Raphael, King Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv2013-09-01
- Cuisine: Meat, Middle Eastern
- Course: Lunch
- Phone : 03-522-6464
Raphael, 87 HaYarkon, Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has an incredibly rich and diverse restaurant culture. One of the best ways to try your hand at the many wonderful restaurants without parting ways with too much of your hard earned money is to get the Lunch time/Business special.
I was recommended that Raphael Restaurant at the King Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv has such a Business Lunch special and the value is amazing. Their “Lunch” Menu offers two options that include one starter and one main dish for just a slight variation in price. Option 1 is 98NIS, and Option 2 is 130NIS. And if you are feeling creative and decide to mix from one option and another, the waiter will just adjust the price accordingly.
The atmosphere at Raphael Restaurant, Tel Aviv is one of its major draws. With its large windows facing the ocean, an abundance of natural light pours in you are treated to a full view of the Mediterranean Ocean as your dining backdrop.
The menus have enough variety to satisfy the culinary curious. We ordered between the three of us the grouper tartar with micro-basil in a yellow tomato sauce, and the Onglet steak with marrowbone, pearl onions and beef jus, the stuffed zucchini with lamb, with Uzbek raisins in a brown butter and organic goats milk-yoghurt, and the rump steak from a fat cow with roasted market veggies in a red wine sauce. The final two dishes were the ravioli with fresh goat cheese, spinach in a goats milk and salty butter sauce, and the lamb shoulder and couscous with whole chickpeas, market veggies and spices from the Maghreb .
Overall, the appetizers were front and centre in my opinion. They offered such a delicate balance between taste and texture. As for main dishes, the two beef plates – the Onglet and the rump, were delightful and came with a very natural flavour found in well-aged steak. The lamb shoulder was a bit underwhelming, lacking any flavour or spice and the couscous seemed a bit too salty. Raphael’s Restaurant in Tel Aviv is a truly magnificent and relaxing dining experience, especially during the day. It offers a picturesque view that it would be worth it for tourists from other hotels to venture in and take a peak. If you want to escape the sun but not lose sight of the ocean, then Raphael at the King Dan is your perfect daytime dining getaway.
Dishes at Raphael
- Foccachia free
- Yellow Watermelon cocktail 34NIS
- Merlot wine glass 28NIS
- Ravioli w/fresh goat cheese 28NIS
- Lamb-shoulder w couscous 90NIS
- Onglet steak w marrowbone 130NIS
- Rump steak from a fat cow 98NIS
Total 408 not including service
Raphael Restaurant Rating
Raphael Is All Business
One way to enjoy some of Tel Aviv’s many food-related delights is to take advantage of the business lunch specials some of the high-end restaurants offer. I was out with a few friends having lunch at another Tel Aviv restaurant when the topic of “where should I review next” came up. A few new suggestions were made, but the one that stuck was when Uri, my Israeli friend how knows this country top to bottoms says that Raphael has one of the best business lunches in the city and it is…wait for it…
Thing 1 & Thing 2
Uri suggested that by going at lunch you can get the same quality food for a fraction of the price. Well, “fraction of the price” might not be entirely accurate. One a scale of 1-4 Raphael’s is a top grade 4-$$$$ restaurant. Their prix fixe (fixed price) menu has two options:
Option 1: One starter and one main course for 98NIS.
Option 2: One starter and one main course for 130NIS.
The only differences is in the types of dishes they offer in each category. So which do you take? The red pill or the blue pill?
If you are hard pressed to choose, the waiter offers a compromise saying you can choose one starter from one menu and a main course from the second menu and they will charge a small amount accordingly (see Dishes section below for more detail.)
Art and Action
When you think of the name Raphael it clearly conjures up the image of the famous Italian Renaissance painter whose religious paintings graced many chapels and churches. His contemporaries of the era were Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Or if you are like me, you can’t help but think of a very different Raphael (and Leonardo and Michelangelo). I may have been humming the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song when I was on hold making reservations for the restaurant.(And now that I’ve mentioned it, you are probably thinking about the theme song now.)
Raphael’s is an elegant way to spend your lunch. The restaurant is located inside the King Dan Hotel at 87 Hayarkon. It is positioned such that you head downstairs, but because of the way the hotel is designed you have an incredible view of the beach.
The large windows let in a lot of natural light, and the restaurant is spacious, with the decor simple and inviting. Each table features a fresh bottle of golden olive oil. As a center piece they have on display dozens of Stoli Vodka bottles, lined up like armed Russian guards.
I am here with two friends Alana and Netta. The very friendly waiter, Or, comes over to our table and offers some suggestions. Alana allows Or to decide for her and he settles on two very different dishes – grouper tartar with micro-basil in a yellow tomato sauce, and the Onglet steak with marrowbone, pearl onions and beef jus, which are both his favorites. Netta orders the stuffed grape leaves but they are out so she gets stuffed zucchini with lamb, with Uzbek raisins in a brown butter and organic goats milk-yoghurt. I settled on the ravioli with fresh goat cheese, spinach in a goats milk and salty butter sauce.
Or brings a lovely blue bottle of water to our table, and when the fresh foccachia arrives he cracks open a fresh bottle of olive oil resting on our table and proceeds to open a fresh bottle of balsamic vinegar. We all think that’s how royalty is treated. This is after all the King Dan hotel.
Alana’s grouper tartar was my first choice, (another reason not to go last when ordering). I really enjoyed the acidic/sweet flavor of the yellow tomato. The starter of the stuffed ravioli with goat cheese was indeed fresh – a soft pasta filled with the soft and subtle cheese. Netta seemed to enjoy the stuffed zucchinis, which to my recollection nothing more than just fresh tasting stuffed zucchinis. Alana and Netta admitted a deep love for grape leaves and they both took a moment of silence that it was unfortunately not available during our meal.
Netta’s rump steak from a fat cow with roasted market veggies in a red wine sauce had a very distinguished taste and I had a hard time describing it. It was likely from the type of red wine they used. Alana’s main was the Onglet steak with marrowbone, pearl onions and beef jus. Her dish was by far the best as it offered the natural flavor of medium-rare meat to come through without confusing you as to what or where it was coming from. My lamb shoulder and couscous with whole chickpeas, market veggies and spices from the Maghreb was underwhelming. The meat was tender and came off the bone easily which was nice. Alana remarked that the bone kept the meat warm even after our lunch was progressing. They quite enjoyed it.
I found the meat flavorless and the couscous and veggies were just salty. I had used some of the Maghreb spices but it did not pack much of a punch and there was very little of it to go around anyway. I guess I was expecting a little more from the dish, but when it arrived it looked like the entire dish was boiled and ready to serve for someone at a Middle-Eastern hospital.
The business lunch menu had a lot to offer with the two options. I found mostly everything quite enjoyable but I would suggest avoiding the lamb shoulder unless you a) love lamb shoulder and couscous and b) love boiled salty food. Aside from that one issue, the atmosphere is relaxing and enjoyable, the staff is incredibly friendly and attentive.
They have an extensive cocktail menu, and while it is a bit pricey it is worth it. I found the yellow watermelon slushie martini very refreshing and worth the 34NIS.
NomNom: This is a wonderful place to take your special someone out to an exceptional lunch (or dinner) with an incredible view of the beach.
Blarg: You should check the washrooms. I gotta tell you, they got these little hand towels that well oh boy, now I know why they call it the KING Dan!