Tapeo, Tel Aviv2014-06-10
- Phone : 03-624-0484
Tapeo, 16 HaArba’a Street,Tel Aviv
Tapeo is a popular Tapas and Ceviche restaurant in Tel Aviv that offers elaborate and carefully crafted cocktails, with a full menu of savoury vegetable/fish/meat tapas, full flavoured ceviche, and specialty dishes like saffron paella and mussels, that will tantalize your eyes and tickle your tastebuds. Tapeo is a veteran establishment having been around for over eight years, which in the restaurant industry speaks volumes to its reputation as one of Tel Aviv’s top tapas bars. It offers Tel Aviv diners a consistent quality dining experience.
HaArba’a Street, for the uninitiated, is a short street off Carlbach that houses along with Tapeo some top-level restaurants like Porter & Son’s Steak and Beer House, and Onami Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar. A little ways away from Central Tel Aviv, Tapeo is worth discovering first. (They also have a second location in Hertzliyah Pituach at 9 Shenkar Street.)
Tapeo’s plain and unassuming outer facade should be viewed as an entrance to a secret Spanish Speak-Easy. Heave open the large heavy door and enter a warm, spacious, yet intimate and inviting tapas restaurant.
The decor has touches of warm Spanish paprika red, softs caramel browns and light gold walls with large natural wood tables, lit with candles for that romantic touch. A large bar sits central flanked by colourful ornately designed 3D mosaic pillars with richly coloured tiles.
The food menu is broken down into several sections with Vegetable, Seafood, and Meat tapas, ceviche, and paella options. Having dined at Tapeo, Tel Aviv on a date, and once with friends for a birthday party, it can be said that their meat and fish tapas elicit the strongest responses on flavour and taste. The Hamburguesa y pimiento rojo – the mini beef hamburger, sweet red pepper aioli, the Cordero con ajo blanco (strips of lamb) which was full flavoured and tender, and the Croaker ceviche with blood orange vinaigrette, avocado, radish, and coriander – were amazing and highly recommended.
Other dishes like the Champinones rellenas – mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese, the Salmon Pimienton – seared salmon in Spanish paprika on a black bean salsa – were tasty but nothing unusual, eliciting a less than enthusiastic response from friends and strangers.
Dessert Tapas Tel Aviv
The Cheesecake dessert with its light crust, rich and creamy cheese centre, a beautiful crunchy granola shard with a sweet mango coulis and cooked cherries was a clear winner to end dinner. The Creme Brûlée with mint was light and delicate, and the birthday Churros was a bit chewy but fun to share. Aside from the Churros, the other two seemed to be specials and not on their regular dessert menu. The Chocolate Milk Flores (38NIS) – Milk Chocolate Bar with Passionfruit Toffee and Mango is a beautiful dessert that with its edible flowers a lovely way to complete your time at Tapeo.
Go for the warm Spanish sangria, enjoy tantalizing cocktails and tiny well plated beautifully tasting tapas dishes for Tapeo excels at offering a lively dining experience.
Dishes at Tapeo
- San Miguel Beer 28NIS
- Sangria Large 120NIS
- Athletic Bilbao 44NIS
- Carpaccio De Lomo 42NIS
- Champignon Reines 24NIS
- Cordero Con Ajo Blanco 44NIS
- Salmon Piementon 38NIS
- Corvina Ceviche 46NIS
- Paella al Azfaran 46NIS
- Churros 38NIS
- Cheesecake 39NIS
- Butterscotch Hot Shot 28NIS
Tapeo Restaurant Rating
Best Tapas in Tel Aviv
It can be very easy to find incredible restaurants in Tel Aviv on one of four main streets – Ben Yehuda, Dizengoff, Allenby, and Ibn Gvirol. For visiting tourists, students and residents you would do quite well, your palette will be pleased, your belly will be filled, and you will feel satisfied and satiated staying in Central Tel Aviv, not too far from the mall, never too far from the beach.
However sometimes a short walk in the right direction is worth it. And that is where HaArba’a Street (the Four Street) comes into play.
The short numerically named side street is nothing more than an eclectic collection of culinary choices which include family friendly Burgus Burger Bar, and Iceberg Gelato, but more notably includes worthy Tel Aviv restaurants like Porter & Son’s, Onami’s, and especially Spanish tapas and ceviche hotspot Tapeo.
Open for dinner at 1800h (6pm) Tapeo transforms as the night goes on, dimming the lights, amping up the music to match the energy of the happy diners. It is a wonderful place for a second or third date, and a fantastic birthday spot to begin your night out. Wait… did I just say second or third date? Isn’t that a little specific?
Tapeo restaurant in Tel Aviv is ranked one of the top tapas restaurants. It is also like many tapas bars, a little pricey. But that is to be expected. I think Tapas is the actual Spanish word for expensively small dishes. Tapas, when done right, excited the sense of sight, smell and taste while subtly emptying your wallet. And that brings me to a first date. But first…
Dating in Tel Aviv
I will admit that I had tried online dating in the past a few times in my life. It was only when I lived in Tel Aviv that someone introduced me to Tinder. Yes… Tinder. Now I will fully admit that I wasn’t prepared for what Tinder was exactly. Dubbed a hook-up app, I was told perhaps naively, that it was used by Tel Aviv women as a serious dating tool, something akin to Jdate, OkCupid or SawYouAtSinai (that site really does exist.)
A few of my female friends told me many guys are on Tinder looking to hook up, as they hilariously describe some of the pick up lines thrown their way. But on the other side of the coin, there were guys looking for something more substantial and serious. I was putting myself in that latter category.
Truth be told I was not very successful at Tindering. I amassed a half dozen women to chat with on the app, whereby many of the conversations went nowhere. Maybe I was too picky in my swiping, not aggressive enough, or maybe it might have had to do with the photos I used. Who knows.
From my brief experience I did manage to go on two dates.
Tinder Date #1
After briefly chatting on the app, and moving to text messaging, I asked if we could meet for drinks at a place I know has great cocktails – 223 Dizengoff. Sheila (not her real name) suggested I meet her at her place and we could walk together since it wasn’t too far. She lived up the street from me on Ben Yehuda so it sounded like a good idea.
When I arrived she assured me she never walks anywhere, and will only really ever taxi anywhere if she has to go, very rarely taking the Sheruts (shared taxis) because they smell, and never, ever will she take the bus (because they are crowded and smell even worse). Frankly I love walking everywhere (#fitbit) and I don’t mind the bus. And I will agree Sheruts can smell pretty ripe at times. I wasn’t going to let her disdain for public transportation deter me, after all I didn’t wash behind my ears for nothing.
Away we go!
The Safety Call
We are sitting at 223 Dizengoff sipping on some drinks, and she is asking a lot of questions. Her English is pretty good, and my Hebrew is decent (read: not very good) but we are joking and laughing and while I’m not a dating scientist (although that sounds cool) I would say we are enjoying each others company. Sheila was in the fashion industry, a designer hoping to make it big. She worked long hours in a retail designer shop, but always hoped to open up her own place. She tells me about brands like Miu Miu, which isn’t a cat sound but an expensive shoe brand, and she will go on to tell me about her Gucci shoe purchase she made, which to this day I still can’t understand.
At the one hour mark her mother calls. They chat briefly and she hangs up. I ask her if that was to make sure everything was alright. She laughs and tells me I’m the very first person she has every met online for a date, so naturally she had her mom call to make sure I’m not some crazy murderer person or at the very least save her from a crappy date. Which is a fair concern. Because thirty minutes later I had my roommate call me…to…do…the…exact…same…thing. At first I didn’t want to pick up my phone, since that’s a sign of rudeness, but Sheila insisted, since it was only fair.
You being murdered?
Nope. On with the date.
As the night went on though I didn’t think we were going to gel much more than our mutual fear of being murdered. The conversation between us was going well, and she remarked she hadn’t laughed that much in a long time, but out of nowhere she remarked that I was wearing “Bar Mitzvah” shoes.
Bar Mitzvah shoes?
Apparently my brown dress shoes had a square/flat top, not the in-style pointed toe that all the fashion-forward people are wearing.
Now I’m not Jean-Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, nor a Marc LePoofy-Doofy, but I put my shirt on the right way and I wash behind my ears and I certainly didn’t think my shoes were reminiscent of a 13 year-old whose voice was cracking as he sings the Torah portion.
I fumble to respond, laughing it off. She recognized her faux-pas and apologizes, sometimes she lets her love of fashion get in the way of a good time. Hmmm…..riiiiiiight. Not to make her feel bad, but I ask her what kind of shoes I should be looking for (the pointy kind, maybe that way during a bad date you can point your shoes towards the door as a reminder of where the exits are.) Then she shares with my her Gucci shoe story.
Shoes in Tel Aviv
Sheila loves shoes. I mean what woman doesn’t, right? Sheila really loves shoes. She tells me of a time when she saw just the most amazing pair of white Gucci shoes that she just had to have. She fell in love with them almost immediately, tried them on, the felt great and she purchased them for 4000 shekels ($1250US) and…. wait. What?!?
I almost spit up my drink, but I remain classy.
She doesn’t make a lot of money but she had to have them. She gets home, tries them on again and then she realizes, they don’t feel as great as they initially did. And worse yet, they are white. She has nothing to wear them with, or no occasion at all to use them. It’s after Labor Day. Or it’s before Labor Day. Or it is Labor Day, I don’t know the rules. But they are white, and she isn’t getting married anytime soon. So they sit there in a box, and she is too embarrassed to return them, and too ashamed to sell them for less than she purchased them for.
I sat their slightly flabbergasted at such an insane purchase. The little man sitting in my brain stopped what he was doing, left the room, walked down the mental staircase and exited the building, slamming the door behind him. I might have heard him get into his car and drive off.
Four Thousand Shekels. The only reason I’d spend 4000NIS on shoes is if they were rocket powered.
I don’t recall much more of the date. Pleasant conversation, I paid for the drinks and I walked her home. A little kiss on the cheek, a thank you for a lovely time and teaching me what Miu Miu was. And I walked home in my comfortable $60 Bar Mitzvah shoes.
It’s a shame she doesn’t get much use from her Gucci shoes. She had nice legs.
Tinder Date #2
A couple of months later I try my hand at dating again. My friends are on and off of Tinder all the time. They say it messes with their self-confidence and psyche. It’s a great way to meet a lot of people but there are two major stumbling blocks:
1) Many can’t get over that magical story they hope to tell their friends on how they met. We met online is becoming common place, but some people rewrite the narrative to be more romantic. “We were an 89% match on OkCupid” doesn’t sound like a great intro for your wedding speech.
2) The Paradox of Choice. This is a fascinating modern psychological concept that more doesn’t mean better. I read somewhere that a study was conducted on selling jam at a grocery store showed that when you present consumers with 15 jam samples more people will indulge in trying your product but very few can make the leap to purchasing said jams. When scientists reduced the number of jams offered to 5, more people will able to decide which they preferred and it converted to more sales. And that in a nutshell is one major issue with dating sites. There are just so many people you can possible match up with.
But for me, I jump in again, swiping left and right a few people in hopes of striking up a conversation and making a connection. My success again is limited, several conversations go nowhere, and only one seems to be willing to take it beyond “So what’s up?”
Rules of Dating
I try my best to be a little principled when dating. I know there are no hard-and-fast rules in dating but I adhere to these:
1) If I ask you out, I pay. But please offer to chip in.
2) If you ask me out, I pay. But please offer to chip in.
3) I will do this for the first 2 dates. After that it’s open to whatever seems appropriate.
The reason for this is you should attempt to be a gentleman, as some dating habits/stigmas still exist. (That of the man paying). And I think by the third date you should hope the person you are out with likes you more than what is in your wallet. There is a caveat, which is, I don’t enjoy arguing with women, so they insist on paying, or at least contributing to the tip, I won’t make a fuss. And if you are both cool with paying then so be it. As you will soon discover these rules can be stupid… if not expensive.
Best Tapas in Tel Aviv
I suggest Tapeo to Miri (not her real name), the girl I met on Tinder. I have a big list of restaurants, and after conferring with a friend, she told me my choice was excellent. Tapeo is known for being the best tapas in Tel Aviv. When I tell my date our destination, she assures me it is an excellent choice, and it is her favorite Tapas place. So far so good.
To be honest, I’m a little nervous about this date in particular. Her Tinder profile photos were not clear. The three photos, one had her disguised or painted, another was with one other girl, and the last was not close enough to determine exactly how she looked. As I waited outside Tapeo for her to arrive I was worried that she didn’t look like how I thought, and well, I was kind of hoping she might be the other girl in the photo.
We sit at the bar, which is an excellent place for a date. Interacting and getting suggestions for the bartender, and you can eavesdrop and look in on the other people around you. An older woman is getting drunk beside my date and talking loudly. This should be interesting.
The date is going okay, but it’s clear there is no strong connection. We chat, and joke, make small talk but it feels stilted. The bartender arrives just in time to take our order. Since Miri’s been to Tapeo, Tel Aviv before and it being my first time, she takes the reigns. She orders a couple of dishes, and makes suggestions. I order a couple of dishes and all in all they were pretty amazing. I remember getting the Condero Non Finions – Lamb Kebab with pine nuts. She ordered a skewered Scallop which was lovely but no longer on the menu in that form. Lightly grilled and spiced, the dish was a great introduction to scallops, something I had never had before.
Miri is a doctor, but since she trained in Italy, she has yet to practise in Israel. She is working towards it, but now works in a Old-folks home doing what she must as she finishes med-school here, or some kind of internship, to be honest I wasn’t sure. She spoke of her job as being terrible and not very fulfilling, telling me stories of some stupid thing that happened at work by one of her co-staff. She then adds:
I want to murder my coworker.
I laugh it off, and tell her I guess we can all feel that way sometimes at work. But she assures me she wasn’t joking. She wants to murder her coworker.
I say Pardon me?
Don’t get me wrong, I like a dark sense of humour like anyone else. Sure who hasn’t joked about murder – it’s so grotesque and shocking I see the potential for jokes. But she looked me dead in the eye and reiterated that she…if she could… would murder her coworker, because he was stupid and lazy. And she hates him. And she think he smells. He might even be a “stupid-head.”
I look down at my feet not sure what to say. I realize I’m not wearing my Bar Mitzvah shoes, but my Pumas, which is a good sign in case I need to run. Like a cat.
I look around the restaurant, laughter is emanating from the tables, glasses clinking, the drunk woman beside us orders yet another cocktail. I think to myself if I don’t move, perhaps the thoughts of murder will pass. I keep my cool. I figured she was joking, even though she assured me she wasn’t. I like aggressive women to a point – maybe a little aggressive in bed, maybe decisive at a restaurant, there is something beautiful about a woman that knows what she wants.
But not wanting murder. Murder is one of those things where you joke and then say “NOT TODAY!”
After all there are so many more non-murdery things to do.
Miri continues talking, and the bartender arrives with the dessert menu. She orders a dessert cocktail for each of us, and the Chocolate Milk Flores.
The end of the Date
The bill comes and it’s a whopping 360NIS. Miri reaches for her wallet but I told her since I asked her out that I would pay. (Rule #1) She offers to pay the tip and I accept. Not because I didn’t want to give her a reason to murder me, but because I think equality on dates is important. Plus I don’t like arguing.
We leave Tapeo, and I assure myself I will return. The atmosphere was great, the food was fantastic, the drinks refreshing, even though I was a little surprised by the expense, but that is Tapas for you.
Miri offers me a lift home. I want to walk, get my step-count up on my fitbit, but I also need to work on my “saying no to people that want to murder other people.”
After that date I did revisit my rules of dating.
Perhaps it’s best not to go someplace so expensive on a first date. Tapeo is great for a second or third date, once you know you are attracted and like the person. And you are sure they don’t want to murder you.
Maybe once you go out, and get past the “what do you like?” “where would you travel to?” and “so do you have a strong desire to murder anyone specific?” then indulge in some wonderful Tapas in Tel Aviv at Tapeo.
And if you are not sure even after the first date, you can always have your mom or roommate call to make sure you are alright.