Veggie goes organic

The new Tel Aviv restaurant NOI prides itself on having a positive philosophy.

eggplant salad 88 (photo credit: )
eggplant salad 88
(photo credit: )
The new restaurant NOI prides itself on having a positive philosophy. As such, their location is one of the most positive spots in Tel Aviv - situated on Chen Blvd., surrounded by trees and overlooking Rabin square. Sitting outside, it almost feels as if we're in Paris, overlooking Marie Francois Sardi Carnot Square (he was assassinated as well, though this may or may not be a real square). European vibes are evident in the food as well. Only all natural ingredients are used, organics when available and everything's homemade, with no preservatives - even the eggs are free range. "Healthy mainly because it tastes better," they say, "not because it's trendy." NOI offers many interesting vegetarian choices. Though meat eaters have their share of healthy choices, too. We started off with a terrific cigar leaf filled with chickpeas and mint, accompanied by a yogurt sauce that was a bit too simple and could have used some spicing up. The sweet potato quiche was really nice, as long as you like your sweet potato sweet, which it was. And we do. So we liked it. For my main course, I had the Tomme cheese salad. Both interesting and delicious, the cheese mixed well with the figs, red grapefruit and fennel in the most light and refreshing way. Dressed with a vinaigrette sauce that wasn't all that healthy, I was reminded that they only do healthy as long as it's tasty. My dining partner chose the whole-wheat fettuccine. Served with "a lot of vegetables," according to the menu, this turned out to mean chickpeas and beans. Though it was tasty, it proved very filling after just two bites. We finished the meal with the organic coffee and homemade carrot cake - both nice. Also served a plate of terrific cookies of the coconut, chocolate and halva varieties. NOI's design looks as though it's straight out of the IKEA catalog, giving it more of a cafe feel than an all-out restaurant. So, with it's great location and really nice food, we've got ourselves a great option for lunch - for vegetarians and carnivores alike. 3 and a half carrots NOI - 59 Chen Blvd., Tel Aviv; (03) 524-0642 - is open Sun. to Thurs. from 11:30 a.m. till midnight, Fri. from 9:30 a.m. till 8 p.m. and Sat. from 11 a.m. till midnight; not kosher. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.