CoffeeBar, a cult place in Tel Aviv

Comfort food and classics happily coexist in the Israeli restaurant established 23 years ago by Ohad Solomon

One of the dishes at CoffeeBar, lively bistro open

One of the dishes at CoffeeBar, lively bistro opened in 1994 in Yad Harutsim Street 13 in Tel Aviv-Yafo (photo

In a city where 500,000 inhabitants are spoilt for choice, thanks to 1,700 restaurants and cafés, competition is something serious. In Tel Aviv restaurants open and close overnight and the very young population (1 out of 3 inhabitants is aged 18-35) is always on the look for something new. If you don’t consider traditional hummus bars, there’s only a handful (perhaps two) of historic restaurants – historic meaning a place that has been open for 20-30 years.

It’s been 23 years since CoffeeBar opened in 1994 and the lively bistro, which is not even very central, is always up and running. Behind the scenes of this success, there’s R2M, the group founded by Mati and Ruti Broudo. The two restaurateurs are famous for turning everything they touch into gold. Yad Harutzim, a neighbourhood close to one of the most important junctions in town, was little more than a pond when the Broudos, right after their honeymoon in New York, decided to open their CoffeeBar here. It was the first restaurant in a chain that today includes among its jewels boutique hotel Montefiore with the homonymous restaurant, five gourmet bakeries called Bakery, the versatile and always trendy Rothschild 12, deli shop Delicatessen and restaurant Brasserie open 24 hours a day. Each place has a well defined personality as well as a noticeable touch that connects it with the property.

Elia and Matteo Rizzo, from restaurant Desco in Verona, will take part in the Round Tables festival in Tel Aviv, on 5-10th November (photo Aromicreativi)

Elia and Matteo Rizzo, from restaurant Desco in Verona, will take part in the Round Tables festival in Tel Aviv, on 5-10th November (photo Aromicreativi)

CoffeeBar – four rooms inside, a bar and tables outside, seating a total of 150 people – has a mostly black and white elegant but informal design. The kitchen, run by Ohad Solomon, joins the reassuring pleasure of comfort food with the presentation and ingredients of a classic French bistro. What does it mean to be an established restaurant in a scene moving as fast as the one in Tel Aviv? «One of our most appreciated characteristics, on top of good food, of course, is the quality of the service. We like to satisfy every whim of our regular clients, we listen to them carefully, learn how and where to direct the business».

On the 5-10th November, Tel Aviv will hold the third edition of Round Tables, the international culinary festival that attracts to Israel some of the best restaurants around the world. This year, there will be 14 establishment and they’ll meet Israel’s most interesting chefs. From Italy, in 2015 Marco Martini, who was then directing Stazione di Posta in Rome, collaborated with Meir Adoni in the kitchen of Lumina. This year, Elia and Matteo Rizzo of Il Desco in Verona are awaited at Aviv Moshe’s restaurant Quattro.

At CoffeeBar, Ohad Solomon is ready to welcome Edgar Nuñez, the Mexican chef from Sud777, 11th in the 50 Best Latin America in 2016. «We’re thrilled to have Nuñez. The way he has enhanced the culinary scene in Mexico City is a source of inspiration for our work in Tel Aviv», says Solomon back from a reconnaissance flight to Mexico where he met him before his arrival at CoffeeBar. «Working with Edgar in the kitchen was an enlightening experience. I tried to understand his concept of food and the way in which he approaches his job. I studied raw materials and preparations, which is essential in order to give the best during Round Tables».

There’s also pizza in the menu at CoffeeBar (photo

There’s also pizza in the menu at CoffeeBar (photo

As for the menu, we only know it will be neither kosher nor vegetarian and variations will not be allowed. A blinded experience, in other words. One can only make some presumptions, knowing their fortes. In the case of Edgar Nuñez, it’s mushrooms and epazote (a Mexican plant with a pungent flavour, similar to oregano, anise, fennel or tarragon, but stronger); scallops with ash sauce and vinaigrette; cod with onion soup and burrata in salsa verde. Ohad Solomon’s signature dishes are burgers with red wine, with onions cooked on a charcoal stove; sea bass filet with gnocchi, roast tomatoes, kalamata olives, roast onions and lemon preserve; risotto paprika, prawns, calamari and mussels form the Mediterranean sea; grilled merling, water spinach, cream of beans and tomatoes.

«Both for me as a chef and for our clients», ensures Solomon «it will be an opportunity to taste interesting new recipes and improve our culinary expertise. This is also one of the secrets to remain among Tel Aviv’s culinary institutions. We want to improve while we age».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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