Judging by the lines of people waiting patiently for a table at Anastasia, the vegan restaurant established eight years ago, the place is very popular with the Tel Aviv in crowd.
Why Tel Aviv is considered the vegan capital of the world is still a mystery to me, but statistically it is known to be so. I went along there recently with my vegan son as companion, to try out some new items on the menu since our last visit. My carnivore husband and usual companion was happy to yield his place.
The food at Anastasia
Situated on the corner of two busy thoroughfares in the heart of Tel Aviv, Reines and Frishman, diners sit on a shaded balcony and can enjoy window boxes blooming with lavender and lemongrass, and look at some aging Bauhaus buildings crying out for a face-lift. Tel Aviv Municipality, please note.
We first picked some very healthy sounding drinks as well as enjoying the jug of iced water which arrived immediately we sat down.
My drink was dubbed “Root Juice” and was made with carrot, apple, maca and ginger (NIS 24). Though nonalcoholic, it had quite a kick, no doubt because of the ginger.
The second “cocktail” was “Holistic Boost,” made of carrot juice, orange juice, turmeric and hemp oil (NIS 26). It also gave the impression one was imbibing something very healthy.
I chose a leek and onion quiche, and my companion was persuaded to try “Soba,” a buckwheat noodle and vegetable concoction. All mains are about NIS 62/64.
The quiche was exceptionally tasty – how could it not be, with two such pungent vegetables? – and although it didn’t have the texture of true quiche (no eggs or cheese), it was very acceptable as a kind of pie, with the crust made from spelt flour.
The accompanying vegetable was a mix of raw courgette (zucchini) shavings and lettuce helped by a dressing of spiced almond yogurt.
The noodle dish had, in addition, kale, arugula leaves, green onion and cilantro (coriander). The dressing was made with sesame oil, and the dish was topped with spicy almond crumble. It was good but far too much to finish, and half was transported home in a doggie bag.
The dessert menu is not large but contains some interesting items like tiramisu and chocolate cake.
Our lovely waitress, Mor, who spoke impeccable English, insisted we should try two desserts, and in the end brought three.
The tiramisu was a three-layer frozen cake with an almond and date base and chocolate and coconut mousse; the chocolate cake was light as air, and the ice cream was topped with nut butter sauce. None were oversweet, which suited us (desserts NIS 42/46).
We declined a hot drink, it being a very sunny day, and left Anastasia with pleasant gastronomic memories.
There is an underground parking lot situated further up Frishman toward the sea, so no Tel Aviv parking problem can spoil this dining-out experience.
AnastasiaFrishman 54Tel Aviv(03) 529-0095Open: Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.