Good food, warm atmosphere

Lilyot hits the spot – in every way.

Lilyot restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Lilyot restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
In a city full of restaurants trying to make a name for themselves in new and creative ways, Lilyot is one that has found its niche and sticks to it. With its seasonal dishes, this popular kosher enclave in Tel Aviv’s Asia House takes dining to a whole new level. It’s easy to understand why locals and tourists alike have taken to the place, given the variety and excellence of its offerings.
The restaurant exudes charm, and it is clear that the owners are not just creating a restaurant but a destination, with regulars who come in as much for the warmth and friendship as for the food.
Chef Yonatan Berrebi combines high culinary standards with a hominess and an authenticity. The menu, which features a little bit of every major kosher meat group, as well as fish and vegetarian options, is eclectic but with a Mediterranean touch.
Our waitress was very knowledgeable about the menu and had many suggestions tailored to our preferences.
We began with the sea bass crudo with Canadian maple, papaya, radishes, avocado, Thassos olives, mint and candied nuts. One can tell that Berrebi really focuses on the delicate flavors that raw fish has to offer. Each piece was truly a culinary explosion in my mouth.
This was followed by the endive salad. Endive is a notoriously difficult vegetable for those unfamiliar with it.
Though fragile in appearance, it has a rather bitter taste.
Here, the endive was finely sliced and served in a mound with kohlrabi, fennel, turnip, chickpeas, radish, green onion with a olive oil, lemon and garlic sauce that subdued the bitterness without submerging it entirely.
Next up was mushrooms cooked in beef broth. I took my first bite and was totally hooked. This attractive dish was just as beautiful on the palate as it was on the plate. The goose breast, prunes and poached egg, paired with the earthy mushroom flavors, were divine. All were served on bread toasted in beef tallow. I was overjoyed with this dish and would certainly order it again.
It was then on to the tortellini, which was stuffed with cheek meat cooked in lamb broth, thyme and hibiscus. It was fantastic. The meat was wonderfully tender, and the tortellini lingered in my mouth in a way that had me relishing the last bite but light enough that left me craving more.
After a bit of a breather, it was on to the mains. We started with the hot smoked salmon. The combination of fish, horseradish aioli, Brazil nut, leek and onion confit and roasted beet formed a delicious, perfectly balanced combo.
The salmon was grilled just right – crispy on the outside, delicate on the inside.
This was followed by one of Lilyot’s signature dishes – lamb spareribs in BBQ sauce, Jack Daniels, citrus, charcoal-grilled apples, dried figs and chestnuts. Although a little fatty, the ribs were juicy, tender and pretty much falling off of the bone, with just the right amount of BBQ sauce. My inner caveman came out when I got down to the bones.
Cleaning them off was possibly my favorite part of the meal.
To finish our dinner, we tried a sample plate of different desserts that included a trio of delicious sorbet, chocolate souffle, semolina cake and chocolate truffles.
My dining partner and I were very pleased with the food and left the restaurant feeling very happy and satiated.
Lilyot is a great place for a date or for a family to enjoy a good, flavorful meal.
Starters are priced between NIS 40 and NIS 70. Main dishes range from NIS 80 to NIS 150.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
2 Dafna St., Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 609-1331