Kudos to Kalamata

Flavorful Greek food is served with flair in Jaffa.

A dish at Kalamata (photo credit: DANIEL LAYLA)
A dish at Kalamata
(photo credit: DANIEL LAYLA)
Greek food is one of my favorite comfort foods. And Kalamata is a great place to enjoy some authentic Greek dishes with a Mediterranean twist in a very relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant is named after the resort town located in the Peloponnese region in the south of Greece, where the famous purple olive grows.
Located in the Old City of Jaffa, situated in a beautiful stone building about 500 years old, Kalamata has a lovely interior and exterior. One can sit out in the courtyard facing onto the historic Kedumim Square or inside at tables that offer magnificent sea views. We managed to get a table by the window on the second floor, overlooking the Mediterranean and a great view of Tel Aviv.
We started off with some intriguing cocktails. I tried the Call Me Chili (NIS 39), which is comprised of vodka shaken with passion fruit, lemon and chili. What a great drink! It really sent my taste buds on a trip from sweet to spicy.
My dining companion ordered the Hercules (NIS 39), which consisted of brandy Metaxa with citrus liqueur, lemon and gingerale. He was very pleased with it. As a drink that is a bit lighter and refreshing, this was a great choice.
Anticipating a big meal ahead of us, we announced our intentions to forgo the homemade bread and dips (NIS 19) and wait for the real food. But that proved impossible – the bread was so fresh and tasty, that it was too tempting to pass up.
Plus the tahini and the tomato salsa dips were out of this world. Then came our appetizers.
We started with the Arab style ceviche (NIS 45), which consisted of thinly sliced raw fish on a salad of crisp red cabbage, green and red onions, bulgur, parsley, tomatoes and lemon juice. Beneath the salad were yogurt and parsley cream.
Kalamata definitely hit the mark with the freshness and the flavors that ceviche should have. Next up was the grilled artichoke salad (NIS 42). Slightly charred and smoky, the tender artichoke leaves and stems were delicious. This was followed by seared salmon skewers on a bed of tzatziki (NIS 66). The salmon was grilled to perfection and was extraordinarily tender, with a light crunch to the exterior. The tzatziki was an excellent companion.
After a bit of a breather, we were served a series of main dishes. We began with the ricotta ravioli with zucchini cream and feta cheese (NIS 68). The pasta was extremely delicate, while the sauce was subtle so as not to overburden the dish.
And the fluffy ricotta only added to the dish’s intrigue. Perfectly executed and prepared, every heavenly bite just melted in my mouth. This was followed by the gyros (NIS 70), which consisted of shredded spicy lamb on a flat pita, spread with red onions, tomatoes and mint. The taste was a great balance of juicy grilled meat that was perfectly marinated in Mediterranean spices and the right amount of salt, complemented with tomato and onions, smothered with the tart but very tasty tahini sauce.
For dessert, the homemade kanafeh (NIS 36) paired with delicious pistachio ice cream was a hit. Every component was right on point. The semolina dough, the cheese, the syrup, the pistachio garnish – all of it was just right on every level.
I went to Kalamata with pretty high expectations and they were met, perhaps even exceeded. This restaurant offers a fresh approach to fine dining. With its delightful atmosphere, good food and drink, Kalamata is the ideal place to go with close friends.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Kalamata Not kosher 10 Kikar Kedumim, Jaffa Tel: (03) 681-9998