It’s all too often that we find ourselves dragging on with the daily tasks of everyday life without making any time for the more important things. This week I decided to make a change and made some time to take my dear mother out for dinner, for some girl talk and quality time just for the two of us. Choosing Mifgashim was only natural because of the central location and also because the restaurant holds a special place in our hearts due to the numerous family celebrations we’ve had here.
A few minutes from the bustle of Tel Aviv, Mifgashim has been with us since 1984. Mifgashim, a kosher restaurant, is open during the week and on Friday until the Sabbath. Events are held on the upper level, offering an extremely varied menu, eclectic clientele and prices to suit one and all. We came around dusk and my mother determinedly led me to a table near the aquarium in the centre of the restaurant – looking at fish relaxes her. The folks surrounding us made us feel secure – on one side of us sat a table of soldiers who had come for lunch from their nearby base and on the other side a table of doctors celebrating a birthday.
Usually when I come to a restaurant of the Middle Eastern-Mediterranean variety I feel like everything will be the same, with the food arriving in the traditional order: salads, pitas, hummus, chips and a skewer of spring chicken or chicken livers. But when I checked out the menu, I realized I was mistaken: though on first glance the contents seem Middle Eastern, a second more thoughtful examination reveals dishes not typical of a Middle Eastern menu, like grilled fish and steak, a selection of unique home cooked dishes, grilled sea bream in herb and olive oil sauce, veal brisket roasted in the oven accompanied by vegetables and more.
We nevertheless decided to start with the classic salad selection – hot fresh pitas with quality hummus to whet the appetite. Along with the pita and hummus basics there was also tabouleh salad, Turkish salad, Greek-style eggplant salad with vegetables, spicy salsa sauce, eggplant in tehina, stuffed zucchini and warm fried mushrooms and onions. When my mother asked them to refill the salad plates again and again I tried to quietly remind her that she’d mentioned she wasn’t all that hungry…
For our main dishes we tried Mifgashim’s unique specialties. Mum, who order the oven roasted goose thigh and leg in plum sauce, described the sauce as slightly sweet and with a delicate flavour of date honey which combined beautifully with the soft meat. I ordered the chateaubriand of beef filet with a piece of goose liver, which was so delicious I can still remember its exact taste. The dish was constructed of a series of layers: toasted bread, then the beef filet, then the goose liver – soft like only goose liver can be and on the tippy top – a mushroom. After trying to decide where to begin, I decided to go with a small bites strategy while praying this goodness would never end.
When I did finally finish it, we left with big smiles on our faces and barely able to walk. We considered walking home to aid the digestion, and maybe manage to fit in a bit of conversation. With all that eating, we hadn’t managed to get a word of girl talk in edgewise.
2 Aharon Katzir, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan