Saturday, August 13, 2016

WHALE in Eilat, Israel is a wonderful whale of a meal whether you call it Whale or Leviathan (8-11-16)

We came back from Petra after a full day trip completely exhausted. We had purposely chosen the restaurant Coldwell which was located in our hotel as we understood it. Nobody seems to know where it was and we find discovered that it was a separate restaurant located at a private entrance on the side of the hotel because it was not kosher like the hotel. We were happy once we found it though and escape the heat and our server Tal brought us two Campari and tonics to cool us off. He was probably the best server we have had so far all the most of them have been charming and helpful throughout our entire visit.
The menu was fascinating and we asked him for suggestions and Samuel decided to have a bib lettuce with parmesan panko bacon and aioli that was really a fabulous Caesar style salad.  Will and I decided to split the appetizer of stone bass ceviche which was in a chilled cucumber soup with yogurt that was more like a gazpacho and topped with salmon roe, radish, tomato, smoked paprika, olive oil and shoots.  The fish was super quality sushi and the entire dish was really so refreshing we were grateful. The other starter that we split was suggested by our server and was an octopus tentacle confit in olive oil that was deep fried with a roast pepper "nero" sauce, toasted almond, Spanish paprika, lime and parsley that really was amazing.
We ordered a bottle of Shvo Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from the upper Galilee  that went perfectly with the fish dishes we ordered. 
Will chose the salmon with tapioca, pistou (pesto) vinaigrette, artichokes, kale, asparagus, zucchini and a butter sauce and I had the grouper in a red pepper salsa with almonds, parsley, lemon, garlic, and tons of crab sprinkled on top. Both dishes were really amazing and delicious but we could not possibly eat anymore.
Samuel went the meat route as he won't eat seafood anymore with a filet of veal and garlic and herb mashed potatoes crispy shallots on top and veal jus that seem to disappear faster than you could snap your fingers.
 We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet chef Leor Rafael who came out to welcome us at the end of the meal and also give me an email contact for a food critic in Tel Aviv that might make some other suggestions for our future dining. 
As we left the place was filling up a bit but we couldn't help feeling horrible that tourism here is so low even though it's 105 degrees everyday and the beaches are crammed the restaurants do seem empty at night.
If you have to come to Eilat make sure you put this on your itinerary as it's a whale of a spot whether you call it Whale restaurant or Leviathan,  which is actually the Hebrew word for whale.