Dalida, Tel Aviv, Israel

In Tel Aviv for two days of meetings, I finished early the first day and walked down to Jaffa and the beach, watching the surfers end their days in the water! As winter is coming, the days are finishing earlier and therefore, by the time I got to the beach around 4:30pm, the sky was already changing colours…

Not really sure where to eat in Tel Aviv, but knowing that there are a ton of good restaurants, I checked out eater.com to see if they had any suggestions… and found a post noting 38 restaurants, and an updated one with 15 new hot restaurants… score.

I narrowed the list down to a few restaurants then made a last minute decision based on the neighbourhood I was in at dinner time.

Dalida is a new-ish restaurant just below Rothschild Boulevard in a small maze of streets that have cute little hole-in-the-wall restaurants and people spilling out having cocktails.

Dalida is more high end than this, but manages to still be relaxed, with a bench outside where some people came and just had a drink as well…

As soon as I sat down, I was given some beans to snack on while I ordered. They were seasoned with caraway seeds and some herbs… nice but not amazing.

Then, I attacked the menu… there are medium dishes (appetizer size), large (main size) and small bites (side dish size). After looking at the whole menu, I decided that the appetizers looked the best, so was told to order three of those.

I started with the courgette salad, with thin slices of courgette, tomato, artichoke, red onion and olive, topped with a red pepper paste and labneh. There was also stalks of some other vegetable… I’m not sure what it is (it almost tastes like a celery stalk, with the same thread-y consistency, but is cooked).

The thin courgette was nice, but the dish wasn’t a wow-dish overall.

Then, chicken wing and yogurt ravioli with chicken stock, dried yogurt, and watercress, sprinkled with pistachio. These little guys were delicious. They chicken stock was tasted in the ravioli themselves, and in the sauce… and the pistachio sprinkling was unexpected and added a really nice extra layer. I gobbled these up.

And then, the most decadent dish ever, bone marrow with toasted brioche and a truffle cream (and chestnuts). The bread was called a brioche steak, as it was shaped and kind of looked like a piece of steak…

Basically, you scoop out the bone marrow, add it to the brioche and then add some of the truffle cream… funnily enough, the flavours worked perfectly together, you would think that a combination of bone marrow and cream would be too much, but the earthy truffle flavour counterbalanced the fattiness of the  bone marrow and actually cut into what would have otherwise been too fatty. I didn’t find the chestnut necessary, but it was a nice touch.

Then, I was convinced to order dessert, their iteration of a typical Arab semolina dessert (oum ali). I had had something similar in Turkey, and thought it was okay, but this dish was much better, as the semolina was smooth (instead of grainy) and the sauce was perfectly sweet but light. Yum.

What a meal… and with a great waitress (who offered to do a shot together halfway through the meal) and a nice American couple at the next table, it was a very entertaining one as well as delicious!

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