- So, Italian tonight?
- Sure, make some pizza at home?
- No, let's go out
- What, now? All the way to Tel Aviv?
- But there's a good Italian place in Yavneh!
So we drove to Portabelo that recently celebrated 10 years of business at a small shopping center in Yavneh. It has plenty of parking spaces, one minute off the highway, and a kosher dairy menu that includes pasta dishes, homemade bread, soups and salads. The menu also offers quiches, lasagnas and other kinds of take away food for weekends or home parties.
We took our sit inside, where owner Dima shared some crucial information: all pasta dishes including various kinds of sauces, breads and even desserts are made on the premises. He then suggested we start out with ciabatta with butter and garlic that was served very hot. With a rich texture and accented garlic flavors, it fitted perfectly with the cream cheese and homemade pesto that were served with it; we finished those out quickly.
For starters we ordered stir-fried mushrooms in wine – a generous amount of champignons that were sautéed in olive oil, walnuts and red wine, and then garnished with parsley. The mushrooms received the heat and flavors of the sauce while beautifully keeping to their texture.
Some more vegetables: a salad comprised of lettuce, champignon mushrooms, walnuts, thin sprouts, peppers, black olives, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and roasted sweet potato cubes. At first we thought it was nothing to be excited about, but then we tasted the homemade (of course) dressings: rich vinaigrette, thousand islands and an amazing garlic-dill. Although this dish was generous too, we nevertheless continued to our main courses.
It was time for Pizza Spinaci. You don't get to see many cream based pizzas in Israel, in fact, most times it seems as though tomatoes are mandatory here. Not this time. We got a lot of rich cream sauce with mozzarella cheese and spinach, wonderful indeed.
Ravioli with Puttanesca sauce finished this round of dishes. Dima warned us about the anchovies: "you either like them or you don't". But we loved the ravioli that was made of great dough and came with 3 kinds of fillings – spinach, sweet potatoes and cheese – laid in good tomato sauce with black olives, onions, anchovies and spice herbs. Good news for anchovy haters – they come as fillets that you can easily avoid. With or without them, I recommend this dish.
We shared brownies for dessert. The rich cake was made of 3 kinds of Belgian and Swiss chocolate ("the chef does not settle for anything less", said Dima) and nuts. This comes with banana ice cream that balances the strong chocolate flavor, and mountains of whipped cream decorated with roasted coconut chips.
All that was left was to head back to our car, get home and just lay down. Can you ask for anything more?