we realized this was a Pizzicato night, which is held every first Monday of month, where small dishes are served to allow diners to try more of the restaurant's repertoire
"I haven't had a Tiramisu as good as this one in ages", my partner declared as we left RonniMotti. "It was a wonderful meal", he added. And it is a kind of miracle, because the long search for a parking space made us cranky, and as we finally sat down, we realized this was a Pizzicato night, which is held every first Monday of month, where small dishes are served to allow diners to try more of the restaurant's repertoire. It's just that my guy, and there's nothing I can do about it, he likes to have his meal in order: first course, main course and dessert, dessert in particular. But RonniMotti's embracing atmosphere, with the beautiful food and Chianti, made him forget all of his objections.
The story of RonniMotti's, which is named after owners Ronni and Motti, has been told before: the tiny deli in Ramat HaChayal that was turned into a restaurant in the center of Tel Aviv, before it was rebranded as La Repubblica di RonniMotti. But some things remained as they were: personal service, original interpretation of traditional dishes of the Italian cuisine and fresh produce, including homemade cheese and organic vegetables from the restaurant's own private garden. Everything is fresh, local and seasonal.
So what did we have? A line of dishes, all priced at about NIS40, each one taking you to a different direction. My guy focused mainly on meat and fish: cannelloni filled with veal meat, together with chicken liver in a reduced sauce of tomato and sage; Corvina fish fillet in a butter-sage-lemon sauce and a dish of Bresaola that was aged on the premises and marinated with salt and spices for 72 hours and then served with fresh green leaves, caramelized shallots and capers. He placed one piece after the other on warm sliced focaccia and nodded his head with pleasure.
In the meanwhile, I got acquainted with the fine produce of the garden in a dish of Insalata Verde, a fresh crispy green salad with snow peas, asparagus sprouts and green leaves, together with mint, homemade sweet cheese and a generous amount of roasted walnuts. This is a happy light dish that opened up my appetite for a dairy trio: first I had the thick creamy polenta, enriched with fresh corn and truffle puree, and poached egg yolk in the center and shaves of parmesan melting inside it, sharpening its tastes. The second dish, Bandiera, is a crispy coated fried mozzarella ball filled with spice herbs, in a thick tomato sauce, which created a red-green-white patriotic colors. The third one was the Malfetti, a dish of spinach dumplings in cheese and grilled pepper, even my guy, who hates spinach, claimed that he liked.
At this point we were really happy about this Pizzicato night, and turned to choose our desserts. The chestnut cream with pears in wine which I was curious about has unfortunately run out, but my second choice, delicate panna cotta, was beautifully decorated with caramel cream and coffee beans. The real hit, though, was the tiramisu, which rightfully earned its every praise: rich, sweet and soaked with espresso. The secret, we were told, is in the criminally fat mascarpone cheese, precise dosages that keep the cream airy yet steady, and a day or two of formalization. We were happy with the result.