by Sybil Kaplan
Photographs by Barry A. Kaplan
Derech Hebron 101
Phone -- 02 566-4466
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. (for Business Lunch); 5 p.m. -- 11 p.m. for dinner; Friday day and Saturday evening - closed but plan to open in the future
Kashrut - Rabbanut Yerushalayim
If you are looking for a great place to eat Mediterranean/Israeli gourmet food, a nice
atmosphere, outstanding service, an easy place to park and an all-around nice dining experience that won't stretch your budget, look no further.
Take the expertise of the high-end, meat restaurant, Ha Chatzer, make its chef Motti Ohana (graduate of Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, over 13 years experience in the field of gastronomy) co-owner with Moshe Cohen and now chef of Medita, and you have the answer.
Add the knowledge and friendliness of manager, Johanna Allia, and sit back and enjoy.
Medita (short for Mediterranean) opened in June 2014 with a contemporary, glassed-in décor. After coming through the glass entryway, the open, very clean-cut, organized kitchen is to the right side, with a large taboon (oven) extending from the kitchen through to the bar area. There are 12 places on bar stools at the bar and seating for 12 at tables opposite. A little further back, a serving station bisects the main dining room which can seat 80.
Beyond is the glass wall to a private room which can seat up to 100.
Black and natural wood tables with black chairs are used throughout.
The menu is unique. Chef Motti Ohana intentionally did not divide it into sections so everyone at a table would share and taste a number of different foods.
Technically there are 13 appetizers, 3 fish, 3 poultry, 7 others with meat and a daily "Specials" menu. There is also an extensive separate beverage menu with liquors, liqueurs, wines, cocktails and some soft drinks.
For NIS 180 each, members at a table can experience a "tasting menu"--focaccia and dips, 4-5 kinds of fish, 4-5 kinds of meat, stew, a platter of meats and dessert, but each person at the table must order this.
In the absence of Chef Motti Ohana, on the night we were there, we were treated by Sous Chef Ohad Ben Hamo.
Because we were sampling a number of dishes, we have indicated in the photographs and text whether these were full size or sample sizes.
And what a treat we had! Homemade focaccia in a loaf, made in the taboon, with sea salt and rosemary on top and six dips came to us first. The dips included: lemon pickled tchina, pesto, olives, olive oil with balsamic vinegar, creamed eggplant with a slightly smokey taste and a pickled vegetable salad. These sometimes are complimentary, depending on the customer's order, or are NIS 18 and NIS 32.
A full-size salad of greens (NIS 28) had toasted almonds, lemon segments, red onions, pomegranate seeds, and green onions and was a nice blend of flavors.
The sample fish carpaccio (NIS 48) was subtle and delicate in its fish taste and was accompanied by artichoke, pickled mushrooms, tomatoes and macadamia nuts.
Another really healthy starter with a very subtle fish taste was the hot sample of filet sea bream in a macadamia crust (NIS 78) with tahini on top, quinoa and garnished with dried cranberries.
From the daily "Specials" menu came a sample of roasted salmon filet (NIS 80) in a ceramic black bowl. Asian flavored, served with roasted Jerusalem artichokes and garnished with bean sprouts and pomegranate seeds, this was a salmon lovers delight.
A regular-size serving of slightly spicy sweetbreads cigars (NIS 54) from the "Specials" menu came with tchina dip and a spicy tomato salad.
Not knowing this was my favorite appetizer, next, and from the "Specials" menu, we were served a sample of the creamy and delicate tasting, absolutely delicious, chopped chicken and goose liver (NIS 48). It was served with toasted bread triangles and cherry tomato jam.
Moving into meat, served in a metal frying pan, and from the "Specials" menu was a sample of the merguez, a warmed, spicy sausage (NIS 48) with vegetables.
Larger than a sample but smaller than the regular size was the barbequed "Ha Chatzer" assado with orange sauce (NIS 82). (The assado is a cut of meat, similar to flanken or short ribs, behind the thigh) that is cooked with chili peppers and date honey in the sauce for at least six hours. It was garnished with pomegranate seeds.
Not on the menu, the chef topped off our evening with a variety of samples on a cutting board including beef filet, entrecote, skewered lamb, pargiot (baby chicken) and roasted vegetables. Individually, on the menu, one could order the entrecote with fries for NIS 94; the pargiot for NIS 60; or a fillet of beef on the "Specials" menu with goose liver on top for NIS 140.
Manager Johanna would not let us slip out without at least looking at the dessert menu which has seven desserts from NIS 30 NIS 36. It included chocolate cake, sorbet, vanilla ice cream, apple crumble, chocolate mousse, pear tart, and the one we shared, toffee tart--toffee cream, salted peanuts, and chocolate ganache (NIS 36).
Very satisfied, very pleased with a relaxed atmosphere, attended by knowledgeable wait staff, we left assuring Johanna, we would be returning and would be telling others it is a great place to eat.
This is an off-the-beaten-track location, across the path from Hollandia and Bank Hapoalim, in the new strip mall, next to Roladin, in North Talpiot.