Cafe Noir, Tel Aviv2013-06-29
- Phone : 03-566-3018
Cafe Noir, 43 Ahad HaAm, Tel Aviv
I am not sure how it came to this, but we are staring at each other. I’m in a really great restaurant, with awesome music playing the background and the menu looks pretty solid. It’s moments like these when I wish I was back in a relationship. Instead, I’m sitting across from my friend Max.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t swing that way, and neither does he…but we are at Cafe Noir, and we both recognize that it’s the perfect place to take your girlfriend (or potential girlfriend.) Instead I’m on a man date with Max. But it’s okay, even if his staring is starting to make me uncomfortable. Actually, one of the reasons I appreciate Max’s friendship is that the guy is always up for anything – he’ll suggest a bar, or getting dessert at Moon because it is amazing. We just watched this 2009 blaxploitation film Black Dynamite while eating home-made ice cream sandwiches (we may or may not have been in the right state of mind). Good times. And so we decided to head out to Cafe Noir because we heard good things.
For the record Max’s staring was in line with that annoyed way that says “will you make up your mind on what drink you are ordering” and not gazing at me like, “let me buy you a parasol and reenact chapters 2, 4, and 11 of Sense and Sensibility.”
The reason it was taking me a while was the drink menu looked pretty good. Lots to choose from with interesting names and ingredients. Nothing too crazy but imaginative enough to make it worth trying. I had already got the Spanish Sidecar and Max got a martini cocktail – dirty with extra olive juice (um… gross.) But it was the second round and Max had already decided on a bloody Mary. Now I’m at that situation where I have to get some kind of manly drink with some kind of manly name. I’m pretty sure Max threatened my life if I got anything with the word “julep” in it (it has mint though!). So I was taking too long and I pretty sure Max ordered me the Pineapple and Chili margarita.
I don’t like where this (British) mandate is going.
Schnitzel in Tel Aviv
Apparently I was told that you have to try the schnitzel when you go to Cafe Noir. However apparently I wasn’t paying enough attention. It’s supposedly the best in the country. Ever since I mentioned to my friends I had been to Cafe Noir there are countless times they asked me:
Did you get the schnitzel?
So spare yourself the agony of telling them you didn’t and just order the schnitzel. Or at least someone at the table order it. Or for the love of god just take it to go, cut it up into pieces and carry a small baggie with you at all times so when someone asks just hand them a small piece and tell them “yes, yes I did have the schnitzel.” (There is chicken, veal and pork, so there is really no excuse NOT to get the schnitzel.)
I settled on the grilled spring chicken, which is close to schnitzel in that they are both chicken, but apparently not good enough for my friends (what do you mean you didn’t get the schnitzel?!?). Max ordered the sea bass which was fresh, flavorful and had a great side dish of pumpkin and saffron risotto.
Cafe Noir and the Best Schnitzel
“The music is good,” I remark.
“The music is amazing,” Max responds. It’s a mixture of good classics from the 60’s which Max is a big fan of and random songs of the 80’s and 90’s, which I am a fan of because I grew up on that stuff. Max can hear the first notes of some 60’s song, tell you the artist, and then go off on some tangent about some life moment that artist had that brought him to write that song, or overdose on that drug (which always seems to be cocaine), or how they died in some tragic accident. I think he was talking about Otis Redding at that particular moment. I couldn’t be sure. He died in a plane crash in case you were wondering.
I was paying too much attention to the random one-hit-wonder songs from the 80’s and 90’s being played. And I keep my mouth shut on the reasons behind the music because I don’t know anything about why their hair was the way it was in the 80’s (cocaine?) and why the clothes were the way they were in the 90’s (cocaine?).
It has all the elements of a great place to bring that special someone that doesn’t seem too stuffy or pretentious. The staff was friendly enough, and on several occasion a few of them chatted us up, even bringing us a free chaser. The lunch menu is a less expensive version of their dinner menu so you could go with your friends, but it’s a bit on the pricier side. Especially if you are going to get drinks and an appetizers. But if you are going to bring your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, lover Cafe Noir is definitely worth it.
I guess one thing good about going to Cafe Noir with a guy is that there is no conversation about “should I or should I not get dessert, because I will regret this later.” For all that is holy… Get some dessert. Life is too short not to enjoy these small moments. (You could go in a plane crash!)
May the Schwartz Be With You
The waiter at Cafe Noir suggested we at least the Schwartz’ chocolate mousse. I’m usually the kind of person that wants something more elaborate than mousse, but this Schwartz character seemed highly recommended. And with the earnest look in the waiter’s eye as he described the mousse and the thin crispy chocolate topping, the bits of biscotti soaked in espresso….
It was a perfect way to end a great meal.
For the love of all that is mighty…
Get the schnitzel.
- Spanish Sidecar 36NIS
- Pineapple & Chili Margarita 42NIS
- Bloody Mary 38NIS
- Martini cocktail 41NIS
- Seared Tuna w/peanuts 56NIS
- Roasted Aubergine 39NIS
- Grilled Spring Chicken 65NIS
- Sea Bass w/risotto 98NIS
- Schwartz Chocolate Mousse 37NIS