Want Steak? Visit Tibi's, near the Sea of Galilee

For carnivores, Tibi’s Steakhouse is well worth a trip to northern Israel

Tibi's Steakhouse (photo credit: ASSAF KERALA)
Tibi's Steakhouse
(photo credit: ASSAF KERALA)
It took a journey to the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee for me to find a place where the experience was complete in very sense of the word: not a single niggle to complain about. Quite often, no matter how good the food, one is bothered by a secondary detail that detracts from the gestalt – an annoying soundtrack, for example, or a thermostat set to freezing. At Tibi’s Steakhouse and Bar, however, everything in the ambiance was just right: the handsome rustic decor, the comfortable leather chairs, the air conditioning set to the ideal temperature, the excellent music playing at just the right volume, and a friendly and knowledgeable waitress with good English. Parties of all sizes will find every imaginable size and shape of table; there is also al fresco seating on a wooden deck.
Tibi’s is named not after owner Ro’i, but rather Chef Haim Tibi, who was recruited to helm the kitchen of the reconstituted restaurant eight years ago. Chef Tibi was previously featured in these pages when the paper reviewed his short-lived Tel Aviv restaurant, Clash. 
The full name of the establishment is Tibi’s Steakhouse and Bar, so it is worth starting with a cocktail from the full bar. The bilingual cocktail list – replete with some amusing bloopers – itemizes five specialty cocktails (NIS 49), while some classics are featured (in Hebrew only) on a colorful chalkboard at the bar. We enjoyed two of the former cocktails: the Passion Fruit Martini, tropical refreshment par excellence, and Tulaime – similarly fruity, but with a salt rim and a tart finish. 
There are actually two separate wine lists curated by the house sommelier. The extensive list of wines by the bottle – all but the champagnes from Israeli wineries – is accompanied by a shorter list (in Hebrew only) of 11 wines by the glass (NIS 38-58). The latter are served from two impressive, imported Enomatic machines, which preserve the flavor of wines from pre-opened bottles. 
For a steakhouse, the six-page bilingual food menu is full of varied dishes, many of which are suitable even for vegetarians and vegans. Tibi’s prides itself on using only the freshest hand-picked produce, along with fresh-caught fish, and bread and pastry prepared daily. 
The menu’s six sections (excluding the house focaccia) are: Before the Meat (NIS 47-59), From Tiran’s Ranch (salads using organic, hydroponic, local greens, NIS 56-67), Handmade Pasta (NIS 56-105), Neither Steak nor Pasta (NIS 110-135), Hamburgers (NIS 56-65), and Tibi’s Steakhouse (NIS 175-195). All cuts are meticulously aged on the premises, a process one may glimpse in the refrigerated display case at the entrance. 
Our first entrée was the Artichoke Roman-style: asparagus spears and artichoke hearts roasted in a sauce of butter with garlic confit and truffle oil. The delicious al dente vegetables were enhanced by the rich but not cloying sauce, as well as delicate shavings of aged Parmesan cheese. 
Next were the homemade beef sausages we had spied aging along with the steaks. The initial bites of the sausages were unremarkable, but the subtle seasoning slowly kicked in, gradually filling our mouths with satisfying flavor. The condiments – cooked cabbage, two kinds of Dijon mustard and homemade ketchup – provided an additional welcome dimension. 
The steaks at Tibi’s are all generous (500 grams) cuts of prime beef, with the exception of the smaller filet mignon. There is also one lamb option, which is temporarily unavailable, as its supply from Australia has been interrupted. 
Each of the six steaks listed on the menu merits a detailed description, along with recommended degrees of grilling (from rare to a maximum of medium-well). Conspicuous by its absence was the entrecôte, which is sometimes offered as a special. 
My companion chose the filet mignon – a lovely medallion grilled just the way she requested: extremely rare. It was not only melt-in-the-mouth tender, she proclaimed it the best filet she had ever tasted, anywhere. 
I chose the prime rib, which is served on the bone. My cut was marbled to the max, yielding a terrifically succulent and flavorful steak that nonetheless called for some fat-trimming.
We sampled all three of the steak sauces – peppercorn with brandy and cream, mushroom with cream and beef stock, and demi-glace – but frankly, the meat was better without any of them. Our sides of garlic roasted potatoes and mashed potatoes – so creamy they were the texture of polenta – were both spot on. 
The bilingual dessert menu comprises five desserts (NIS 45-49) and several rotating flavors of homemade ice cream (NIS 12-26), all prepared in-house by a dedicated pastry chef. The lemon tart with pistachio meringue and raspberry coulis was superb, while the Sneakers (sic) Fudge was a decadent chocolate-peanut-caramel creation true to the Snickers candy bar that inspires it. 
 Dessert was washed down with great espresso, served comme il faut with a small chaser of soda. Indeed, the service throughout the meal was attentive and professional. 
 A feast at Tibi’s is in the realm of what one would rightly call a splurge – but at least, with the completed network of Galilee highways, not one whose geographical location is as daunting as it once used to be. 
Tibi’s Steakhouse and Bar 
Not kosher
Vered HaGalil Guest Farm 
Tel. (04) 633-0885 
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.