Bistro fare at a fair price

While the service has room for improvement, Hugo offers good food and an incomparable view of Tel Aviv.

Hugo Bistro 390 (photo credit: Courtesy Hugo)
Hugo Bistro 390
(photo credit: Courtesy Hugo)
With miles of beachfront, the Old City of Jaffa, new high rises and plenty of refurbished buildings, there are a number of places in Tel Aviv with great views of one or the other.
There are few restaurants or bars, however, that can claim to encompass all of the above in a single view. Hugo is one of them.
While the food is satisfactory and the atmosphere is chilled, it is the view at Hugo in the Hatahana complex that really steals the show. Walking up the stairs of the Villa Viland building on a warm November evening, the hustle and bustle of the center of the city seemed very far away. The restaurant is named after Hugo Wieland, the man who built the villa in 1902 in the Templer style, using materials produced by the family factory, where goods awaiting transfer to the train station were stored.
Wieland brought with him ideas and concepts from Europe at the turn of the century, and this European influence is seen on the menu, which aims to offer bistro food and affordable prices.
Once my brother and I were shown to our seats on the large open terrace with that great view in front of us, the smiling waiter gave us our menus, and the fun began. This menu was no more or less inspiring than any other bistro restaurant in Tel Aviv, but there was one dish that really caught my eye, and I had my heart set on it: home smoked veal spare ribs with spaetzle and green peas. To my disappointment, they were out of it that night. Despite this minor setback, we soldiered on and ordered.
For starers, I went for the potato blini with crème Roquefort and smoked salmon (NIS 27), while my brother had the corned beef with mustard aioli, pickles and bread (NIS 42). Were it not for the long wait before the food reached the table, we would have enjoyed the food even more. Both dishes were tasty enough and proved to be good value, but neither offered any wow factor.
The main courses, which were considerably more expensive, were of a similar standard. My salmon fillet, potato and sardine pie with Meuniere sauce (NIS 86) was light and refreshing, while my brother's beef fillet medallions, shrimps in port sauce (NIS 115), was slightly overcomplicated but rich in flavor nonetheless.
After the main courses had been cleared from the table, our waiter was still smiling but seemed to have forgotten to offer us any desserts. When we were finally offered the dessert menu, there wasn’t anything that really stood out, but we decided to share a dark chocolate pie and orange confiture (NIS 34) and a soufflé pancake served with pear in vanilla syrup and chocolate ganache (NIS 34). As with the previous two courses, the desserts were more than satisfactory, and both our plates were empty by the end.
To sum up, Hugo offers decent food at the more expensive end of the good value range. It’s worth a visit if you are not in a rush and want to take in a bit of the great atmosphere that Hatahana offers.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher
Building 8, Hatahana Complex, Tel Aviv
Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Tel: (03) 516-0008