Greek Salon: An abundance of good food, entertainment in Tel Aviv - review

Israelis know where to go for good food and entertainment and the Greek Salon restaurant in Tel Aviv offers an abundance of both.

 Greek Salon (photo credit: GADI OHAD)
Greek Salon
(photo credit: GADI OHAD)

When we arrived at the Greek Salon at West Hotel, North Tel-Aviv, the place was fairly empty. By the time we left two hours later, there wasn’t a spare table. Israelis know where to go for good food and entertainment and the Greek Salon offers an abundance of both.

Under the direction of chef Guy Peretz, the Greek Salon offers authentic Greek food, ambience, décor and – with a Greek singer every evening – a great gastronomic and musical experience.

Looking around at the restaurant decor, I marveled at how the Greek effect had been achieved with so little effort – a wall of bouzoukis (a Greek stringed instrument) and plenty of fake bougainvillea that looked so convincing I actually went over to check it wasn’t real. Also Greek music playing quietly in the background, marvelously dim lighting and a very attractive young staff who really seemed to care.

Enjoying the Greek cuisine

We began our meal, of course, with a selection of Greek “mezze” or small plates of appetizers. On the menu it’s called Hagiga Yavanit (Greek celebration) and consists of a selection of typical Greek hors d’oeuvres. These included hard-boiled egg and onion, roasted red peppers with feta cheese, the best Kalamata olives ever, tzatziki, creamy and rich, smoky aubergine salad with more feta. Each salad separately costs NIS 35 and the festive collection is NIS 155 and plenty for four diners.

Another dish to appear – Skordalia – made from potato, garlic and almonds was something new and different. Accompanying all these interesting starters was a fresh crispy pretzel loaf studded with sesame seeds and two glasses of ice-cold Chardonnay.

 Greek Salon (credit: BOAZ LEVI) Greek Salon (credit: BOAZ LEVI)

We thought we would be getting our main courses next but there were more surprises emerging from the kitchen. A dish of sashimi (raw chopped fish) made from sea-bass was garnished with mint leaves, cherry tomatoes radish and blobs of tzatziki. The second surprise was a dish of cigars filled with chopped fish. These were crispy, hot and superb, and they came with tehina and chili sauce for dipping.

Finally our main courses arrived. We had left the choices of food to the kitchen staff and had no idea what we were getting.

My companion had grilled skewers of musar-yam with roasted red peppers and, as usual, left the plate spotless.

Our lovely waitress Shena, (ex-haredit) brought me a whole grilled lavrak for my main course and then proceeded to pour alcohol over it and set it alight!

Lavrak flambé – well, that was a first. (Main courses NIS 80 – 130).

The fish was great – very fresh, perfectly cooked; and the side dish of green beans and tomatoes was good too.

We tried to get out of eating dessert but the chef wasn’t having any of that. Shena said she was bringing something special. It took a while but was worth it – a crispy filo tart with sweet cream cheese filling (All desserts NIS 55.)

We didn’t stay for the Greek singer, having decided it was time to go home. But we both felt it was a place we would visit again and bring friends. The food, atmosphere and service had all been good and had contributed to a delightful evening.

Greek Salon TLV – Chef Tavern.Kosher, Tel-Aviv Rabbinate.West Hotel,Herzl Rosenbloom 12,Tel-Aviv.Open: Sunday – Thursday 6:00 p.m. till late.Friday: 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.Reservations: 050-774-0025

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.