This must be the stormiest winter in a decade, perfect season to meet up with a friend in Tel Aviv's Shila restaurant. I was absolutely sure parking space would not be a problem in such a cold night, but no. After a 20 minute search, we made an executive decision to stop at the Riding parking area. 3 minutes into our walk from the car towards the restaurant, we were caught in the rain. Next time we'll just use Shila's parking service for NIS35.
There is no sign directing towards Shila. It is the kind of place in Tel Aviv that you either know or not. But we do, and we come here every once in a while. This time we took a sit on the bar, next to the open kitchen, where we could see the staff preparing impressive servings.
As always, we chose to focus on fish and seafood, but we opened with wine. Shila presents an impressive wine list, featuring Israeli and imported brands, most of which are served in glasses, carafes or bottles. We ordered a carafe of local Viognier and the house focaccia, which is served with a dip of peppers, and pickled cabbage saucer with carrots and celery. We smartly decided to keep most of the focaccia for the interesting sauces that were yet to come.
For starters, Shila has an a la plancha menu, priced in 100 gram gaps, as well as regular dishes. We had some of the NYE specials that the restaurant decided to keep: Amberjack fish portions with interesting spring rolls: chili pepper, tapioca, nigella and others. At first I did not believe this combination of flavors would work, but it definitely did. The variety of colors as well as the frontal arrangement by the staff near the bar contributed to the experience. The second starter was even better – an Amberjack fish tartar with nuts and onion wrapped with avocado and wasabi and green tobiko on the side – which turned out not to be spicy at all.
As we got to our main order, we took a turn to the West and ordered a midcourse of calamari with fresh pasta, broccoli and green peas, in a crab and butter sauce. Here we really used our focaccia, and the plate was cleaned in no time. With it we ordered 2 nice portions of mackerel in pickled lemons that were served on a fine tomato sauce with carrots and asparagus. It is so nice eating this fish when it is done well.
For dessert we had a great panna cotta and a dish called Bon Bon, which is a celebration of chocolate and whipped cream. After all of this we actually dared taking a walk in the Tel Aviv port, where we were caught in the rain again. As we continued our way to the car, soaked to the bone, we remembered the amberjack, the wasabi, the focaccia and the chocolate Bon Bon.