Ah Europe! The shaded sidewalks. The crowds of people enjoying a lazy summer’s evening. The tourists. The little Bistro with its romantic atmosphere where the red-brown decor evokes memories of Spain. Dark wooded tables and high “Belgian” windows looking out on the street and the eclectic mix of music – Spanish and French, just lend to this wonderful feeling. Only the sign in Hebrew across road gave it away – we were not in Europe after all, but sitting at Pastis. Named for the anise-flavored liqueur and ap?ritif from southern France this Tel Aviv establishment is located on one of its trendiest and most romantic streets – Rothschild Boulevard. Its well stocked bar makes it the perfect stop for a business meeting over “a few drinks”, while its stylish ambiance lends itself to a elegant familial outing or a romantic prelude. Surrounded by a patio where one can hold private events Pastis offers a unique dining experience.
We were greeting by a friendly hostess who showed us to our table. Do not be fooled by their casual dress – the staff here is one of the most professional I have encountered. With our drinks we were brought a basket of warm, delicious bread. For our appetizers my companion and I decided on the Roquefort mussels – a beautifully arranged dish of these little creatures, swimming on a bed of creamy blue cheese and the asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, parmesan and crispy philo-dough served with a refreshing salad of endive, radish and walnuts. Both dishes were delicious and superbly cooked.
We were then presented with two small espresso cups. Suspicious at first, we were told it was crab bisque with cream and brandy. One word came to mind – exquisite! After a short wait our main courses arrived. A large frying pan of seafood – shrimp, calamari, mussels and crab awaited me, while my companion was served one of the house dishes – red drum (or channel bass) baked in yogurt, za’atar, sumac and pine nuts. A dish that melts in your mouth! The taste of the fish is expertly balanced by the tartness of the sauce. A real explosion of flavors!
For dessert (who had room?!?) I could not resist the Bom-Barula, a superb ball of Belgian chocolate mousse and a cr?me Brule filling on an almond cookie base. Pastis’ menu varies with the season. A good example of this was the dessert my companion ordered - a unique dish of halva, halva ice-cream and red grapefruit, designed for the restaurant by the French chef from Provence Christophe Dufau. Although it may seem a strange combination at first, halva and grapefruit go remarkably well.
Pastis is mainly a seafood restaurant but one can find something for everyone – from fish to pasta, steak to hamburger. They also offer an attractive business menu served between 12:00 and 18:00. While the majority of restaurants in Tel Aviv close after a year or two, Pastis recently celebrated 7 years of business marking it as an institution on the restaurant scene. Rightly so.
73 Rotshild Avenue , Tel Aviv