As fresh as it gets

Even if you don’t eat seafood, you can enjoy an array of fish, pasta, steak or vegetarian dishes at Rokach 73.

Rokach 73 (photo credit: Nimrod Genisher)
Rokach 73
(photo credit: Nimrod Genisher)
Upon entering Tel Aviv’s Rokach 73, you will notice the calming earthy decor. And when you sit down, you will enjoy some of the freshest dishes you will have tasted in a long while. Chef Eyal Lavi’s carefully thought-out menu of delicious, colorful food with powerful flavors is very impressive.
This was not our first time there. We usually like to go there in the winter when the quasi-European weather makes us long for the chef’s celebrated bouillabaisse (French fish soup). But this time we were there to sample the summer-fall Provencal menu, which is lighter and is created from fresh summer produce.
The extensive menu features fish, seafood, meat and pasta dishes. For wine lovers, there is an elaborate list of more than 60 different types of bottles from boutique wineries, and many are produced in Israel.
Most of the food was exceptional, from appetizers through dessert.
Stand-out entree dishes included a pissaladiere, which is a flat pizza-like base topped with Gouda cheese, herbs and other toppings We had it with caramelized onions and shrimps (NIS 42). The ceviche is one of the prettiest in town, made from fish, avocado and tomato, with refreshing yogurt surrounding the plate (NIS 58).
We also had the seared scallops with creamed peas and truffle oil, which was a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate (NIS 60).
The entrees were perfectly complemented with the bread basket that came with soft butter and a spicy tomato spread.
My dining partner loves steak tartare. Here, the menu said that it was created not from the fillet but a veal cut called shaitel. So he ordered it. It was certainly different. The meat didn’t have the texture he was expecting but a more creamy and fatty texture. There was no egg, but the tartare was topped with aromatic herbs, capers, a drizzle of smoked paprika oil and tiny pieces of toast.
(NIS 58).
Our waitress recommended that we order the seafood panache, so we did.
It was excellent. The stew is cooked in fish broth with tomato, spinach, cream and saffron (NIS 98).
The main dishes were ridiculously tasty, including the drum fish fillet on a bed of roasted eggplant, almost melted feta cheese and tomato comfit enveloping it. Visually, this was a stand-out dish, and the taste blew me away.
With no room to breathe, I was reminded that we all have a separate stomach for dessert, so I ordered the tarte tatin, as it really is one of my favorites summer or winter. It was a magic combination of apples, ice cream and other heavenly ingredients, making it simply one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.
But the real winner was a chocolate mousse served on coffee cookies and toffee cream with a surprising chili and peanut vinaigrette. Superb! Diners will be delighted to be pampered at the Rokach 73 restaurant. Even if you don’t eat seafood, you can still enjoy an array of fish, pastas, wonderful steaks and vegetarian dishes.
The chef recently opened another place in the new market-food halls in the Jaffa port called Rokach Yam. It is a tapas bar of sorts, which serves smaller dishes mostly of fish and seafood, for lower prices than Rokach 73. A great place on its own, we promise to write it up soon.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Rokach 73 (Not kosher)73 Rokach St., Tel Aviv Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to midnight (03) 744-8844