Buza

Seven summer spots for great hot weather eating and drinking in Israel

Top places to enjoy cooling ice cream, refreshing beverages and special dishes for the hottest months of the year, whether in beach bars, pop-ups or restaurants with limited-time seasonal menus

Buzzy Gordon |
Published: 08.15.22, 11:13
This is the season of the year when we usually run a roundup of top places to enjoy cooling ice cream and frozen drinks. This year, we have expanded the choices, to encompass three beach bar-restaurants, two pop-ups and two limited-time summer menus, in addition to our traditional gelato parlor.
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  • Buza
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    Buza
    Buza
    Buza
    (Photo: Niv Smithline )
    The story of Buza goes beyond its five retail outlets, four of which are in the Galilee, with one in Tel Aviv. Buza – which means ice cream in Arabic – is a joint venture between Kibbutz Sasa and Maalot-Tarshiha restaurateur Alaa Sweetat, a Jewish-Arab partnership (since 2012) that the United Nations has recognized with an award for being a bridge to peace. Thus, the Italian gelato enterprise is even a stop for visiting Birthright tours.
    Buza ice cream, whose flavors are inspired by the tastes of the Galilee, is produced with all natural ingredients, and may be found also on the menus of select restaurants. The ice cream that leaves the factory is certified kosher, even though individual outlets that are open also on Shabbat cannot obtain local rabbinical seal of approvals.
    On any given day, Buza ice cream parlors will have 24 flavors on hand, including
    sugar-free and vegan options. There are both permanent fixtures (viz, French vanilla) and seasonal variations, since the fruit flavors – including such unusual ones as fig and sabras – must be as fresh as possible.
    The flavors that are perhaps unique to Buza are knafeh – made with real kadaif, cheese and pistachio nuts – and black coffee with cardamom. The most popular flavor in the chain is the cleverly named cashiopea – cashew with salted caramel and toasted coconut.
    The Tel Aviv branch, with primarily outdoor seating, is located at 91 HaHashmonaim St., and is open daily from noon to midnight (weekends from 11.00). The ice cream is kosher, but the premises is not certified as such. Tel. (03) 546-5295.
    Restaurants (in alphabetical order)
    Beit Kandinof (summer menu extended by popular demand)
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    Beit Kandinof
    Beit Kandinof
    Beit Kandinof
    (Photo: Buzzy Gordon )
    Ambiance: This trendy bar-restaurant in Jaffa is constantly innovating, and that goes not only for its creative seasonal menus but also for its art spaces and decor – which currently features playful swings at the entrance, a fun place to sit before you are escorted to your table. There is mostly indoor seating, in nicely ventilated premises, with a separate room containing the bar (and additional tables) where the music is considerably louder. Beit Kandinof has been reviewed on these pages before, and is included in this roundup by virtue of its creative summer menu featuring six dishes starring a special seasonal ingredient: that sweet tropical fruit, mango.
    Hours: Mon-Thurs, 17..00-23.00 (Thurs, until midnight); Fri, 11.00-16.00 (brunch),18.00-0.00 (dinner); Saturday, 12.00-0.00 (evening menu all day). Happy hour: 30% off the entire menu, Mon-Thurs., 17:00-19:00.
    Drinks: Specialty cocktails, including a mango margarita in honor of the summer menu, and the unlisted Gov, a smoky and sour creation named after the head bartender. There is also a separate cocktail section listing highballs, as well as a very interesting selection of imported and domestic beers, including San Miguel on tap and a craft beer from the West Bank. The international wine list comprises separate pages for red and white vintages, with convenient categories of those available by the glass.
    Menu: The bilingual food and drinks menus come together, while the dessert menu is separate. The aforementioned popup (so to speak) summer menu – brilliantly conceived and executed by owner Amir Erlik and co-chefs Itay Kushmaro and Shami Golomb – has been so popular that it has now been extended until the end of September. The featured ingredient makes its appearance in every menu category: Starters, Intermediate dishes, Main courses and Desserts. There is at least one vegetarian/vegan option in each section.
    Recommended. The Spicy Mango Margarita (cocktail); the [house] Sourdough Bread with black garlic butter; Mango Gazpacho (with or without shrimp); Ceviche with spicy mango curry sauce; Mango tart (dessert).
    Beit Kandinof. Not kosher. 14 HaTzorfim Street, Jaffa. Tel. (03) 650-2938
    Coco Thai (a.k.a., Coco Beach)
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    Coco Thai
    Coco Thai
    Coco Thai
    (Photo: Ilya Melnikov )
    Ambiance: This relatively new bar-restaurant, located at Frishman Beach, is the latest project of Nadav veDaniel, the couple that vaulted to fame by virtue of their performance on one of Israel’s televised cooking competition shows. The sprawling premises comprises a variety of seating areas: indoors (air conditioned), a covered veranda (choice of sofas or chairs), a deck, and low tables on the sand. There are separate bar areas indoors and outside. Rhythmic music reaches most areas, and can get a bit loud in some spots. The service is pretty elegant for such an informal beach setting: for example, finger bowls are served with the seafood, a touch lacking even in many fancier Tel Aviv restaurants
    Hours: Mon.-Sat., 18.00-0.00. Closed Sundays.
    Drinks: The bilingual drinks menu lists both classic and specialty cocktails, as well as just one beer option: Chang (imported from Thailand) on tap. There is a an adequate international wine list, with five categories of wine, but surprisingly few vintages available by the glass.
    Menu: The bilingual food menu comprises four categories: Starters, Intermediate dishes, Main Courses and Rice sides (choice of steamed or sticky white rice). There is a reasonable variety of fish, seafood and meat dishes, but very limited vegetarian/vegan options. The four light and sweet Thai desserts are prepared by a dedicated pastry chef.
    Recommended: Basilero Cocktail; Nam Tok (spicy sliced rump steak); Raw Tuna in smoked curry sauce; Crystal Shrimp; Mussels; Massaman curry.
    Coco Thai. Not kosher. Shlomo Lahat Boardwalk 17, Tel Aviv. Tel. ​​(077) 938-6220
    Loullie – Gordon Beach Oasis
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    Loullie
    Loullie
    Loullie
    (Photo: Buzzy Gordon)
    Ambiance: This bar-restaurant, one of seven night spots by Tel Aviv’s Nox Group, has two iterations – a beach club during the day, and a sunset bar in the evening – with swimsuit attire acceptable day and night. Set in the lee of HaYarkon Street on the opposite side of the boardwalk from the sea, two tiers of low and high tables – as well as a large, fully stocked horseshoe bar and sofa seating for larger parties – are above beach level but still catch cool breezes.Two DJ’s keep the thumping music at deafening levels, making conversation – and even ordering from the wait staff – difficult; but if your eardrums can stand the decibel level, you might enjoy the disco atmosphere and dancing that breaks out, or the young girls in skimpy outfits who perform some sort of floor shows.
    Hours: [The Bistro] Mon.-Thurs., 17.00 until the wee hours; Fri.-Sat. 09.00 (brunch) until late night. The beach club opens daily at 11.00.
    Drinks: The beverage menu lists six specialty and six classic cocktails, as well as a more than adequate selection of draft and bottled imported and domestic beers. The international wine lists extends over four pages, although here are very few vintages available by the glass; interestingly, the sections itemizing white wines and magnums are the two largest categories.
    Menu: A colorful laminated booklet contains the bilingual food [and larger drinks] menu, whose four categories are: Small Plates and Bites, Starters, Mediterranean [mezze] and Atlantian Main Courses. The first and third categories maybe classified as appetizers, while the second is akin to intermediate dishes. There are sufficient vegetarian/vegan options, although just one among the main courses. The separate dessert menu – comprising four sweet dishes, two of which are chocolate – includes a giant bowl of fresh fruit that is meant to be shared.
    Recommended: The house focaccia, Charred Artichoke, Zucchini Salad, Shrimp pan.
    Loullie. Not kosher. 121a HaYarkon St., Tel Aviv. Tel. 077-9386252
    Teva Ha-Ochel (dual summer menus)
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    Teva HaOchel
    Teva HaOchel
    Teva HaOchel
    (Photo: Buzzy Gordon)
    Ambiance: This restaurant-cum-deli earns its place on this list by virtue of two limited-time summer menus: one of fruit smoothies, and another of Greek dishes. It is located on downtown Kfar Saba’s main drag (Weizman Street), with all of the seating on the sidewalk of the busy thoroughfare. Thankfully, its proximity to the passing traffic is somewhat mitigated by potted greenery. As the name “Nature of Food” suggests, the restaurant is 100% vegan – although according to management, 90% of the customers are non-vegan in their lifestyle. The eatery relies heavily on its lunch clientele and also does a thriving take-away business, selling cooked/prepared foods and salads as well as pre-packaged items. (Note: Both the food and drinks menus are usually bilingual, but the English version is currently being updated; it was unavailable at the time of this writing but is apparently in preparation.)
    Hours: Mon-Thur, 09.30-19.00; Friday, 09.00-15.00. Closed Saturdays.
    Drinks: A summer menu of healthful smoothies, featuring a variety of fruits blended with a choice of vegan milks, along with a section of cooling milkshakes and frozen yogurt combinations. There is also a limited selection of wines by the glass and bottled beers.
    Menu: The main food menu comprises quite a few sections: Starters, Hummus Combinations, Sandwiches (in bread or pita), Main Courses, Vegan Burgers and the summer menu inspired by Greek cuisine, with both entrees and main courses. Importantly, there are also many gluten-free options throughout the categories. Finally, the separate dessert menu is surprisingly lengthy, with more sweet treats than any other restaurant in this roundup.
    Recommended: The acai smoothie; the kubbe stuffed with lentils and the crunchy potato puffs with amazing vegan parmesan (starters); the Queen of the Forest main course, the restaurant’s flagship dish; the dolmades and tzatziki (from the Greek menu); and the affogato (dessert).
    Teva Ha-Ochel. Kosher. 140 Weizman St., Kfar Saba. Tel. (077) 450-4201
    Seasonal Popups (in alphabetical order)
    Bacchetta
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    Bacchetta Bar
    Bacchetta Bar
    Bacchetta Bar
    (Photo: Buzzy Gordon )
    Ambiance: This is the second year in a row that the Dan Caesarea resort is hosting a poolside popup restaurant starring young chefs who earned their reputations while competing on national television. Last year it was the very same Nadav veDaniel featured above (Coco Thai); this year it is Chef
    Yonatan Sharvit – although the execution is more frequently by his associate, Chef Levi Haroniane. The name is actually a play on words, with bacchetta both a type of bread (used in making bruschette) and meaning in Hebrew, “in the flow.”
    The food and drink area adjoining the pool has undergone a change from last year: the bright yellow kiosk that looked geared more towards families with young children has now been replaced by the new Imperial Palms Pool Bar and Rum Shack – at the same time more sophisticated, but still radiating tropical informality. All drinks are served in glasses resembling crystal, but made of unbreakable plastic, because of the proximity to the pool.
    Hours: Sun.-Thur., 19:00-23:00 (advance reservations required); in addition, Sun.-Fri., 12:30-16:30, for hotel guests only. Bacchetta is scheduled to continue until October.
    Drinks: Specialty and classic cocktails mixed by Imperial Palms, which is associated with the award-winning Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar in Tel Aviv. There is a rather limited all-Israeli wine list, all of whose vintages are available also by the glass. Finally, there is a choice of two imported draft beers.
    Menu: The concise, bilingual food menu, inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, begins with Openers – crackers and dips – and proceeds to Starters and Main Courses. Although the menu itself is not extensive, there are some vegan dishes, including both of the two desserts, since there can be no dairy in a kosher restaurant that serves meat alongside fish. Refreshingly, there are also gluten-free options, including gluten-free rolls.
    Recommended. Rocket Man (cocktail); the house basket of crackers with savory dips (opener); Yellowtail Tartare, Beef Tartare Bruschetta (first courses); Veal Sirloin, Smoked Prime Rib (mains); [deconstructed] Mille feuille, Chocolate Cremeux (dessert). Espresso coffee may be ordered with a choice of almond, soy or oatmeal milk substitute.
    Bacchetta @ the Dan Caesarea. Kosher. 1 Rothschild Street, Caesarea. Tel. (04) 626-9111.
    Zuppa Americano
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    Zuppa Americano
    Zuppa Americano
    Zuppa Americano
    (Photo: Buzzy Gordon)
    Ambiance: The north Tel Aviv institution Zuppa, known for its year-round soups and other hearty fare, has decided to compensate for the slight drop-off in demand for hot soups in the summer by opening a pop-up serving Italian-American cuisine. Every weekday evening through September, the sidewalk in front of the storefront eatery is transformed into a small trattoria, complete with red checkered tablecloths. A large fan cools the enclosed section of pavement, while a mellow soundtrack of Sinatra tunes and the hit American television show The Sopranos plays in the background.
    Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 18.00-22.00. Closed weekends.
    Drinks: There are no cocktails, but there is an Italian red and white wine (one each) available by either the glass, carafe, or bottle. The lone beer is bottled San Miguel Especial. A noteworthy non-alcoholic beverage is the homemade iced tea, which comes in varying flavors.
    Menu: The one-page bilingual food menu features five First Courses and four Main Courses, along with a family-style meal. There are a few gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options, and three desserts, two of which are homemade.
    Recommended: The house bread – focaccia studded with red and yellow fried tomatoes, garlic, and red onion; Arancini in tomato sauce, Melanzana – eggplant layered with cheese (first courses); Chicken Cacciatore served in a hot skillet (main course). Sfogliatelle [Italian pastry] and Tiramisu (desserts).
    Zuppa Americano. Not kosher. 138 Shlomo Ibn Gabirol St., Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 602-0291


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