Dining Review: Revival at Rivlin

The J'lem restuarant's owners have created an inviting atmosphere and menu that draws you into its fresh, crisp setting.

restaurant Rivlin 298 (photo credit: Courtesy)
restaurant Rivlin 298
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A welcome revival of the local restaurant concept is taking place in Jerusalem. More and more establishments are now offering good value for money, presenting modern food in a homey or stylish environment. It means that both locals and visitors to the city can enjoy the luxury of popping down the road to eat out. One such restaurant is Rivlin, where the owners have created an inviting atmosphere and menu. With huge photos of French vineyards adorning the light-hued walls, and a dark mahogany parquet floor, Rivlin draws you into its fresh, crisp setting. The dazzling white tablecloths and napkins proclaim that Rivlin is serious about what it does. And what it does is serve bistro-like French cuisine with a well-considered selection of traditional recipes. The eatery is divided into two intimate dining rooms, as well as an enclosed terrace where patrons can take in a true Jerusalem street scene. On the day we went, we tried the business lunch. Offered from noon to 6 p.m. for NIS 59/69, it comprises an appetizer and a main course. As we perused the menu, a crisp, piping hot foccacia was served, accompanied by grilled eggplant and lemon salad, and a small dish of roasted peppers that proved most suitable with the foccacia. The youngest at our table was the most picky and insisted on having her fettucini with only butter sauce. When the friendly waitress fulfilled her wish, she was delighted - enabling us to enjoy our dining experience fully. My first course of lentil soup was quite disappointing and required a strong injection of - something. I tried to squeeze some lemon and sprinkle some salt into the bowl, but the soup still tasted rather bland. My partners at the table, though, were more fortunate with their selections. One of them had the tasty ravioli filled with goat cheese, drizzled with a robust homemade tomato sauce. The other had a delicious salad of hot, fresh champignon with cream sauce. We also shared a green salad, which was very refreshing. For the main dish, I had a perfectly cooked entrecote steak in deep red Cabernet Sauvignon sauce with shallots. The cut was tender, meaty and flavorful, just the way I like it. One companion described his dish of chicken breast in tomato sauce as excellent, and the side of potatoes puree just perfect. Although the food was indeed flavorful, I felt that the dishes lacked the chef's personal flair. Rivlin, with its sophisticated atmosphere, is a good place to go if you are looking for a rather modern dining experience. Rivlin. Yosef Rivlin 7, Jerusalem. Tel: (02) 624-7979 (not kosher)