Raise a glass, or two, or three at the Tasting Room in Tel Aviv

The vibe of the place is great. There was a large group of coworkers celebrating the end of the work week, a young couple on a date, and two young women just hanging out.

By LINDA GRADSTEIN
August 8, 2019 13:03
3 minute read.
Raise a glass, or two, or three at the Tasting Room in Tel Aviv

the Tasting Room. (photo credit: DATILICIOUS)

To get to the Tasting Room in Tel Aviv’s Sarona complex, you go inside Mega Sport near Kaplan Street, and down a nondescript flight of steps. You then enter into a small, but beautifully decorated restaurant, with a line of wine-dispensing machines covering one of the walls.

Tasting Room was not kosher in its previous incarnation, but has recently reopened under Tzohar supervision. It’s is part of the Whisky Bar group, which also runs the Whisky Bar on the other side of Sarona. It’s a great kosher option for those visiting Sarona.

I’m a proud wine geek who can spend hours perusing labels in a wine store. The machines, called the Wine Station by Napa, use argon gas to keep wine fresh for up to two weeks. But the bottles are finished much faster than that, says sommelier Or Lando, and yes, that really is his name.

Each diner is given a plastic card for the wine machines. You put your plastic card in the machine and can choose the size of your pour – a 1 oz. taste, a 2.5 oz. half-glass, or a 5 oz. full glass. There are 30 wines to choose from, with about 80% of the wines from Israel.

As both my daughter and I like to taste different wines, we chose the smallest 1 oz. taste each time. Prices for the 1 oz. range from NIS 7-22. The half-glass goes from NIS 18-53, and the full glass from NIS 34-105.

Each time you put in your card you receive the current total, which helps keep track of your spending.

There are some great deals on wine, such as the Yarden Katzrin Chardonnay, which has long been one of my favorites, for NIS 9 a taste, NIS 23 a half-glass, and NIS 45 for a full glass.

I also enjoyed the Shoresh from the Judean Hills, a blend of syrah, Cabernet sauvignon and petit Verdot that cost NIS 12 a taste, NIS 30 a half-glass, and NIS 59 for a glass.

With all that drinking, you’ll also want some food. I expected the focus of our evening to be wine, but the food really impressed me. We put ourselves in the capable hands of manager Ben Maharovsky, and asked him to order for us. The menu is not extensive, but everyone can find something here.

The first dish to arrive was a plate of roasted cabbage (NIS 44) covered with smoked mozzarella cheese. It was a unique take on this prosaic vegetable. Next was salmon sashimi (NIS 48) with a yuzu vinaigrette. The fish melted in my mouth.

The winner of the night for me was the burrata (NIS 54), a large ball of fresh mozzarella served with a homemade tomato jam and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. My only criticism is that it was not served with any bread or crackers, however, it was so good I didn’t mind eating it plain.

The vibe of the place is great. There was a large group of coworkers celebrating the end of the work week, a young couple on a date, and two young women just hanging out. There is also a VIP table that can be closed off from the main restaurant. When a couple showed up without reservations, the staff seated them at this large table with a smile.

Patrons interact with each other as well. Standing in front of the wine machines, it seems natural to ask the person standing next to you which wine they chose and if they enjoyed it.

We chose to drink our dessert and Lando surprised us with small glasses of Yarden Botrytis Noble Semillon, which have more depth of flavor than most sweet wines. We sipped slowly, and then went off to the bus station for the trek back to Jerusalem.

The Tasting Room
Eliezer Kaplan St. 36, Tel Aviv
Phone: 03- 533-3213 (Reservations recommended)
Sun-Thur: 5 p.m.-midnight
Saturday night: from one hour after Shabbat
Kashrut: Tzohar
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.


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