A scent of anise and a soupçon of sorbet

The Olive Leaf offers patrons a great opportunity to experience good contemporary cuisine with local influences.

olive leaf311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
olive leaf311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Olive Leaf in the Tel Aviv Sheraton Hotel, overlooking the Mediterranean, is regarded by many as one of the most stylish kosher restaurants in Israel.
Crossing the lobby of the Sheraton, you arrive at this elegant but simple restaurant, where you are greeted by the maître d’, who shows you to your table and hands you an extensive menu. The selection looks innovative yet comprehensive and not at all confusing.
Conversing with chef Charlie Fadida, we are told that the menu constantly changes, according to the seasons and what fresh ingredients he finds at the market. But by the look (and taste) of the fare, we believe it is always more imaginative and much lighter than that at the more traditional restaurants of the neighboring hotels.
We really didn’t expect to be presented with an amuse bouche here, but we were. It was eggplant soup, served in a martini glass with a cube of semi-sweet citrus sorbet in the middle. It was perfect.
With such a glorious start, drinks in our hands and a basket of wonderful fresh bread on the table, we proceeded to study the menu. To begin, we decided to give the restaurant our salad test. We always like to order the green salad, believing that it reveals how discerning the chef is. This one didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was delicious, made with the most tender of lettuce and endive leaves, citrus segments, roasted pecans, asparagus and pecan vinaigrette (NIS 40).
The selection of appetizers is very tempting at the Olive Leaf. We took our waiter’s advice and chose the ceviche. It was a beautifully presented construction of raw fish, mango, tomato, coriander and crisp potato gaufrettes (NIS 50).
Also recommended is the sweetmeat dish smoked on citrus fires with mushrooms (NIS 60), as well as the soup of the day – if you happen to be there on a day when they offer the Mediterranean fish soup scented with anise. (NIS 40).
For the main course, we ordered the beef fillet (NIS 140). We asked for it medium-rare but got it mediumwell because most people in Israel eat their meat well done. But it was quite good anyway, served with asparagus and caramelized onions.
The other main dish we selected was the oven-baked corbina with Moroccan spices and braised artichokes (NIS 70). It was actually much less expensive and a lot tastier than the beef. In fact, it was one of the best fish dishes I have had in a long time.
The desserts, alas, suffered from what all desserts at kosher restaurants suffer from – being parve. But they were all a feast for the eyes. If you do have sweets, try the assorted fruit sorbets, the banana tart or the Moroccan sweet.
They fulfill the kosher restrictions very elegantly.
The Olive Leaf’s great lunch specials allow you to enjoy the daylight view of the restaurant as well. If you can, try to reserve a table by the window.
The Olive Leaf
115 Hayarkon St. Sheraton hotel
Tel Aviv

Tel: (03)5219300
Service is included in the price.