Seems like old times

Since 1964, upscale Hashaked has been serving high-quality food in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

July 3, 2013 15:01
3 minute read.
A delicious meal from Hashaked

A delicious meal from Hashaked. (photo credit: Courtesy)

With so many modern and trendy restaurants opening in Tel Aviv, all with their own concept or unique design features, it’s sometimes refreshing to walk into an established restaurant and feel the intimacy and authenticity. That’s how it felt on a recent visit to Hashaked restaurant in Tel Aviv.

The restaurant has been serving quality fish and seafood dishes since 1964. A commendable achievement on the fast-paced and ever-changing Tel Aviv scene.

Esther and Avraham Shulvitz opened Hashaked as a worker’s restaurant and, over the years, their son Hayim Shelo, who is also the chef, extended the operating hours and expanded the menu.

While the relatively expensive restaurant offers top-quality fish and seafood, which are caught fresh daily, it has maintained a simple atmosphere and design, with basic wooden tables and chairs.

From the moment we walked in, my friend and I felt at home. This was mainly due to the warm reception from Hayim himself, as well as the friendly waitress who looked after us throughout the evening.

We started with a bottle of Recanati Chardonnay (NIS 82), which was a very reasonable price for a quality wine.

Before we even finish the first sip, our table was filled with salads and fresh bread from the popular Breads bakery across the road. Having your table filled with small salads is nothing unique in Israel, but when they start piling a second layer of dishes on top because they’ve run out of space, you know you’re in for a treat.

The salads come automatically, are unlimited and are included in the price of a main course. Of the 18 or so salads, the egg salad and chopped liver were among our favorites. My friend and I, both Ashkenazi olim, said they reminded us of our grandmas and the home cooking we enjoyed in our childhoods. It wasn’t just Eastern European flavors on offer. Various eggplant salads and tehina also featured heavily, as well as a fresh chopped salad.

Hayim also treated us to roasted eggplant and some home-smoked fish as part of the starter course. All absolutely delicious.

My friend and I were very proud that we restrained ourselves from eating too much of the tasty bread in order to leave more room for the main course. This turned out to be a smart idea because the feast that followed was quite spectacular.

We had samples of a few of the main dishes on offer. One dish that really stood out was the fresh grouper schnitzel (NIS 34 per 100 grams). Not only was the fish extremely fresh and well cooked, but the flavors of the batter and the garlicky sauce made it a unique dish. We were lucky to have the opportunity to sample it because Hayim made a point of stressing that if they cannot obtain the fish fresh that day, they can’t serve it.

Another stand-out dish was the sea bass (NIS 98), which was beautifully cooked and had just the right amount of seasoning. The filet of stone bass (NIS 110) was also a winner in our books, again because of the quality of the fish and the simple non-fussy approach.

It’s important to point out that while the main focus is fish, and that’s all we sampled from the menu, there are also a number of meat dishes available.

If it was up to Hayim, he would have wanted us to sample every dish on the menu, but as we are only human, we had to admit defeat after a certain point.

Even though we were both extremely full, we couldn’t resist a taste of the halva mousse (NIS 34) on the dessert menu. It was worth every calorie, of which I am sure there were many because of all the white and dark chocolate, as well as the fresh halva shavings.

Hashaked may still have the appearance of its workers’ restaurant roots, but the quality of the food and level of service are more reminiscent of a top chef’s restaurant. By not wasting time on any special concept or trying too hard to be trendy, the restaurant is able to focus on what really matters – the food and making people feel welcome. Hashaked is for those who are willing to pay a little bit extra to receive top-quality fish and seafood in a warm and intimate environment. I can’t wait to go back to try some of the fish they didn’t have on the menu the day we visited.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Not kosher
90 Hashmonaim St., Tel Aviv
(03) 561-0546
From noon until the last customer leaves

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