Dining: As authentic as it gets

Pronto provides the real taste of Italy in Tel Aviv.

Pronto restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Pronto restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
A culinary jewel offering delightful Italian cuisine in a charming setting in Tel Aviv, Pronto has become the favorite among Italian food aficionados.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. In 1997, Pronto won the prestigious prize for the best Ristorante Italiano outside of Italy, issued by the Italian government.
Owned by Israeli filmmaker Rafi Adar, who lived in Italy for many years, Pronto is an authentic Italian trattoria/restaurant modeled after the most famous eateries in Rome.
The decor is warm and inviting, with some beautiful drawings by artist Uri Lifshitz. A bar functions as the centerpiece of the restaurant, and customers can sit there for a quick drink or at one of the surrounding tables.
Pronto’s menu is a culinary melting pot, and the food on offer is luxurious and indulgent. Chef David Frenkel and his talented sous chefs are the masterminds of the seasonal winter/autumn menu.
As no Italian meal is complete without a good bottle of wine, Pronto has an impressive wine list that includes some of the best reds and whites that Israel and Italy have to offer.
We started our meal off with the bluefin tuna sashimi (NIS 68). I’ve been to a couple of restaurants where I would order a serving of sashimi and would receive meager cuts. However, these guys weren’t stingy with their cuts, and each slice was fresh and succulent.
They melted in my mouth, and the presentation was simple and elegant.
Next up was the oxtail cappelletti (NIS 59) with wild mushrooms and onion. The oxtail filling had a great meaty flavor with a soft puree texture, and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. The sauce was rich and had a delicious, earthy truffle flavor. I savored every bite.
This was followed by the blue crab cannelloni (NIS 72) with bisque foam and an egg cooked at 63 degrees. This dish was truly inspired in its simplicity. I will say first off that I am not a fan of foam on a plate, but there was a rich airiness and creaminess to the foam that lent a smoothness to the dish. The crab was excellently cooked, and even with the foam I was able to taste the flavor of the crab. The pasta was also cooked to perfection.
After a bit of a breather, we were served the truffle tagliolini (NIS 92).
The tagliolini was rich and fragrant and dressed with just enough butter, but not so much as to prevent the truffles from shining through. This dish was exactly what authentic Italian pasta is – simple but really, really flavorful.
Without any kind of tomato or cream-based sauce, it still managed to pack a punch.
This was followed by the yellowtail tagliolini (NIS 105).
Yellowtail is a glorious fish and, like all high-quality ingredients, requires the minimal amount of interference to cook into something delicious. The fish also has an edible skin that crisps beautifully. The yellowtail in this dish was so tender, I wondered at times between bites how something could make me so happy.
We were then served a 28-day aged rib eye steak (NIS 60 per 100 gr.), accompanied by bone marrow and potato puree. This was a good piece of steak, and the salt and pepper seasoning was right on point. The only issue was that the steak was a bit overcooked. I was expecting it to be juicier and more tender.
The desserts were delightful. We shared the deliciously decadent grue brownie (NIS 48) with espresso ganache, yogurt cremeaux, Bailey’s bonbon and biskelia Valrhona ice cream. Last, we tried the dolce Valrhona semifreddo (NIS 48), which was unbelievably good. The wonderful contrast in textures and flavors harmonized perfectly.
Pronto is a wonderful place if you are celebrating an occasion or just want a special meal. It is a bit pricey, but you pay for what you get, which is excellent service and outstanding food. Here’s to Pronto’s continued Italian culinary excellence.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher
4 Herzl Street, Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 566-0915