Dining: A dynamic duo

Mel & Michelle puts the ‘mmm’ in meat meals.

Mel & Michelle (photo credit: PR)
Mel & Michelle
(photo credit: PR)
If you’re looking for romance, you should try Mel & Michelle, a small, smart Italian restaurant on Ben-Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv. The dim lights, candles, lovely decor and music all contribute to the special atmosphere of this place.
The restaurant’s interior design – wooden floor, old-fashioned wallpaper and a few Renaissancestyle oil paintings – adds to the appearance of a family-owned eatery in Florence or Rome.
Run by chef Nir Wayman, Mel & Michelle is one of the finest options in town for an Italian dinner with a Mediterranean twist.
The menu offers homemade pasta, meat and seafood.
As no Italian meal is complete without a good bottle of wine, Mel & Michelle has an impressive wine list that includes some of the best reds and whites that Israel and Italy have to offer.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we sat at the bar and received the barman’s full attention. It was nice to be able to peek into the kitchen from where we sat and see the chef and souschefs at work.
We had a chance to sample a wide array of dishes from the enticing menu. Upon sitting down, we were served the house bread (NIS 20). This crisp rendition of a divine dough was accompanied by local olive oil touched with a reduced balsamic vinegar that was sweet and tasty.
We began our meal with the fish crudo (NIS 66) in citrus caramel, balsamic pearls, yogurt and seasonal fruit. The flavorful fish was very tender and hardly required chewing. It was a touch spicy, with an incredible interplay of salty and sweet flavors.
This was followed by the soft polenta (NIS 66) with seared artichokes and Sicilian breadcrumbs. Slightly charred and smoky, the tender artichoke leaves and stems were delicious.
The polenta was rich, creamy and comforting.
Our main courses were the Parisian gnocchi (NIS 86) – a cheesy dough pan seared until golden brown served in a truffle cream. The gnocchi were exceptional, and the sauce was so good that we used the rest of the house bread to sop up what remained on the plate.
We were then presented with the beef tenderloin (NIS 145) served in cappuccino porcini sauce with homemade creme fraiche. It was divine. The meat had a lovely crust from the searing process but was completely pink all the way through. The tender meat virtually melted on the tongue, and the sauce ideally complemented the rich flavor of the beef.
To finish the meal with something sweet, we shared the tiramisu (NIS 36) and a wonderfully creamy dark chocolate cake served with cream and amaretto cherries. Both were especially good.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mel & Michelle
Not kosher
155 Ben-Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 529-3232