On the Edge

For great cocktails and an excellent view, Gzuztra is the place. For food, a little less so.

Gzuztra 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gzuztra 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
You go to some restaurants for the food; others, for the location.
Gzuztra falls into the second category.
Located right on the oceanfront in Herzliya, you could hardly ask for a better view. The beach and the waves beckon, and the sea air envelops you as you sit in the open restaurant (it does have a roof, but that doesn’t stop the late-afternoon sun from creeping in).
A central rounded bar is surrounded by stools, and they are surrounded by both regular wooden tables and low versions with cushiony seats. Wicker and white leather befit the beach feel.
A fantastic cocktail menu completes the seaside scene.
On a recent afternoon, a friend and I sat down at Gzuztra (which means “balcony”) for a meal. We started with cocktails: a “solara” and a “jellyfish,” both of which were colorful, creative and extremely tasty. All the cocktails have ocean-inspired names.
We were briefed on the menu, which is composed of dishes that compare in size to large appetizers, the idea being that each diner orders a few dishes to share (or to eat alone). At 2 p.m., a sushi menu becomes available. We never got a chance to try the sushi, but considering the rest of the meal, that may be the way to go.
We sampled a total of seven different dishes, which ranged in price from NIS 36 to NIS 42. Each was presented attractively and on interesting plates. Unfortunately, the service was slow. We waited a while for our food, and throughout the meal we began to wonder if we were being ignored intentionally, as numerous waiters passed by without offering to clear the empty plates or inquire whether we wanted anything else.
We tested the lamb kebab and Cajun potato wedges (flavorful meat, possibly too rare; great spuds); the goose liver (faint liver flavor, slightly sweet – skip the accompanying dry and crumbly brioche); the grouper cigars with chreime for dipping (couldn’t taste the fish, and the sauce wasn’t particularly spicy); the salmon skewer (fish was cooked perfectly, accompanying veggies were also cooked just right, sauce was salty); the chicken gyoza (excellent choice, with a spicy soy sauce on the side); the Asian chicken salad (decent option); and the pistachio-encrusted sirloin (terrible gray-colored meat topped with soggy pistachio crumbs and what resembled soup powder mix).
The options and the presentation seemed very familiar to me. Upon later inquiries, I discovered that the chef at Gzuztra is the same Eitan Mizrahi of E-Zugi, which is located in Tel Aviv’s Leonardo Hotel.
Strangely, the food at the hotel is a notch or two better.
For dessert, we tried an apple crumble (NIS 36) and banana spring rolls (NIS 36). The crumble claimed to have marzipan in it, but as my dining partner and I both dislike marzipan, we were glad to find no trace of it in the doughy concoction.
It came with green apple sorbet, which was refreshing and reminiscent of apple-flavored candy. The spring rolls tasted faintly of their supposed caramelized banana filling, and the nougat sauce was nice, as was the coconut sorbet that seemed almost marshmallowy. We finished off with strawberry-passion fruit margarita-daiquiri combos which, like our first cocktails, were out of this world.
The tagline at Gzuztra is “fun food.”
But wouldn’t fun beach food be more akin to nachos? For those seeking a relaxed, kosher, beachfront place to kick back with cocktails and some sushi, Gzuztra will do just fine. It’s not that the food is bad – it’s just out of sync with its location and price range.
For perfect culinary execution, head elsewhere.
Gzuztra, Ramat Yam 100, Herzliya, (09) 954-8808. Kosher.