A pizza the action

A taste of Italy goes a long way with the new UNO restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Italian restaurant (photo credit: Courtesy)
Italian restaurant
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Let me begin by stating that I know Italian food intimately. I  traveled through Italy for a months a few years ago, looking for the perfect pizza (I found it in several places, the memories of which still make me salivate).
Unfortunately, my pizza quest in Israel hasn’t fared very well. I remain unsatisfied by the fare offered by dairy restaurants and pizza chains. I desire the dedication and attention of a true Italian food lover, and I feel that finally one restaurant in Tel Aviv may be what I’ve been looking for.
UNO, in the heart of the city and under the shadow of the Azrieli Center, is a (kosher) restaurant for the contemporary Tel Aviv dweller. The interior is much like the restaurant itself – classy, warm and Italian-style, yet modern. A bar functions as the centerpiece of a restaurant, and customers can either sit there for a quick drink or at one of the surrounding tables, inside or outside, for a sit-down dinnermeal. Given the choice, I would always go for the latter.
The food here is not to be missed. Each meal begins with a complimentary artichoke soup, which was so tasty I considered ordering it again for my main course. However, for starters, we ordered the Focaccia Uno (NIS 18), served plain alongside dips of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and, strangely (but in a surprisingly good way), pea paste. We also opted for the bruschetta “Butsch” (NIS 32) with salmon, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and olives, and the Krudo Bronzini (NIS 54) – raw slices of bronzini sprinkled with hot olive oil and mushrooms. My dining partner, a Venezuelan who apparently (and unbeknownst to me prior to this moment) knows a lot about good krudo, insisted this was one of the best he’d ever eaten.
The portions were huge. I was full up by this point, yet we still had our main course to go – a pizza Siciliana (NIS 44) with tomato sauce, mozzarella, aubergine (eggplant), capers and chilli – and the Pasta Funghi (NIS 56), wide egg noodles mixed with rocket lettuce, pecorino cheese, porcini and Portobello mushrooms. It had a spicy aftertaste. The pizza was what I had been waiting for – and it didn’t disappoint. It had a perfect base, a good ratio of tomato sauce to cheese and topping, and it was delicious.
But it was the dessert which deserves the main mention. We were advised to try the Milan-style tiramisu (NIS 32) and the chocolate mousse (NIS 36), which was our favorite. Even though I had eaten far too much already, I strove valiantly to finish this rich 70% cocoa concoction, surrounded by coffee ice cream and whipped cream.
The service was fantastic – the staff are incredibly fast, helpful and patient (one in particular translated the whole menu for us, and then helped us choose the best dishes to try).
I was highly impressed with UNO and recommend it to everyone who loves food – Italian or not. It also serves as a destination for a thoroughly good night out in Tel Aviv. I’m already planning my next trip.
UNO is located at Weitzman 2 (Amot Investments), Tel-Aviv. (03) 693-2005/8. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.