From a Bedouin Cave to a Tel Aviv Market

July 12, 2018

One day we drove deep into the Negev to dine in a Bedouin Village with family friends. They invited us to an underground restaurant built deep into a cave; it was cool down there,  shielded from the midday sun.

The meal was extraordinarily generous: it began with lentil soup, then went on to an array of salads, flat breads, rice pilaf, grilled chicken and ended with sweet tea and sweeter cookies.

By the time we got back to Tel Aviv it was dark, and we strolled through the deserted Carmel market, closed stalls dotted with forlorn rejected vegetables. HaBasta takes advantage of its proximity to the market, filling the menu with everything currently on offer.

Cherry salad with chiles and cilantro.

Grouper neck, fried, with aioli, lemon and fresh tomatoes.

Grilled yellowtail skewers.

Grilled okra with preserved lemon and tomatoes

Tiny okra with taratur sauce

Brains a la plancha with fresh vegetables.

Black pasta with salmon roe, bottarga and egg yolk.

On our last night in Tel Aviv a great group of us ate at the charmingly modest and utterly raucous Ouzeria. It may have been my favorite meal of all.  The food was everything that’s great about the new Israeli cuisine: fresh, local, inventive and completely delicious.

A vegetarian triumph: ravioli made of thinly sliced beets wrapped around fresh cheese.

Lovingly fried squid

A gorgeous beef and burrata  salad

grilled cauliflower

Grilled herb-flecked shrimp


Grilled whole sardines.

It was dark by the time we left, and the line to get into the restaurant snaked around the corner. People in Tel Aviv definitely know a good thing when they find it.




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