It is a kind of Greek tavern translated into spoken Hebrew, with some influences from Asia
Kalimera at the Jaffa port is a fun place: simply and warmly designed, serving unpretentious food, especially seafood, with fair prices, friendly service and a happy soundtrack. It is a kind of Greek tavern translated into spoken Hebrew, with some influences from Asia, which is where founder chef Shachaf Shabtay apprenticed. Until not too long ago the Kalimera stuck to a friendly concept of dishes sharing, but with the winter sort of coming, the traditional division was reinstated.
My friend Lior and I decide to divide forces: as he deals with the seafood, I handle the fish. But before we do, we share leaven bread, which is served with crispy Taramasalata, a sour tzaziki, grilled peppers and Thasos olives. From here on it is each to their own food and beer – Pale Ale Malka (local boutique brewery) for him and a Weihenstephan for me.
I use two testing principles for my Ceviche: one is the fish quality and the other is how it relates to the other ingredients. Kalimera's ceviche passes both tests: this is a generous amount of very fresh corvina fish, and the rest of the salad ingredients and spicing are only there for enforcement. Meanwhile, Lior tackles the Kalimera, which is the restaurant's flag dish that consists of calamari a-la-plancha, with a light scorched taste that corresponds with the eggplant cream grilling taste, and Labaneh cheese, both served with it.
Kalimera's main courses include a meat section with promised hits such as lamb kebab, burger and entrecote, but we are not here for that. Fortunately, today's catch is my favorite fish, the sea-bass. It is served as simply as it gets: roasted a-la-plancha, with lemon-butter and baked potatoes. Basic and tasty. Lior, on the other hand, goes for a seafood mixture (You should know that Kalimera is a seafood importer). So, other than the usual mussel-shrimp-calamari trio, the mixture is fortified with whole crabs, clams, scallops and Alaskan king crab. He says it is as if all sea treasures were put in one platter.
We finish with a traditional Crème brûlée and a wonderful panna cotta, in which the usual vanilla-cream is replaced by a semi-Asian version of mango cream, with a splash of tapioca on top and a white chocolate page on the side. We join forces and finish it spoon by spoon.