Kimmel: one of Tel Aviv’s Finest

From the food to the decor, Kimmel lives by the saying, "Love is in the details." Shoshana Friedman and Lindsay Citerman visit this classic Tel Aviv establishment, quickly understanding why they have been around for so many years and recently expanded beyond the city!

From the food to the decor, Kimmel lives by the saying, "Love is in the details." The atmosphere has a cozy lodge feel with carefully selected vintage items to give the restaurant a sense of authenticity. The fusion of Israeli and French influences in the decoration is flawless. We especially noted the lighting that could work for a romantic evening or an intimate family affair. Lindsay especially loved the modern light fixtures hanging from thick tree branches.

The staff is attentive and the restaurant strives to provide their customers with a delicious and relaxing dining experience. Kimmel presents its food in a colorful, natural and tasteful way. The portions are plentiful and the flavors in each dish are balanced to a tee. We decided to go with a tasting menu so we could experience the variety this classic Tel Aviv establishment has to offer. Our tasting was excellently paired with the Spanish Castillo wine they offered us.

The appetizer course included so many dishes we could hardly count. One of the salads, the village salad, has the simple premise of vegetables and cheese yet it is taken to a higher level by the creamy dressing, perfectly prepared croutons and notably fresh seasonal vegetables. Shoshana loved this while Lindsay particular enjoyed the beet salad with pine-nuts, warmed St. Mor cheese and fresh herbs in a dressing of pomegranate concentrate. In addition, steaming fresh bread arrived covered in fresh herbs and coarse sea salt. Made on the premises, this delicious aromatic bread is dangerously seductive to devour, arriving with butter, olive tapenade and fresh herbed olives.

More dishes arrived and we happily sampled each one. Shoshana especially enjoyed the goat cheese ravioli in cream with sweet potato, mushrooms and sage. Although one would think this a heavy dish, its flavors are so delicately intertwined that they do not overpower one another. A mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese and spinach was a complement to its intense garlic flavor. Lindsay chose the salmon carpaccio as a favorite. Presented on a long dish with amazingly soft roasted garlic, asparagus, olive oil coarse salt and a touch of balsamic vinegar, this dish was fresh and delicious.

On to some of the meats, we enjoyed the veal sweetbreads with roasted eggplant and a salsa of tomatoes, chickpeas and spicy peppers. The eggplant was both crispy and soft, accompanying the chewy perfectly prepared meat and joined with peppers to provide a bit of a kick. The Portobello mushrooms with foie gras and a red wine reduction sauce had a woody taste and a nice mix of bitter and slightly sweet.

The entrees arrived providing another wave of flavor mixes and delights. It is clear that Kimmel strives to use fresh local ingredients accentuating their natural flavors in each dish. Of the entrees, Lindsay had two favorites: goose breast with figs and the sirloin with chestnuts in a wine reduction. The former had a wonderful pepper flavor with a hint of anise and, as for the latter, one can only say that this restaurant knows their meat and the ingredients to properly enhance its flavor. Shoshana was surprised that her favorite was the salmon, arriving on a bed of mashed potatoes with walnuts and a Roquefort cheese sauce. Being not a fish person, the melt-in-your-mouth texture was a main factor of her enjoyment, especially, she noted, in combination with the walnut crunch.

With the evening winding down, we sampled two of Kimmel’s delicious desserts: cheesecake with a forest berry sauce and chocolate fingers with vanilla cream. The sourness of the berries was a nice combination with the light and fluffy not-too-sweet cheesecake. The chocolate fingers had a crunchy bottom and a dash of vanilla cream on top. They were beautifully presented and served in small portions, helpful because it was very rich.

All in all our evening was incredibly delicious and we enjoyed trying out all the different dishes. We understand that Kimmel has recently opened in the Gilboa offering a similar though a bit more local menu. We fully recommend both locations for a delectable dining experience in a lovely atmosphere.