A very friendly animal

The Armadillo bar is one of Tel Aviv’s best-kept secrets.

Armadillo (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Opened in 2004, the Armadillo Bar maintains its position as a favorable hangout for the Tel Avivians who are lucky enough to live near the center of the city.
This neighborhood’s institution is full of charm and character, the setting is casual and friendly, even romantic, the music soft, and the crowd easy-going yet trendy.
But despite the bar décor, the 10 beer faucets (a choice of lagers, ales and stouts both local and imported and a selection of bottled beers) and the well-stocked bar (offering the best alcohols at reasonable prices), the food served here is no regular pub food. The chef in charge of the new menu is Zahi Zilberlicht, and he manages to create fantastic dishes in a very small kitchen.
We sampled several appetizers with our drinks, starting with asparagus (NIS 36), a delicious plate of fresh, thin asparagus, steamed with lemon verbena and served with Parmesan cheese. The roasted eggplant with thyme, sherry sauce and feta cheese was another success (NIS 28) as was the bruschetta with mushroom fricassee and crème fraiche (NIS 32), one of the place’s favorites, according to the chef. There is also a sirloin bruschetta (NIS 38) that looked great but we resisted, and a few salads. We chose the roasted artichokes instead and were very pleased with the Italian style dish served with arugula and cherry tomatoes (NIS 28).
Next, we decided on the fillet of bass, seasoned with Ras el hanout, with sweet potato cream and salad of tomatoes and olives – a dish that was delicate and very local and worthy of any gourmet restaurant (NIS 48). The fish carpaccio (NIS 36) was well prepared and was consumed very quickly.
There are always specials, and we learned that some patrons will only choose from those. The one we tried, a dish of crystal shrimp, was divine and cost only NIS 38.
One could also enjoy a plate of fish and chips (NIS 36) with one’s pint or just chips (NIS 19) and labane or tehina (NIS 22). And we hear that the hamburger and chips is also one of the most popular dishes. The burger is made from three different cuts of beef, and the seasoning is the chef’s own.
All the dishes were made from the best ingredients, cooked to perfection and served in a nonchalant, easy way as food should be served in a bar. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. Stumbling out after a few drinks, we vowed to make a habit of returning there whenever possible.
Celebrating its ninth anniversary, Armadillo is offering a special menu of dishes and drinks at only NIS 9 during November, including a selection of beers, chasers, bubblies and tapas dishes.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosherArmadillo51 Ahad Ha’am St.,Tel Aviv Tel: 050-889-8494