Not only for cocktails

The Dan Panorama is one of Tel-Aviv’s most attractive hotels, conveniently situated for visiting some of the best tourist sites, like Neveh Tzedek and the Carmel market.

Invited recently to taste the food served in the lobby, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we were, in fact, sitting down to a full dinner with all the trappings prepared under the direction of the hotel chef, Itsik Yedgar.

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Looking out over the pool – which is the biggest in a Tel Aviv hotel – and beyond to the still blue sea, we chose two cocktails from the menu before getting down to the food. Both NIS 45, I chose a PVC – a mix of cranberry juice, peach schnapps and vodka decorated with a veritable bouquet of mint leaves and flowers. While it was a refreshing drink, the alcohol content was almost negligible. My companion fared better with an Apple Bourbon – a mix of Jack Daniels, Midori (Japanese melon liqueur) and passion fruit. It had more of a kick and didn’t look like a miniature garden as my drink did.

While waiting for our starters, two fresh ciabattas appeared, one white and one whole meal. The accompanying dips, served in tiny jars, were very good, especially the black olive tapenade and the dry tomato paste (NIS 16).

As an hors d’oeuvre I picked ceviche of salmon with ginger, wasabi peas, black sesame and lemon aioli. It was a very generous portion of chopped fresh salmon, but it needed more lemon than I could detect and definitely more ginger. However the aioli sauce was good and piquant (NIS 54).

My partner’s bandura salad consisted of cherry and Roma tomatoes, labaneh cheese, onions, walnuts and herbs (NIS 54). It was almost a meal in itself, very refreshing and with a teasing mix of flavors (NIS 54).

For the main course I chose my favorite fish, gray mullet (burri) served with couscous and chick peas in tomato sauce. The chef timed the cooking of the fish perfectly and the exotic sides were just right (NIS 75).

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My companion had baked salmon fillet with a selection of crunchy green vegetables. Judging by the speed with which it was polished off, it was clearly a successful choice (NIS 84).

The pièce de résistance was undoubtedly the dessert, named Egg Surprise, which was presented with a flourish by our talented waiter, who is really an architect biding his time until his South African qualification is recognized.

It was a perfectly round ball of chocolate onto which was poured a caramel cream sauce, causing the chocolate to collapse from the warmth, revealing a creamy inside.

The resulting taste was nothing less than divine (NIS 34).

If I have one reservation about what was an otherwise outstanding meal: Puny paper napkins were provided – not the nice absorbent kind, but the simplest napkin usually found in the least elegant eateries. Maybe the proprietors should send someone over to Ikea for a supply of their marvelous soft white napkins.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant Café Panorama Kosher Rehov Kaufman 10, Tel-Aviv.

03-519-0190 Open Sun-Thursday: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.

Friday: 11a.m.–1 hour before Shabbat.