A clear winner

Claro in Tel Aviv is both homey and haute cuisine.

Claro restaurant in Tel Aviv (photo credit: PR)
Claro restaurant in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: PR)
Tel Aviv’s Sarona Complex has a host of trendy café chains and modern restaurants to match the atmosphere. Claro is one of the better eateries in the area.
A Templer distillery from the 1860s has been beautifully renovated to become a great setting for the restaurant, with a large bar surrounding the open kitchen.
With three floors including a private dining room on the second floor and a bar-lounge in the basement, it is a big restaurant, but you barely notice that, as the service is very attentive. The extensive menu features fish, seafood, meat and pasta dishes. The tasty dishes are complemented by the finest selection of Israeli wines, both local and international.
Chef Ran Shmueli has used his experience as a restaurateur in Tel Aviv to combine high culinary standards with a hominess and an authenticity less prevalent in Israel’s metropolis.
I asked the wait staff to order for us and bring us a sample of the must-try dishes, along with some of their own favorites.
We were the pleased recipients of an array of delicious and enticing selections.
We started with whole-wheat focaccia accompanied by three excellent spreads: yogurt with spiced pumpkin; spiced olives; and eggplant salad. Each spread was wonderful, and we would have happily kept on eating them had the first courses not arrived.
First up was the steak tartare (NIS 67).
The tartare was robustly seasoned and had a bit of a kick and was served with delicious bruschetta. My dining partner didn’t like the idea of raw ground meat, but I reminded her that tuna/salmon tartare is pretty much the same, made her try it, and now she’s a convert.
In between, we were treated to a variety of delicious cocktails, which included a Ginger Ghost (NIS 49) and a Jack & Julep (NIS 49).
This was follo wed by raw sea fish sashimi (NIS 67) with turnip and beet juice, watercress leaves and grated horseradish. The sashimi was some of the freshest I’ve had. I’m not sure where they source their fish from, but the quality was exceptional. The flavors were great as well.
After we took a bit of a breather, a series of main dishes were served. First up was the seared fillet of beef (NIS 148) served with roasted potatoes and onions, hyssop and pomegranate sauce. It was divine.
The meat had a lovely crust from the searing process but was completely pink all the way through and warmed through as well. As I cut into it, the meat fell apart on the knife and slowly melted on the tongue.
Last was the beef cheek (NIS 118) with glazed turnip greens. The beef cheek was served with mashed turnips, which complemented the rich flavor of the beef perfectly. It’s all about the subtleties here with the flavors. Just perfection.
For dessert, we tried the classic cheesecake with homemade salted caramel ice cream, as well as the chocolate mousse. Both were equally deliciously decadent.
Claro is a really pleasant eatery with good food. It’s a little on the expensive side, but you can expect these prices at a specialty restaurant with guaranteed topquality ingredients and excellent service.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not kosher
30 David Elazar St., corner of 23 Ha’arbaa, Tel Aviv
(03) 601-7777
Daily from 7 p.m. to the last customer