Celebrating the "Sylvester" from the Delicious Side

The traditional New Year's Eve Celebration: a fantastic meal! What are restaurants doing to prepare from their side? Orit Itzik profiles pre-fixe and special menu highlights from some of Israel's finest gourmet restaurants.

It is hard to turn one's back on the classic New Year's Eve (aka. Sylvester) Celebration: a great meal in a nice restaurant. The atmosphere - intimate; the music - just as you like it; the dishes - praiseworthy and precise; the service - spectacular… and all become positive symbols for the coming new year! But how do they do it from the "other side?" Many restaurants understand just how to offer you the perfect New Year's Eve meal. We have gathered a few of the finest options for your reading, and maybe eating, pleasure.


Pushkin in Tel Aviv is offering a New Year's Eve with seven musicians, nine dishes, a selections of house wines and vodkas and a special New Year's Menu from Chef Gilad Peled for 1,250NIS per patron. The new year opens with specials inspired by the traditional French kitchen, starting with vodka and wine pairings and moving towards champagne around midnight.

Some highlights from the 2011 Sylvester menu include: Crab shu-froid and Japanese octopus carpaccio, pepper extract, Rabbit with basil coolis, white bean fricassé in rabbit vinaigrette, blue lobster and San Jacques scallop "rossini," grilled violet artichokes, curled Chervil fish and black caviar, goose consommé tortellini, root vegetables, winter fruits with citrus zests, rogue in saffron and bouillabaisse, Bourgignon-style short ribs with truffle mashed potatoes in red wine sauce, coconut panne-cotta with white chocolate and mango creme, sugared olives, piña colada mousse and black forest cake 2011. Feast begins at 9p.m. on New Year's Eve.

Mul Yam (Sea Food Center):

Chef Yoram Nitzan and the staff at Mul Yam, praised in Israel and around the world, appear to be continuing to look forward and relate to the Sylvester celebration as another challenge for the restaurant to expand its clientele and attract more visitors. Their "flagship meal" will be yet another spectacle, on the technical level, on the level of the raw ingredients involved and to what extent it challenges the kitchen staff to reach new heights and achieve new goals. For them, the essence of the new year is directly proportional to the tastiness of a dish. The meal includes ten dishes and three desserts, one of which diners will take home with them to continue their Sylvester celebration through the 1st of January 2011. Cost of the meal: 1,000NIS per patron.

Some menu highlights this year are: Baltic gravlox, crispy avocado, cubes of pheasant with black truffle matches, San Jacques scallop tartar with yellow chanterelle mushrooms in green pea cappuccino, Akko shrimp in a shellfish glaze served on tomato gazpacho, mojito mousse and citrus marshmallows, strawberry "moped" with lemon ganache and "mini-ardis" to eat the day after.


Chef Meir Admoni's restaurant, Katit, offers a New Year's Eve menu exemplifying their original combination of the traditional European kitchen with influences from Israel and the Mediterranean. The meal is offered for 2011NIS per couple.

Some highlights from the Sylvester 2011 menu: "Jilardo" in tarragon brulée - tapioca pearls and Austrian caviar; Alaska king crab - green lava bean crème, poached quail eggs and fresh winter herb bruscetta; goose liver terrine - British lobster; Sauternes gel, apple confit and cider creme; seared sweetbreads with citrus essence and porcini mushroom cannelloni; gruyere cheese crème, almond croquette in carmel and sea salt with veal port wine broth; baby lamb ribs with blackened onions - slow cooked lamb, Australian black garlic, "Rata" potato creme and argan oil; boutique cheeses from the Kornmel Dairy, apple marmalade and thyme. The price of the meal includes a bottle of champagne from the Rodrer winery and other cold and warm beverages as well.


Chloély's fish and seafood restaurant, in the city center of Ramat Gan, is offering a New Year's Eve menu, as on regular days, with a large wine selection and featuring Israeli culinary specialties. There is also a Sylvester pre-fixe menu for 690NIS per patron.

Some of the Sylvester menu items, prepared by Chef Victor Gluger, include: Fish Balls with "chap" soup (red and jalepeño peppers); Foie gras terrine stuffed with quince jam and covered with a pistachio crust, served with a glass of Gwerstermeyner dessert wine; New Zealand lamb ribs, slow-cooked with "fumé almondine" in truffle oil, served in lamb broth and other treats.


Restaurant-Bistro Rafael, under the supervision of Chef Rafi Cohen, offers a celebratory menu for the Sylvester with each item individually priced. Champagne will be distributed to all guests at the end of their meal, not only at midnight, to encourage enjoyment with dining even before the final count down to the New Year.

Some of the dishes offered on Rafael's Sylvester 2011 menu are: British Isle oysters on ice (28NIS per piece); Red Salad with endive lettuce and crème fraîche in a hazelnut, honey and citrus vinaigrette (65NIS); pumpkin chestnut soup with fresh black truffles and Parmesan cheese foam (95NIS); purple calamari from the Mediterranean Sea cooked à la plancha with eggplant and peppers and tomato salad (110NIS); lamb shoulder couscous with winter vegetables, chick peas and "Maghreb" spices (98NIS); "Chateau Briand" for two made from beef filet with pearl onions, bone marrow and red wine (325NIS).


This restaurant, with Chef Ezra Kedem, on Agrippas Street in Jerusalem, is considered one of the finest gourmet restaurants in Israel. They offer a romantic and solid atmosphere and a wood burning oven for warmth. On New Year's Eve, a full meal with some adjustments from the regular menu, will be offered, including starters, antipasti and breads, entrees and, of course, dessert. Price per patron is 330NIS.

Some of the features on the Sylvester 2011 menu are: Arcadia's famous eggplant carpaccio; tehini yoghurt with turmeric oil; eggplant caviar; aea platter with gnocchi, Mediterranean Sea shrimp and tomatoes in "Buterga" (dried fish eggs); bowl of Upper Galilee caviar (not included in price of the meal); grill-roasted drum fish in butter za'atar (hyssop and sesame seeds) sauce with pickled lemons, capers and sea asparagus; fry-pan with "everything good from the sea" in a tomato sauce with lemon, garlic, parsley and olive oil; lamb saddle for a couple, roasted with damp bay-laurel leaves, whole-grain risotto and garlic confit; butcher's select cuts with white root vegetable foam in red wine sauce; kadayef with ‫quince jam, cardamon and organic citrus soup; chocolate ravioli‬


Dreams of champagne, truffles and caviar turn into reality on New Year's Eve. Chef Nir Tsuk concocts an indulgent meal out of eight special dishes: caviar hors d'ouvres, chestnut soup, lentil salad with goose liver, gnocchi with Bargianno truffles, sea fish in slightly sour sauce, beef filet 2011, cooled Zabaglione with champagne and pralines. Price per patron: 295NIS


This gourmet restaurant will open the secular new year with a romantic candlelight meal. On Thursday December 30th and on Shabbat, January 1, loads of candles will be scattered throughout the restaurant. In their soft light, a celebratory meal in honor of the new year will be served, designed specially by Chef Yankale Turgemon. Price of meal: 420NIS per couple

Some of the special items on the menu include: seared goose liver caramelized in port wine; plum and red wine cream with vanilla, apple, ginger and gin granita; "Ras Al Chanut" sweetbreads with onion crème and green lava beans in a seared pepper sauce; 18-day-aged entrecôte with fire-roasted potatoes; fresh herb aioli with bone marrow; beef filet confit with Jerusalem artichoke crème in a bone marrow and cabernet sauvignon sauce; Atlantic salmon filet with fennel crème and arak, chick peas, pickled lemons and a fennel and red grapefruit salad. In the spirit of the evening, a special dessert will be served - the flagship specialty from the famous New York establishment Jean Georges - a gift from the restaurant to all the evening's patrons. It involves strips of homemade marshmallows in three flavors - apricot, strawberry and Madagascar vanilla - wrapped and enveloped one inside the other in a wide glass jar and cut sideways, fresh at the table, for each diner to enjoy their piece.

May we have a delightful culinary New Year! Happy Sylvester 2011.