me away. The slices of entrecote were tender and juicy and the flavors were rich and fragrant without being overly oily or heavy.
This was followed by Roman artichokes with roasted wild mushrooms on a bed of grilled halloumi cheese (NIS 48). A nice, light starter that I would highly recommend.
Next up was the Sicilian Vitello (NIS 52). I’ve only had this dish one previous time and had found it disappointing. Bellini’s rendition, however, made me want to steal the plate. The sirloin was delicately sliced, the accompanying tomato sauce was delightfully creamy, while the crunch of chickpeas added just enough chew.
After a bit of a breather and enjoying two glasses of a lovely red from the Petit Castel Winery, it was on to mains.
We tried a half portion of the black truffle gnocchi and the chestnuts gnocchi (both are NIS 69 for full portion). The gnocchi at Bellini are pillow pockets of heaven. I have never had such light and fluffy gnocchi in my life. The sauce was so creamy and flavorful and had the perfect amount of truffle without being too overpowering. Each dish was pure melt-in-your-mouth-comfort food heaven! This was followed by the pepperoni pizza (NIS 52). The crust was perfect, crispy on the outside and pleasantly soft on the inside.
The pizza also wasn’t dripping in cheese, so the ingredients really stood out.
Last but not least, we were served the saltimbocca (NIS 114) which are veal escallops rolls with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese in grappa, balsamic vinegar and honey sauce.
Saltimbocca literally translates to “jump in the mouth” and that’s what this entree did! We were full, but our lovely waitress said we had to taste the desserts, so we asked for a break.
Meanwhile, we were served shots of the Italian aperitif Sambuca, which was brought to the table burning with blue flame, with coffee beans.
The liqueur helped, and we were ready for the desserts. We shared the chocolate mousse crunch as well as the lemon cheese cake in a jar. Both were sinfully good.
Bellini has carefully kept an old world atmosphere while serving topof- the-line meals. So when you’re looking to combine a gourmet meal with elegant atmosphere and nearly faultless service, you’ll find that Bellini has it covered.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant
6 Yehielli St., Tel Aviv