Good Eats

Olive Leaf @ Tel Aviv

The Olive Leaf is the elegant restaurant in the Sheraton Tel-Aviv and Tower Hotel. This is a marvelous upscale dining experience where you will enjoy a delightful ambiance, professional service and delicious food.

This is the Sheraton Hotel’s gourmet restaurant, presided over by chef Charlie Fadida. He has created a menu marked by Mediterranean influences: It uses of the Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish and Greek cuisines, along with those of Italy, France, Spain and Morocco, all executed with precision.

The place has an aged feel, seemingly seen better days, with tired carpeting and a tired wood-and-blue theme. It needed a major rework. The saving grace? A large window overlooking the Tel Aviv promenade at one end, which in the evening was totally useless for me as there’s nothing to see in the pitch dark.

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Local beer, not good

The Olive Leaf caters both to guests of the hotel and to outside diners. With its international clientele, the menu is presented in both Hebrew and error-free English. The menu offers every major kosher meat group, as well as fish and vegetarian options. Because there’s meat, nothing contains dairy so if you are lactose intolerant, you will be save. What ties them all together is the seasonality, which dictates how each ingredient is prepared. The tasty dishes are complemented by a good selection of Israeli wines, kosher of course.

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Fresh bread with condiments

Without prompting, I was presented with today’s bread, a hearty soft white bread with a crispy crust accompanied by a cilantro pesto, some salted olives and a garlic confit. Remember, they serve meat and they are kosher, so no butter. You can get margarine but that’s unhealthy.

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Cilantro pesto on warm bread

After nibbling on some bread with the cilantro pesto, the waiter came back to take my order for the dinner, no rush, take your own time. After spending a whole morning walking around Jerusalem, I was ready for a big meal.

Amuse Bouche

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Amuse Bouche

Amuse bouche is a very charming tradition of fine dining restaurants, and Olive Leaf’s hors d’oeuvre was a nice touch of the Middle East, even though I think it was not exactly a “tiny bite”.

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Salad

A nice little bowl of the best of the agriculture of Israel has to offer. For a nation that’s mostly desert and arid, they have a thriving fruit and vegetable industry that produce some of the best tomatoes and lettuce I have tasted. And of course, Israeli EVOO, so beautiful with anything and everything.

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Lamb shawarma bread stick

Shawarma is a dish in Middle Eastern cuisine consisting of meat cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. The delicious grilled lamb was wrapped in a bread sticks to become a savoury bun. Wonderful.

“Bouillabaisse”

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“Bouillabaisse”

No cream of mushroom or other dairy-based soup, this is a refined bouillabaisse with monkfish. Again, no shellfish allowed, so it was entirely cooked with fish.

Main Course

Before the main course of medium rare beef fillet came, I was given MORE bread. The waiter explained that everyone was given two types of bread to try but they could not get the second one out in time, so they served it with the main course.

Served with pumpkin mash, sautéed spinach with garlic and a couple of stick of asparagus (more like a plating decoration than part of the meal), the steak was a bit too red for my liking. But then, medium rare has always been a Russian roulette in most steakhouses. If you are in Texas, most like the cow is still mooing. So I decided not to send it back. Luck for me, it was a fantastic cut of meat, very juicy and tender.

Afterwards

It has impeccable service. But I was wondering why it was almost empty. It’s a Saturday, and I was the only diner. The waiter explained with his limited English to say its family day. Nevertheless, they pulled all the stops to make sure I have a great dinner.

Olive Leaf Restaurant at the Sheraton Tel-Aviv and Tower Hotel
115 Hayarkon St., Tel-Aviv, Israel
Tel : 03- 521 9300

https://www.facebook.com/oliveLeafRestaurant/?rf=319786384739636

Date Visited : May 2014

PS: Here’s the new look Olive Leaf in morning light in 2018 – modern, updated, cheery. And instead of Kosher Italian, it has change its cuisine to Kosher French. I look forward to visit it again.

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