Approaching Gordo, I already felt this would not be the typical seaside restaurant. Nestled under the stairs leading to the boardwalk near Gordon Beach and just the other side from the sand, this restaurant offers a lovely seaside atmosphere...
Open from the mid-afternoon until the last customer, Gordo provides a vast tasty menu, an immense bar selection and a changing evening culture, from earlier on family dinners into the night of late night bar hoppers.
Orit and I were seated in the row of tables directly next to the boardwalk providing a perfect view of the sea and feel of the breeze. We sat on a couch with a low table and I noticed that the restaurant is enormous providing different sorts of eating arrangements, both indoors and outdoors. In the summer season, the entire bar is open air. In the winter, Gordo builds what our hostess called “Holland Windows” - glass walls essentially.
The menu is also a feature that changes with the season. In the summer, salads and fish dishes are the main attractions, though meat dishes are also readily abundant. In the winter, the cuisine turns more towards soups and stews to warm one up even in the mild Tel Aviv winters. The sunset is their main feature in all seasons as almost every table has a direct view of the sea.
Our meal began with a wonderful barrage of salads with a particular Gordo twist. We sampled two different types of ceviche: one of mullet fish with radish and turnip and the other of corvine fish with chili, zaatar, basil and pomegranate. The former provided a more citrus-like experience with the latter was an interesting mix of flavors with a surprisingly sweet marinade. In addition, we received a small roasted eggplant with roasted herbs, yoghurt and garlic, tehini, labane, tomato feta cheese salad and ikra (Balkan style dairy spread with fish eggs). The wonderful presence of roasted garlic in both the tehini and eggplant dishes made these two favorites for me personally. Orit also heartily enjoyed the abounding plate of mussels that she described as smokey with a not overly fishy taste and a wonderful hint of lemon and herbs. Salads are accompanied with Gordo’s fresh bread that was light and delicious.
We also sampled a few of Gordo’s special house drinks. Orit enjoyed a house special, the Subzero, a frozen vodka drink with pineapple and I samples the passion fruit ice drink. Both were perfect for a hot day and not too sweet, an issue with many mixed cocktails around this city. The bar is a feature at Gordo, as the late night crowd tends more towards that end of the sales spectrum. They offer a vast bar, fully stocked with many choices in every alcoholic category and, beyond our samplings, other house invented cocktails. We were told that each bartender makes up his/her own special cocktail to please Gordo’s party crowd.
The entrees arrived and offered another mix of tasty delights. Orit gave word that the chraimy (Moroccan spicy tomato fish dish), made with shrimp and calamari in place of the traditional white fish was delicious. I enjoyed the mullet fish filet, served on a bed of chickpeas, artichoke and Swiss chard leaves. The fish was grilled to perfection and melted in my mouth. The combination of different tastes in this dish - the fish a bit sweet, the artichoke a bit salty and the chard a bit bitter - made each bite slightly different from his predecessor and all quite enjoyable. We were also offered a juicy chef burger to try. Although we could barely fit a bite, this burger topped with grilled onions and mushrooms and a sunny-side up egg was certainly an intriguing treat.
At this point we cannot attest to having more room, but a Caesar salad arrived to accompany our entrees. Since salad helps with digestion, we had a sample. Other than the addition of tomatoes, this was a traditional Caesar. If you like the proper mix of strong anchovy and Parmesan cheese flavors with a salty finish, this is the salad for you.
As our evening came to an we enjoyed one last treat from Gordo: Chocolate Soufflé. This warm molten chocolate cake arrived next to a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The inside was gooey to perfecting, almost like pudding, and certainly closed our meal with a smile. Both vibe and meal were splendid: Gordo is certainly a pleasant protected corner to enjoy the beach throughout the coming winter!