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.
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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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