Only a few words written in yellow neon indicate that you have arrived at the right place, beside the EllátóHáz on Dob utca. At the new TLV Eatery, chef Gergely Bihari tells us about crazy nights in Tel Aviv, spices and anise heart strengtheners.
It is Friday night when we arrive at the TLV Eatery, just before dinnertime. We are in the most buzzing section of Dob utca with the Gozsdu Udvar, EllátóHáz, street-food places and wine bars all close by. From the outside, the place looks somewhat bigger, but stepping inside, it is homely, with the bar in focus. This style is familiar from somewhere: Vicky Barcelonanearby.
This is no coincidence as the owners are the same. They also own the Jardin cocktail bar, the Gozsdu Bistro and Lisboa. They are therefore not new to gastro, but have a lot of experience and harbour long-time ambitions. They are already planning their next venue – but for now, let’s focus on TLV.
After spending a few minutes inside, it seems the atmosphere is very similar to that of Vicky Barcelona – the crowd is international and friendly. Upon our visit, a Hungarian-Russian group of friends sit next to us, Israeli guests a few tables away and a Spanglish bunch by the bar.
We had barely sat down when we were served a little welcome shot. This is a nice move, showing the gastronomy and hospitality of Tel Aviv and Israel.
The chef de cuisine is Gergely Bihari, who left behind the world of fine dining for the slow-food crowd. He also used to work at Michelin-starred Onyx. This is now a new challenge, but quite a major one, as instead of strict top-quality, here he has to ‘feed from his heart’. Almost everything here is made on an open fire, from baba ganoush to lamb kebab.
During the development process, a field trip to Israel was involved; six lunches and four dinners a day, exploring old family recipes and wilder Tubi-fuelled parties. Gergely was really inspired but wanted to recreate the most authentic flavours possible. As the owners actually live in Tel Aviv, they could quality-control the hummus, the fish and the salads.
Prepare for a shared dipping dinner here with characteristic flavours. The menu is not too extensive, as classic dishes such as tabbouleh are missing, but this is because the chef will only make these when he can achieve the best possible quality.
Until then, there are tasty pastries from Lisboa – and they always come with a smattering of za’atar, the Levantine herbal condiment – as well as silky and citrusy hummus (1,290 forints). The baba ganoush (1,790 forints) is also perfect.
Grilled cauliflower (1,790 forints) and sweet potatoes baked to perfection (1,290 forints) also feature and, although we didn't try it, shakshuka (2,200 forints) is also on the menu, making vegetarians happy. The mackerel (1,890 forints/100g) is grilled with green herbs and lemon stuffed in its belly. It makes you feel like you're on the beach.
We tried the lamb kebab (3,200 forints), while the platter for two is a great option: the meaty version costs 7,600 forints, the vegetarian 7,100 forints, and they both contain the favourites from the menu. For dessert we had malabi (rosewater milk pudding) and brownie made with tahini.
Cocktails with a vodka, Tubi or arak base are also available, but if you’d rather go with a G&T, they can make that dream come true. הידד!
TLV Eatery District VII. Dob utca 19
Open: Daily 5pm-2am