Tel Aviv's star kosher fish place: Fish Kitchen

The large main courses were demolished in their entirety, attesting to their deliciousness.

 Red bream fish with zucchini, tomatoes and spinach, the whole topped with sliced purple onion and yogurt cream at Fish Kitchen.  (photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)
Red bream fish with zucchini, tomatoes and spinach, the whole topped with sliced purple onion and yogurt cream at Fish Kitchen.
(photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)

When Deca closed its doors two years ago, Tel-Aviv was deprived of a great kosher fish restaurant, equally popular with the ultra-Orthodox and the National-Religious kippah-seruga crowd.

Now, it’s returned in another incarnation with new ownership and the somewhat prosaic name, Fish Kitchen, which belies its elegance and innovative menu.

The premises looks exactly the same as it was before, with the beautiful lacy mashrabiya (a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located on the upper floors of a building) now painted a creamy yellow, but still dominating the space below, which is furnished with comfy, well-spaced tables and chairs. You can still see the chef, now Elad Levi, working away in the open kitchen at one end, while the other end is graced by a very well-stocked and attractive bar.

At the moment, the menu is only in Hebrew, but the helpful staff all speak English well and will explain what is available to non-Hebrew speakers.

We decided to forgo the cocktail menu, having a fairly long drive ahead, and went straight for the first course.

 Seared tuna, a starter at Fish Kitchen in Tel Aviv. (credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH) Seared tuna, a starter at Fish Kitchen in Tel Aviv. (credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)

My dining companion chose the seared tuna as a starter. It consisted of chunks of the meaty, fresh fish, crisped outside and rare within, with an assembly of additions that included red chilies, berries, coriander, mint and thinly sliced radish, all flavored with lemongrass and a garnish of hazelnuts (NIS 68).

I chose fried fresh anchovies as my hors d’oeuvre, a fish I have only ever encountered before as a very salty-tinned item. These tiny fish had been individually deep fried and were very good, but I kind of missed the salt. The dish included a fresh salad.

For the main course, my companion picked the sea bream fish, three very respectable fillets garnished with chestnut cream. It included cubed pumpkin as a side dish, plus pecans and garlic butter (NIS130).

This rather large amount of food was demolished in its entirety, attesting to its deliciousness.

My choice was the red bream fish (NIS 136) alongside zucchini, tomatoes and spinach, the whole topped with sliced purple onion and yogurt cream. It was superb.

We each drank a glass of Chardonnay from Psagot Winery and found it the perfect accompaniment to our meal.

For our shared dessert, we picked the cheesecake. An inspired choice, as it was very good and we felt it was less calorific than the other offerings, being mostly made of cheese with a very minimalistic top and base of crumbs. It was topped with a sweet, crunchy and very large tuile (NIS 58).

We were very happy to meet the chef, who came over to say hello, and we complimented him on his excellent cooking. Our visit to Fish Kitchen turned out to be a gastronomic highlight of this peculiar winter season.

Fish Kitchen (Kosher)19 Ha Ta’asiya Street, Tel-Aviv.For more details, call: (03) 562-9900.Open: Sunday to Thursday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday is closed, Saturday is open after Shabbat until 12. a.m.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.