(photo credit: PR)
Located at the corner of Nordau and Ben-Yehuda streets in Tel Aviv, Campanello gives you the feeling of being in Italy. It is clean, warm and laid back. Comfortable seating is available inside, with a full view of the open kitchen of the restaurant, including the taboun oven. The tables with red checkered tablecloths on the narrow patio outside are great perches for people-watching.
The menu offers a large selection of starters, pasta dishes (including ravioli, gnocchi and cannelloni), pizza and fish dishes. Chefs Mena Strum and Arik Lupo are the masterminds behind this impressive cuisine. The wine list has a good selection of Italian wines, wellknown Israeli wines and a choice of boutique wines.
We had a chance to sample a wide array of dishes from the enticing menu. Upon sitting down, we were served the house focaccia.
This crisp rendition of a divine dough was accompanied by a mixed antipasti (NIS 44), which was not only attractive but was also made from the freshest vegetables and very tasty.
This was followed by the chicken, stir-fried mushroom and lemon salad (NIS 52). Super light, fresh and large, this salad was not only a healthy choice but also an excellent one. For reasons I cannot explain, the combination of ingredients in this salad simply worked well. The chicken was tender and flavorful, and the dressing was light and yet hearty at the same time.
Up until now, my pizza quest in Israel has not succeeded very well. I remain unsatisfied by the fare offered by dairy restaurants and pizza chains. I desire the dedication and attention of a true Italian food lover, and I feel that finally one restaurant in Tel Aviv may be what I’ve been looking for. The carpaccio pizza (NIS 65) was what I had been waiting for – and it didn’t disappoint. What I noticed about this pizza in particular was the crust. Most places these days focus only on the outside crust, which is good, but they forget the center of the pizza, where the crust is thin and can be undercooked. Not the case here. The crust was crisp and cooked perfectly throughout, and the fresh ingredients were applied afterward. The tomatoes were very fresh and seasoned to perfection.
With thin slices of rare beef, arugula and tons of beautiful cheese, both mozzarella and freshly shaved Parmesan, it was wonderful.
For the main course, we were treated to the chicken Parmesan (NIS 66). The sauce was sweet with a little kick, the cheese was a perfectly melted goodness, and the chicken was so tender, bravo! I just couldn’t eat it all myself.
Last was the cream fettucine and salmon (NIS 78). The fettucine was cooked the way I wanted it to be.
The pasta was al dente, the sauce was light and creamy, and the salmon was perfectly cooked: soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and nicely salted.
The desserts, if you have any room left, were delightful. We shared the hot fudge cake and the sweet berries pie (both NIS 36).
However, in the end, the tiramisu (NIS 38) came out tops. This was quite simply divine – a heavenly mix of coffee-flavored cookies and sweet cream with a hint of mascarpone.
Campanello is a charming little restaurant, perfect for a business lunch or a romantic dinner. All the dishes were prepared with much attention to detail and with a goal to surprise and please.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
230 Ben-Yehuda,Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 544-5558