Afternoons at Cafe Barnash

"The atmosphere is friendly: guests that the Barnash staff does not yet know are greeted with friendly smiles, and those familiar faces that arrive with their dogs are quickly offered a filled water dish…" Orit Itzik at Cafe Barnash in Tel Aviv

Without a shadow of a doubt this is neither only a bar nor only a restaurant. Cafe Barnash is definitely a coffee shop, but from a new uniquely Tel Aviv species of coffee shop. Influenced directly from the coffee shops and restaurants in Europe, Cafe Barnash brings its gospel to the most unholy city in the holy land. The belief (and the magic) that the young Barnash, located on Bograshov right on the way to the sea, brings is that if you have a drink with your lunch (or dinner or weekend meal), your day will pass in a more pleasant manner. Ok, this will not solve all the problems in the middle east, but at least you will be more relaxed in connection to them. Thus you can, with happiness and revelry in the words of the menu at Barnash, improve your lunch (which is on the cheap side anyway) with a beer from the tap or a glass of Cava for only 10 NIS or a glass of white or red wine for only 15 NIS. To me this sounds like a fantastic idea!

Shevach and I arrive to Barnash in the afternoon hours, a nice time to grab an early dinner and have a bit to drink. No reason not to! Thus we begin with a few sips of the frozen margaritas, fruity, sweet and sour, and thirst-quenching, opening our taste buds properly for the evening's meal as well as an important session of chatting about world issues and the like. Shevach has to buy shoes and this is not a laughing matter at all.

For appetizers we sample from the "Bar-Noshim" menu (a play on the Yiddish word "nosh," snacking, offering smaller sized portions though certainly no smaller in character): fried cauliflower served with cured lemons. The lemon erases the memory of the frying and turns this dish to fantastic, motivating us to completely finishing our portion. On to our second "Bar-Nosh," bacon-wrapped asparagus on a bed of baby greens, definitely bringing us straight over to Europe. The bacon is crispy as well as the asparagus, a spectacular dish with beer or wine I think to myself.

We rested another bit on the comfortable sofas pondering the people sitting at the tables just outside the window of Cafe Barnash - those that the hands of the air-conditioning do not reach. The atmosphere is friendly: guests that the Barnash staff does not yet know are greeted with friendly smiles, and those familiar faces that arrive with their dogs are quickly offered a filled water dish. Our entrees soon arrived. One is Green Shakshuka, prepared at Cafe Barnash with a mix of creamy cheese, spinach, basil, green onion, a bit of cilantro (even those that do not love cilantro will miss its subtle presence) and two eggs, of course, served served surprisingly in the shape of bread slices. All this wonderful green feels like the new and interestingly building style of traditional red shakshuka - who says you have to stick to the rules of tradition?

Our other entree, that excited from Shevach squeaks of rejoicing, was "Ellen's Sausages." We will start with the mashed potatoes, homemade, neither oily nor runny - simply potatoes cooked, mashed and spiced just right. On to the sausages: The reddish Toulouse offered delights and surprises, such as bits of Pecorino cheese melted during the cooking, breaking up the taste and bringing out its meaty best. The German Bratwurst was typical, rich and excelling in the breadth of its delicately spicy taste. On top of it all ‫was a pile of pickled cabbage, crispy fried onion and spicy thick mustard‬ and served with a finely chopped salad. It is unnecessary to not that we completely cleaned our plates.

Filled to the brim, we left Cafe Barnash and promised to return to enjoy more of this loveliness at the weekend. Certainly we will come back to try one of the 12 breakfast selections offered here daily. Maybe also we will come to taste their infamous hamburger? And maybe, we will just come for a drink, as there are always deals. Definitely, though, we will come back.