A warm welcome

There is never a dull moment – or a dull dish – at Dallal in Tel Aviv.

Red tuna sashimi 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Red tuna sashimi 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Dallal restaurant is located within walking distance of the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv’s Neveh Tzedek. The combination of Neveh Tzedek and the location of the restaurant creates a magical atmosphere that takes the guest back in time to when Neveh Tzedek was one of the first neighborhoods in Tel Aviv.
The restaurant is an intimate place, and its unadorned charm makes you feel right at home.The super-friendly wait staff helps make everyone feel comfortable. We watched as smiling servers catered to Hebrew, English and Spanish speakers alike.
Dallal’s menu is a culinary melting pot, and the food on offer is simple, yet luxurious and indulgent. Chef Golan Gurfinkel is the mastermind of the seasonal winter menu. His knowledge of food versatility was apparent in the taster’s platters we were served.
We started with roasted artichokes (NIS 62) topped with tomato seed vinaigrette. Together with homemade bread and two dips – one of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and the other a delicate creamed eggplant dish – it was a magnificent way to begin our meal. This was followed by an anchovy bruschetta (NIS 28) consisting of tomatoes, roasted peppers, charred eggplant and tapenade. Simply perfect.
Without question our favorite starter was the red tuna sashimi (NIS 64) layered over whipped avocado and wasabi. This dish appealed to our senses of color and presentation. Each ingredient spoke for itself, enhanced by a light sprinkling of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
For mains, we were presented with the fillet of sea bass (NIS 118). The combination of fish, creamed cauliflower, melted mangold and Parmesan butter formed a perfectly balanced, delicious combo. The seared fish was expertly cooked to a very pleasing texture – flaky, firm yet yielding.
From here we were expecting dessert, but to my surprise we were served beef cheek stew (NIS 110) accompanied by creamed roasted Jerusalem artichoke. Being South African, I was now a very happy diner.
The meat was moist, well seasoned and had a nice, juicy chew.
But it was the dessert that deserves the main mention. We were advised to try the cassolette of winter fruit (NIS 52) and the brandied chestnut parfait (NIS 48). Even though I had eaten far too much already, I strove valiantly to finish this rich bitter chocolate cake creation, surrounded by caramel sauce and vanilla-brandy foam.
With the type and quality of food served at Dallal, the place could easily be one of those pretentious restaurants where nobody speaks above a whisper. But Dallal makes you feel comfortable, while still serving an upscale crowd. Topping off the meal with a shot of espresso, my dining companion and I agreed that we would be back because one visit was just not enough.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Dallal Not kosher 10 Shabazi, Tel Aviv (03) 510-9292