Address: Frishman St 54
Category: Best Restaurants
Anastasia was recently voted the Best Vegan Restaurant in Tel Aviv in a poll in Secret Tel Aviv. We’ve sent guest blogger Scott D. Renwick to check it out…
When asked to review Anastasia for Secret Tel Aviv, I don’t think my brain ever agreed to something so fast. I’ll admit this was not my first time at Anastasia, so I had a good idea of what to expect and no matter what happened, I knew I was going to finish it with their famous hot chocolate dessert. I had my eye on the goal from the moment I agreed to do it.
Myself, and a good friend, whom is a professional food critic, focused on Dublin restaurants accompanied me. He is also familiar with Anastasia and had no problem accepting my invitation. He’s eaten all around the world and finds himself coming back to Anastasia for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Busy Means Fresh
Day or night, Anastasia has a stream of regulars and tourists coming through its doors. When it’s busy, it gets packed. This can usually be seen every Friday as people que up for breakfast, brunch and lunch, often ordering their acclaimed Israeli breakfast. With all this traffic, Anastasia really has no choice but to keep their ingredients fresh, as stock won’t last long with such a high demand.
The “V” Word
Three paragraphs into this review and I haven’t even mentioned once that it’s vegan. That’s because Anastasia marks the new generation of vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv and around the world, where the label “vegan” is not the primary selling point and the food simply speaks for itself.
Not Just a Restaurant
Anastasia is not just a restaurant, it’s also doubles up as a café and a small shop. You will find shelves stocked with specialists products that you would be hard to find anywhere else. These products include the best bar of chocolate you will ever taste, it’s called Vego, a chunky chocolate bar with full hazelnuts, and while it is huge, you will be surprised at how easy it is to eat and entire bar in one go.
Because of Anastasia’s, innovative approach to providing for its customer, dining there, is not just a culinary experience, but it very much symbolizes a lifestyle choice. It represents, a particular way of eating, looking at the world and being part of a movement that has certainly found a home in Tel Aviv.
Enough About The Restaurant, What Did we Eat?
My friend took the Roasted Mushrooms dish – a mix of Shataki, Jordan, Portobello, Champignon, Asparagus, Green Onions and Leek. Served with a yellow pea puree and spicy salsa. His drink of choice was Sauvignon blanc.
I took the Soba dish – Buckwheat noodles, Wakame Seaweed, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, kale, salad rocket, green onions and cilantro in a cashew cream, ginger, chili and sesame oil, with spicy almond crumble on top. My drink of choice was a locally produced beer named “Hathul Sheman”.
Before we got to grips with the mains, Anastasia provided us with a cheese platter, with cut vegetables and olives.
I’ve had vegan cheese in many places around the world, most of the time it’s a disappointment, with hard cheese having the consisting of a soft plastic and soft cheese, that is more like a thick dip. But Tel Aviv is home to some of the best vegan cheeses in the world and this platter by Anastasia backs that up. I would be happy to present this to the most avid cheese eater. The camembert was incredible, the pecan brie was delightful, the cottage cheese was excellent and the labane was certainly a welcomed addition. The platter was served with lightly toasted whole meal bread which was still warm when served. My friend and I both relished in it and I just can’t wait for such cheese to be available on the supermarket shelves.
Back to the Mains
The Roasted Mushroom dish was filled with mushrooms that were meaty in consistency, the aroma of the mushrooms mixed with the leek and asparagus worked very well, and the yellow pea puree added a texture to the dish that made the entire experience of eating it more diverse and interesting. You had the juiciness of the mushrooms and their texture, the aroma of vegetables and the heaviness of the pureee, complimenting an otherwise light dish to give it a nice balance and making for a satisfying meal.
When it came to the Soba dish I was a little bit worried, because it sounds like a salad, and I’m really not the type of guy who eats a salad for a main course. But the waiter, assured me it was a nice sized portion and was filling. Believe me I was still a little bit apprehensive about it, but took the chance.
When it came out the portion was fine and the noodles really made up a large part of it. They were tasty, they gave the meal the substance I thought it might be lacking and they perfectly gripped the cashew cream.
What Makes Anastasia Great?
One thing Anastasia do really well is that they treat every dish like it is a multi-layered experience. They take all the senses into account, which leaves you with a dish that has a range of aromas, textures, colours and tastes. These factors are key to making any meal satisfying, and Anastasia seem to be experts at that.
There’s Always Room for Dessert
To top off two great main courses, the waiter brought out two desserts, one was the hot chocolate dessert, which is just out of this world. I challenge anyone not to like it, it’s probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted in my life. A hot chocolate dessert, with a heavenly chocolate sauce and a vanilla ice-cream with hazelnut sauce and crushed pistachios. It’s ridiculously good.
Sadly, I couldn’t say the same for the other dessert, it resembled a cheesecake. I don’t think it was a regular feature on the menu and it looked great, the intentions where there, but the execution left a bad after taste in my mouth almost like oil or margarine. Not so bad that I couldn’t eat it, in fact I finished it, but it just wasn’t on the same level as the other chocolate cake and my advice would be to rethink that recipe.
Luckily the last taste in my mouth was the hot chocolate. So I was happy.
In summary, Anastasia is a trendy hotspot in Tel Aviv, people keep on coming back to it, its consistent, innovative and has probably the best, most friendly and most courteous waiting staff in Tel Aviv.
It’s a place I can recommend with confidence, and after you’ve been their once, you will too.
Review by Scott D. Renwick. Scott is an Irish man living in Tel Aviv for the past 7 years, he’s vegan, married, has two amazing cats, is an experienced blogger and co-founded Vegan Dublin Food Tours by Vegan in Ireland.
1 year ago No Comments