Mizlala. Photo: Anthony Grant
Deciding on the hottest restaurant of the moment in Tel Aviv evokes as much fierce debate as it would in New York City. But few would dispute that in the closing months of 2011, the honor goes to Mizlala by Meir Adoni. Adoni is the power chef behind the Tel Aviv classic Catit, but with Mizlala he's going more assertively contemporary and the trendy spot is already drawing the likes of model Bar Refaeli (spotted in June) and Israeli TV personality Asi Azar.
The menu is minimalist but the food isn't. To start, the bread is dreamy: go for either the white sourdough with coriander seeds or the "kubaneh" bread baked in clarified butter with crushed grilled tomatoes and hot green peppers. Starters (ranging from 28 NIS to 76 NIS, or $8-$21) include the likes of "'Palestinian' tartar, ground rump, raw tahini paste, pine nuts, charred eggplant puree, cumin and parsley" and drum fish ceviche with spinach, roasted beetroot, yogurt, raw egg yolk and pickled lemon...wow.
Move on to mains (47 NIS to 79 NIS, or $13-$22) such as "sea fish kebab with eggplant and goat cheese cream, grilled vegetables, ginger and chili vinaigrette" and a daring, delectable linguini in butter, sage and garlic with white asparagus, brioche crumbs and -- get ready for this -- a tempura-fried poached egg.
I wasn't wild about the desserts and hope that on a subsequent visit Adoni will give some of them a rethink. But, before you dig in, you've got rocking cocktails (but skip the Rosie O'Donnell) and the sheer energy is something to experience. At one point during my meal the waiter, Ben, offered us all shots. Why? Because he felt like having a drink himself.
Enough said. The restaurant is located at 57 Nachalat Binyamin; call 03-5665505 and persist until you get a reservation.