Looking back at many of my trips around the
world, I believe it's the foods I remember most. Though, my trips to
Europe always seemed to be plagued with lack of varietyfor vegetarians.
Italy, however, was a vegetarian's heaven.
to be honest, I've only been to Milan - once. My stopover was for 36
hours on my way back to Israel
. (Somehow, airlines create an
amazing detour in which Europe is enroute to the Middle East from
During this day and a half, I crammed in lasagna, great
espresso, gelato, panini and the greatest pizza I've ever had at a
small trattoria complete with red and white checkered table cloths
spread over simple wooden tables, candles in chianti bottles and some
nice Italian music in the background. I was just waiting for the chance
to roll a vegetarian meatball to a passing tramp.
Sadly, no tramp passed (depending upon your social outlook).
at my recent visit to Neve Tzedek's lovely Bellini, an Italian
restaurant in a romantic Tuscan style, I did have a date - though more
lady than tramp.
The beautiful Bellini is located in the courtyard of the
beautiful Suzanne Dellal Center. The emphasis here is on simplicity:
good ingredients and, to be sure, good pasta. The delicious house wine,
a Primitivo Zinfandel Roca Alta 2007, is served in an unmarked bottle
as if it's straight from the theoretical house vineyard, just out back.
We started with one of my favorites, insalata
caprese - a salad that needs nothing more than great basic ingredients:
balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. Each bite was a
perfect delight. For a main course we had the gnocchi quattro formaggi
- a familiar sauce of four cheeses, cream and tomatoes. Once again,
prepared to perfection.
My carnivorous date had the veal sirloin, finishing it in
seconds. We also tried the farfalle Milanese. A sweet and unique dish
of butterfly-pasta in a sauce of aubergines and honey, mushroom, feta
cheese, pine nuts and red shatta pepper.
For dessert we had a nice tiramisu. Though not one of my
favorites, the lady liked it. Being the Frank Sinatra that I am, I
We finished the meal with the house Limoncello. Simply put, it
was one of the best I've ever had. While this liqueur usually tastes
like a melted lemon Popsicle, this one wasn't too sweet, with a real
lemony flavor and very refreshing.
All through June and July, Bellini celebrates the Italian Sagra
dei Limoni - The Lemon Festival. Special lemon dishes are available,
such as veal escalope in a sauce of white wine, cream, lemon, capers
and artichoke hearts and chicken scaloppini served in a cream and lemon
sauce on a bed of linguine - and more. The house Limoncello will be
available at special prices.
I'll definitely be visiting again for some of the veggie,
lemony treats. Though I can't say the same for my lady friend. While
she was into the cuisine, she was less fond of me.
Bellini - 6 Yehieli St.Tel Aviv; (03) 517-8486 - is open
Sun.-Sat. from noon to midnight; not kosher. The writer was a guest of
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