The Leonardo Plaza’s Primavera restaurant.
(photo credit: PR)
In this extremely hot weather, a very pleasant way to deal with the heat is to indulge in some al fresco dining. To that end, the new kid on the open- air block is the Primavera restaurant, on the ground floor of the Leonardo Plaza hotel in Jerusalem. Offering an eclectic array of classic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, the kosher dairy restaurant has opened its spacious terrace for a sumptuous summer dining experience, every weeknight (Sunday through Thursday) from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. until the end of September.
The skilled hands behind the concept belong to consummate chefs Shalom Kadosh and Mena Strum, who have joined forces to create a mouth-watering Italo-Mediterranean menu. Kadosh is the head chef of the Fattal chain of hotels, while Strum is a co-partner of the Campanello restaurant in Tel Aviv.
With a scenic view of the surrounding area, the terrace is furnished with a score of tables set with white tablecloths, linen napkins and vases of fresh flowers. To add an extra dimension to the pleasant atmosphere, there is soft live musical entertainment on Thursday nights.
As we sat at our table and surveyed the lovely environs, we were served a very refreshing and flavorful mojito, which did not just wet our whistle but whetted our appetite as well. Which is a good thing because to start the meal, Primavera offers a copious antipasto buffet inside the premises. Comprised of some 20 selections, the long table includes appetizers such as gazpacho, vegetable and fish carpaccio, assorted raw and mixed salads, dressings, cheeses, smoked salmon, eggplant Parmesan, hearts of palm, Portobello mushrooms, grilled vegetables, whole-grain bread and rolls, and the best bread sticks I have ever tasted. During the meal, patrons can go back to the buffet spread as often as they desire. For the main course, the menu has a diverse selection of pasta and fish dishes.
From mild to spicy, creamy or tomato-based, the choices are all alluring for anyone who loves pasta. Of the al dente dishes I sampled, I particularly enjoyed the crepe with mascarpone and mushrooms; the ravioli filled with sweet potato puree; and the pasta with spinach and ricotta in tomato sauce. As for the fish dishes, there are five items to choose from. These include carefully crafted preparations of salmon, red tuna, musar (red drum) and denis (sea bream). I am not a fish fan, but I have to say that I loved the one fish dish that I did taste – the grilled tuna medallion with mashed potatoes and slivered sweet potato. Yum. And speaking of yum, what could be better than dessert at an upscale dairy restaurant? With delectable items to choose from such as panna cotta, baba au rhum, lemon meringue pie, sabayon and a chocolate delight, dessert lovers will be spoiled for choice. So if you’re primed for a premier outdoor dining experience, Primavera is the perfect place to go.For a full-course dinner, prices range from NIS 120 to NIS 220. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Leonardo Plaza hotel 47 King George Street, Jerusalem Tel: (02) 629-8691