Triola Italian Bistro's serves meaty cuisine straight from Italy

The Petah Tikva restaurant often boasts a full house

Food from Triola Italian Bistro (photo credit: SIVAN SHUV-AMI)
Food from Triola Italian Bistro
(photo credit: SIVAN SHUV-AMI)
Petah Tikva’s restaurant scene has been growing at a spectacular rate in recent years. It seems clear already, however, that a popular local eatery is Triola Italian Bistro.
This informal bistro stands alone in a neighborhood where many restaurants are clustered in malls. Nevertheless, parking is not a problem, since there is a private (unpaved) lot for customers only (be prepared to call from your car to open the gate).
The main dining room is dominated by a U-shaped bar with stools that appear to be more upholstered than the plain wooden chairs at the tables. There is also a rear dining room, and an al fresco area – only partially enclosed in the winter – on the sidewalk.
Triola has separate Hebrew and English menus, each of which combines food and alcohol. There are four specialty drinks (NIS 32-44) listed under cocktails, even though only two are actually cocktails: one is the house sangria, while another is a virgin mocktail.
Both specialty cocktails are gin-based, one featuring fruit, the other vegetable. The Summer, for example – blending gin, lemon, passion fruit and orange juice, and served neat in a coupe glass – was crisp and refreshing.
The house sangria, meanwhile – red wine, berry liqueur, cranberry and lemon juice, garnished with cubes of fresh green apple – was more complex than many in this genre and packed a bit of a punch. It is available either warm or cold.
The food menu comprises six sections: Entrées (NIS 38-59), Salads (NIS 56-70), Pizza (NIS 62-66), Pasta (NIS 63-98), Vegan (NIS 39-69), Meat (NIS 42-138, plus prime steaks by weight), Sea (NIS 78-110) and Kids (NIS 44-49). The entrées include the house focaccia with dips, and a soup of the day, as well as a few vegetarian options; pasta may also be ordered as a vegan and/or whole wheat option.
Our first appetizer was the polenta with portobello mushrooms, asparagus and Parmesan cheese. The creamy polenta, meaty mushrooms, al dente asparagus and broad ribbons of shaved Parmesan added up to a delicious dish.
Next was the baked cauliflower with aioli truffle sauce, Parmesan and chives. The dish sounded and looked promising; unfortunately, however, the sauce was overwhelmingly mayonnaise and ultimately disappointing.
The long list of tempting pastas presented us with a difficult choice, but eventually we settled on what we thought was the most intriguing: smoked pasta – rigatoni with thin slices of smoked beef in a sauce of beef stock, mushrooms, chestnuts, butter, spinach and red wine. The small tubes of pasta, together with a generous portion of savory beef in a distinctive and slightly spicy sauce, created a hearty, filling and satisfying dish.
By the time we were ready for our main courses, the restaurant had filled up, and the kitchen struggled to keep up with the many orders. Our first main course was entrecôte, aged in-house and served on a wooden platter alongside a metal pan of small roasted potatoes. It arrived closer to medium-rare than our requested medium-well, but the waiter said he was happy to bring it back after a few more minutes on the grill. It indeed returned quickly and much improved. The extremely well-marbled steak was succulent and juicy, and if not quite steakhouse quality, more than acceptable for an Italian restaurant.
The sea category was mostly fish, but we selected the lone seafood choice – shrimp and asparagus in a sauce of dried tomato butter, garlic, white wine and parsley. Unlike in the polenta dish, the asparagus this time around was strangely only stalks. This is a mere quibble, however: the shrimp were reasonably plump, while the sauce was simply outstanding. Thankfully, the skillet of hot shrimp came with a small focaccia, which, apart from not having been baked thoroughly through, was ideal for mopping up every last drop of terrific sauce.
There was no dessert menu; instead, the choices were recited by our waiter. Our first choice was mascarpone cream with fresh strawberries and a layer of crispy kadaif (NIS 49). The cream was airily light and perhaps a tad too sweet, but the crunch of the kadaif and the ample array of fresh fruit balanced out the dish nicely.
Finally, we picked the cheesecake (NIS 39), even though it was New York-style rather than Italian-style. Garnished with fresh assorted berries, a thin smear of coulis and a raspberry tuile, and boasting a thick crust, it was attractively presented and altogether pretty good.
Triola Bistro
Not kosher
Shaham St. 14, Petah Tikva
Phone: 073-760-0442
Open daily from 12 noon.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.