Viva Italia!

For lovers of good and honest Italian food, Cafe Italia serves delicious, authentic dishes one loves to come back to.

Cafe Italia  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cafe Italia
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Along (very long), marble-topped bar, different seating areas, high ceilings, many mirrors, modernretro interiors and an overall look of a Continental brasserie, Cafe Italia makes you smile even before you dig into the fantastic food.
The spacious dining area is divided by large glass doors allowing for more private sections, with small and large tables to suit different size parties, but the overall atmosphere is that of a happy dining hall, complete with busy waiters rushing about and the sounds of animated conversations, glasses clinking and plates been cleared away – not to mention the mouth-watering aromas. This is most definitely a place for people who enjoy their food.
The menu of Cafe Italia relies, as a good Italian menu should, on the best and freshest ingredients, meticulous preparation and nononsense presentation.
I must admit that I am partial to this place, it being one of my favorite places in Tel Aviv. It is the kind of place that you feel comfortable coming back to time and time again, returning to the same loved dishes and never getting tired of the simple but delicious food.
We chose to sit next to the kitchen, where you may steal a peek into the busy happenings and maybe get a taste of some new dishes being sampled by the staff.
We decided to share, as we normally do, and thus taste more items on the menu. The portions here are quite large, so you might want to settle for one starter or one main dish, but do not miss the green salad (NIS 34). True, it is only lettuce, olive oil and Parmesan cheese flakes, but oh what olive oil and what Parmesan! Again, the quality makes all the difference.
A tuna fish salad with white beans (NIS 38), doesn’t look like much but is very good, with lots of lemon and that wonderful olive oil – exactly the kind of dish you’d get in a Roman ristorante that is patronized by locals rather than tourists. The other starter we tasted was the white asparagus (now in season) in anchovy sauce. The asparagus were meaty and cooked just right, and the sauce was delicious.
It is not always on the menu, so ask for it and grab it if it’s there.
The chef said they had just received fresh fish and suggested we share a whole small grouper, deep fried. We agreed and didn’t regret it. The fish was fresh, and deep frying it was the best method of preparation. This dish, too, is not always available and only offered when the fish is fresh. It is usually served with side dish of potatos or vegetables, but we decided to decline and concentrate on one pasta dish. The pasta dishes here are all very good, made from fresh durum pasta and served with light sauces based on vegetables, nuts, fish, meat and sea food. But there is a winner, and we chose to take the queen of home-cooked Italian pastas – the lasagna Bolognese (NIS 62). Here it is made from green spinach pasta, with rich, wellseasoned meat sauce and topped with the best Parmesan. The portion is large and is served in a “sloppy” manner, just as it would be served by a Roman mama. I love it. The same sloppiness is again demonstrated when the obligatory tiramisu is served. And just looking at it, you know it will taste sublime.
The tiramisu at Cafe Italia definitely rates Numero Uno on our list (yes, we keep one). The coffee was strong and good, and the service very attentive.
To accompany the food we had a glass of Il Bruchetto, a very nice red from Florence, which was the wine of the month, and a bottle of the local boutique beer, Alexander.
Since Cafe Italia is one of my favorite places in town, I will definitely be going back soon.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Cafe Italia, 6 Kremenitzky Street, Tel Aviv, (03) 561-2888. Open Sun - Sat, noon to midnight. Average price per person NIS 60 – NIS 120. Business lunches until 4:30 p.m. Not kosher.