Mid May in Tel Aviv is my idea of heaven. The temperature hovers around the mid-twenties, the sun is always shining and the still-clean and cool Mediterranean Sea sparkles invitingly. What more perfect activity could there be than gazing out at the sand, sky-high palm trees and last-ditch sun worshippers as the sun lazily sets?
And that’s just what we did one Thursday evening over at Gordo, a sprawling, laid back fish and seafood spot at Gordon Beach. We were told that Thursday night was worth checking out due to the live Brazilian Band, and to be sure to come around 7pm, so as not to miss the main event.
Arriving right on time, the sun was just starting to glow pinkish as we sipped our cocktails – strawberry sorbet with Malibu rum for me, mango for Idan. We sat back into our comfortable cushioned sofa and started toasting: to you, to me, to the sunset, the relaxing rhythms of the Brazilian band, and most of all, to this fabulous feeling of holiday that a sea breeze and umbrella bearing cocktail inspires.
Breathing in the appetite inducing sea air, we realized it was time to order some dinner. We started with the appetizer platter consisting of excellent spreads (ikra, thick creamy labane, and tuna), smoky chunks of eggplant, grilled anti-pasti and mullet ceviche topped with sunflower sprouts (a local favourite). With the appetizer platter came thick slices of fresh house-baked bread. We also enjoyed a starter portion of shrimp in butter with thin sheets of black pasta.
The sun set just as we were polishing off the starters and it was starting to get a bit chilly. To our delight, the hostess started making the rounds with fleece blankets for all. We both accepted the cozy offering and snuggled contentedly while awaiting the main course.
Though Gordo is a self described fish and seafood restaurant, there is, in fact, a meat section of the menu with an impressive selection of dishes for landlubbers. To mix it up a little, we chose the entrecote steak and a fish special off the new light and bright summer menu.
The special, 2 corvina filets stuffed with sundried tomato spread and accompanied by green beans, onions and mashed potatoes, was not only extremely generous in size, but was well prepared (the tender fish was perfectly cooked) and quite tasty. The steak, though not the best in Tel Aviv, was, again, cooked perfectly (an impressive medium rare), wonderfully flavourful, and accompanied by a red wine and shallot sauce and the same generous helping of the mashed potatoes.
What a night! The Gordo beach experience had just about convinced us that I was actually on vacation and instead of heading back down Gordon Street to our apartment, we must instead go up to our hotel room at the Sheraton or the Renaissance where my bikini would be drying and we’d find our open suitcase on the carpeted floor.
Before heading back to reality, Idan and I topped off the night with a little pot of chocolate soufflé. A shot of espresso, little glass of soda water and deep breath later, we were ready to head back to reality. It wasn’t so hard actually, because, when you live in Tel Aviv, just a short distance from the likes of Gordo on the sea, reality is not all that bad.
Herbert Saumuel Boardwalk, Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv