Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A walk in Tel Aviv, lunch at Armando

I had a lovely day today with my guest. We began by heading through Shuk HaCarmel, the crowded outdoor market in the center of Tel Aviv. Next door to the shuk is an area packed with fabric, notions, and trimmings stores, were there is a large arts and crafts fair held every Tuesday and Friday. When our tummies got bored of fabric and crafts, we headed down Allenby Street and made a right on the Tayelet, the promenade along the beach. It was worth the walk!

I'm a sucker for all you can eat salad spreads. At Armando, included in the price of an entree are 16 salads, bread, and a surprise bowl of fruit for dessert. Yes, I said sixteen!

Upon our waiter's recommendation, I ordered the European Sea Bass baked in rock salt (no, it's not salty!) and my friend got grilled Seabream. Both fish were delicious, fresh, moist, and tasty. However, the "architecture" of my baked bass was easier to navigate. It can take a little practice to navigate a whole fish. (For a tour, watch five and a half minutes into the first video on Fish: Dress, Bake, Eat.) Or take me out to lunch and I'll take out the bones for you; but I might use my fingers!

I'm glad we sat at a table for four, or we never could have fit all that food. The waiter placed the potatoes right on top of the other salads!

Below: Clockwise from top left, spicy carrots, roasted red peppers, shredded beets, eggplant (with other veggies or something, really yummy), spicy cooked beets, and shredded carrots.

    Above: cabbage slaw (like fresh sauerkraut), eggplant with mayonnaise (baba ghanoush in Arabic), foul marinated fava beans, cauliflower (my surprise favorite of the bunch), preserved lemons (really interesting, but a little hot for me), and yams (I think).

    Lunch also included grilled eggplant with tehina (a classic, but a bit too much raw garlic for me), green salad, roasted potatoes, a basket of bread, and melon, grapes, and persimmon for dessert!

    Just some little criticisms: I wish you could eat outside with no smoking. The restaurant is just across the street from the beach.  Unfortunately, I actually had to rush out at the end of our meal because an employee's smoke was wafting in. The bread wasn't great; I would go as far as to say stale. The service was relatively good for Israel. However, they added 14% gratuity right onto the bill. (We misread and thought they only added about 4%, so we left more! Oh well.)

    We both got a nice fresh lemonade. There is also an extensive drink menu, starters, meats, and dessert. However, each person who doesn't order an "entree" pays ₪ 39 (about $10 US) to take part in the all you can eat house salads and bread.

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