DNA: A new dining concept in Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall - review

The service was quick and good, and we enjoyed the evening very much. The Azrieli Center has a lot to offer – including some excellent dining.

 DNA dining area at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall (photo credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)
DNA dining area at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall
(photo credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)

The Azrieli Mall, at the entrance to Tel Aviv, was built in 1998 and quickly became a popular attraction for Israeli compulsive shoppers. With over 200 stores, 35 restaurants, a police station and a synagogue, one could spend a whole day there and find plenty to occupy one’s time.

Invited to try out the food at the new DNA dining area, we drove to the center knowing there were 3,000 underground parking places. Unfortunately, thanks to the fact that Tel Aviv is now one huge building site due to the construction of the light rail, my driver/companion/husband missed the entrance and had to find another parking lot further away.

(Waze told us it would take another 20 minutes to drive back to Azrieli, so we walked.)

The new DNA dining area at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall

DNA’s menu was constructed by renowned Israeli chef Yossi Shitrit, so we settled down at the beautiful marble topped counter (“the longest bar in the Middle East,” if you are to believe PR hype), in anticipation of a good meal.

Another innovation at DNA is the use of food trucks for the cooking, parked adjacent to the eating area. The food is ordered, but nothing is seen of the actual preparation. At other trucks, diners can approach and order takeaway.

 DNA dining area at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall (credit: ASAF KARLA) DNA dining area at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall (credit: ASAF KARLA)

We began our meal with two starters from the extensive menu – ceviche and cigars. The ceviche was very good – it consisted of very fresh cubed raw fish marinated in a lemony dressing with red pepper slices and a sweet fruit, possibly mango. It made for a really tantalizing and delicious starter.

The cigars were crispy and hot and filled with some unidentified meat stuffing. A tehina dip was provided, as well as plenty of napkins and wipes, as even the most fastidious diner needed to eat the cigars with the hands and not cutlery (flatware). All starters – NIS 44.

For his main course my husband chose the “Professor” burger, feeling it had been named just for him. It was a thick, meaty and juicy burger, inside a totally black soft roll, with a generous amount of delectable fried onions. The dish included a standard salad, put straight onto the tray and not in a bowl. Elegant dining this was not, but the food was more than acceptable (NIS 69).

My choice was a chicken curry – a large amount of meat in a spicy red sauce, garnished with mint and lychees. It was good, though I’m not sure it would pass muster in New Delhi, being a little too mild.

We shared a dessert, as there wasn’t a huge choice. It was a parve panna cotta made from coconut milk and was dotted with blobs of red syrup. It tasted fine – if you like coconut.

We drank beer and shandy, as we faced a long drive home and wanted to stay sober, and also felt they fit the rather homey food.

The service was quick and good, and we enjoyed the evening very much. The Azrieli Center has a lot to offer – including some excellent dining.

DNA132 Begin RoadTel AvivPhone: 050-441-4648Sun.-Thurs., noon to midnight; Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 p.m. till late.Kashrut: Tzohar.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.