Ronimotti - Don't pass on the pasta

The suburbs can be surprising: At Tel Aviv's Ronimotti, the food is great and love is in the air

People always talk about the first date as the hard one; for me, however, it is the second date that is the biggest challenge. Recently, I went out with a beautiful and charming young woman. I wanted the second date to be fun and different, and to have great food without the pretension of a super fancy restaurant. I had heard that Ronimotti in Ramat Hahayal was a great place, and I decided that this was the perfect occasion to try it out. It was a bit of a risk, as I knew very little about the place, but it was a gamble I was willing to take. My date was surprised that we were heading into the suburbs, as there are many dining options in the city, but I thought it might be part of the charm of the date to head off the beaten path. When we stepped out of the taxi in Ramat Hahayal, my heart dropped. I looked at the corporate complex that houses Ronimotti and other eateries and thought that there was nothing cute or charming about this place. How wrong I was. Entering the restaurant, we were transported from the bland office buildings and corporate artwork of Ramat Hahayal to a foodie paradise. The first floor of Ronimotti is occupied by the kitchen and a small deli area with take-away food. As a home cook, I was excited to see a wide variety of homemade pastas, sauces and other Italian fare for sale. There were also many imported cheeses and Italian products. I could have been happy buying some products there, heading outside and having a picnic, but we continued upstairs to the dining area. We were seated at a small, private table in the back. It was quiet and comfortable, the perfect place to get to know each other a bit better. The wait staff was friendly and professional, and was happy to share a bit about the restaurant. The waiters told us that Roni Belfer and Motti Sofer originally opened the deli downstairs, and only later launched the full restaurant - both for the love of Italian food and their love for each other. The perfect romantic story for a date! We shared a few starters, including the malfatti (NIS 36), tasty gnocchi-like dumplings made with spinach, red pepper and cheese, served in a rose sauce. We both enjoyed a pasta for our main course: She ate a linguine bolognese (NIS 58) that was perfectly full of flavorful meat and I enjoyed a seafood pasta dish (NIS 69). In both cases, the outstanding homemade pasta stood out. Ronimotti - aside from its many pasta dishes - also offers a full range of main courses, including a meat lasagna and lamb osso buco. To finish the meal, we shared a tiramisu (NIS 32) and a panna cotta (NIS 32). Both were tasty and well made, though pretty standard fare. My espresso was exceptional - as was the date! Both my dining partner and I enjoyed the meal, and each other's company. Ronimotti is a charming little restaurant, perfect for a business lunch or a romantic diner. For those of you who live in north Tel Aviv, it also delivers.n Ronimotti, Rehov Raoul Wallenberg 24, Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv. (03) 647-0247 or (Hebrew) Not kosher.