Passion for pasta

A recent addition to Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque, Nova Joya is a ‘marriage Italian style’ of good food and warm ambience.

Bowl of Pasta 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Bowl of Pasta 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Situated in the heart of the city, Nova Joya is an Italian restaurant for the contemporary Tel Aviv dweller. A recent addition to the trendy Cinematheque, the interior is much like the restaurant itself – classy, warm and Italian style, yet modern. A bar functions as the centerpiece of a restaurant, and customers can either sit there for a quick drink or at one of the surrounding tables, inside or outside, for a sit-down dinner meal. Given the choice, I would always go for the latter.
The food here is not to be missed.
Our meal opened with some fantastic starters. The crispy focaccia was well seasoned with sea salt, fresh oregano, olive oil and garlic – perfect for dipping into the accompanying olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We also opted for the arrancini – Sicilian risotto balls filled with pecorino, chili, fresh mint and Parmesan; and the bruschetta al tartufo – slices of bread toasted in a wood-fired oven, black truffle puree, creme di parmigiano, rocket, hardboiled egg and olive oil. Both were equally delicious.
The portions were huge. I was full by this point, but we still had our main courses to go. First up was pizza tartufo with mascarpone, black truffle puree, mozzarella, mushrooms, parsley and Parmesan.
The pizza was what I had been waiting for – and it didn’t disappoint. It had a perfect base, a good ratio of tomato sauce to cheese and topping, and it was delicious. This was followed by filet of salt-water fish cooked en papillote in a wood-fired oven, portobello mushrooms, parsley, champignons and truffle oil. The combination of fish and mushrooms formed a perfectly balanced combo. The seared fish was expertly cooked to a very pleasing texture – flaky, firm yet yielding. And just when we though it couldn’t get any better, we were presented with chestnut tortellini served on creamed Jerusalem artichoke and Parmesan. It was deliciously sweet and creamy, exactly as our knowledgeable and friendly waiter had described. This was my favorite dish by far.
We ordered hot drinks and took another breather.
When dessert was brought out, I wanted to politely decline. It looked fabulous, but I didn’t want anything to interfere with the myriad of flavors I had just experienced.
I was highly impressed with Nova Joya. The service was fantastic – the staff are incredibly fast, helpful and patient (one in particular translated the whole menu for us and then helped us choose the best dishes to try). I recommend it to everyone who loves food – Italian or not. It also serves as a destination for a thoroughly enjoyable night out in Tel Aviv. I’m already planning my next trip.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Nova Joya
Not kosher
2 Sprinzak Street, Tel Aviv
(03) 642-2799