An ode to Aria

This Tel Aviv eatery was a delight from start to finish.

A dish at Aria restaurant (photo credit: Courtesy)
A dish at Aria restaurant
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Aria is, hands down, one of my favorite dinner places in Tel Aviv. Chef Guy Gamzu’s food is always spectacular, the service is impeccable, and the setting is quaint and cozy.
Aria has a soft and warm interior design, which includes a window that offers patrons a peek into the open kitchen, creating an allround inviting and intimate dining atmosphere. The restaurant is situated in a historic building that belonged to the family of Yoel Moshe Salomon. The house received a makeover before the opening of the restaurant. Chef Gamzu fuses Israeli cuisine with Mediterranean style cooking. Every item on the menu receives special attention and showcases dishes unique to Aria in both taste and presentation.
Our meal opened with some fantastic starters. We began with the seared scallops (NIS 65) in brown butter, over white almond cream and blue crab bisque. The flavors were on point – and I don’t particularly like scallops. The scallops were grilled perfectly without being overcooked, complemented by flavorful sauces.
Our favorite appetizer was the salmon tataki (NIS 62), layered in vinaigrette of tamarind and lemon grass and sprinkled with caramelized cashew nuts. This dish appealed to our senses of color and presentation. Each ingredient spoke for itself, enhanced by a light sprinkling of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
In-between, we enjoyed some impressive cocktails as recommended by our delightful and knowledgeable waitress. I enjoyed the Aria Sour (NIS 59), which is the restaurant’s signature cocktail. It consisted of Hennessy V.S., orange Curacao, Amaro Montenegro, lemon juice, maple syrup and egg white. My dining partner opted for the Black Pearl (NIS 67), which was made of rum and bourbon together with a touch of vanilla and chocolate bitters. He was a very happy camper.
For mains, we were presented with a 200 gr. sirloin steak served with mashed potatoes and a purple sweet potato cream (NIS 171). We were more than impressed. Sliced into pieces, the sirloin was the tastiest and most tender that I’ve eaten in recent memory. The whole thing was beautifully executed. The meat was very moist, with delicate flavors.
Last, we were served marinated duck breast in organic honey and black soy, Brussels sprout salad with Chinese pecans and chives (NIS 128). All the ingredients worked in perfect harmony. I enjoyed every bit of the generous duck slices, which were perfectly cooked to medium, soaking in the light sweetness of the sauce.
After a bit of a breather, it was on to dessert. We began with the Nemesis chocolate cake (NIS 48) served with oatmeal crumble, milk chocolate ganache marshmallow fluff and vanilla ice cream. I loved every part of this devilishly decadent dish. The presentation, the flavors, the quantity and the way it all came together made this a memorable dessert. We then shared the mille feuille tiramisu (NIS 48), made up of layered puff pastry, mascarpone cream and marsala sabayon, coffee Hennessey sauce and Irish cream sauce. It was crisp, slightly liquored and had a wonderful balance of flavors. I’d put that tiramisu up against any at the top Italian restaurants in the city.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Aria Not kosher 66 Nahalat Binyamin St., Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 529-6054