In the days of Corona we are all looking for the same thing. A safe restaurant and a high-quality dining experience at a reasonable price.
We found it on the breezy outdoor patio at Bistro56. The staff is masked, they use disposable menus, and there is distancing between diners. Corona or no Corona, even with these safety precautions, Bistro 56 is an enjoyable dining experience.
New chef Tal Shriki offers a fresh menu with a large selection of non-meaty options and a variety of well-priced burgers and sandwiches. Hallmarks of his style include vegan cheese and yogurts to surprise you in some dishes, and some Asian touches like mango or peanuts. The chef and the staff used the Corona shut down to experiment with new dishes, until they had a really exciting menu to offer.
We visited Bistro 56 for lunch mid-week. We were directed to seats on the patio, away from any other diners.
A full lunch includes a starter and a main course for the price of the main course. (For a limited time, the restaurant offers a free dessert to two people who order a full lunch showing the eLuna coupon.) Note that some starters require the addition of a few shekels. Our lunches came in at 115 shekels each. The restaurant generously brought us one decadent dessert on the house for two full lunchers.
To celebrate the break in the Corona lockdown, we each had a wonderful cocktail before the meal. The Mediterranean Dream is made with pomegranate liquer and flavors of cranberry, lemon, berry and mint.
I chose to start my lunch with the Charred Eggplant, served with white tahini, vegan yogurt, oregano, a touch of spicy chili, lemon juice and olive oil. The use of vegan yogurts and cheeses is one of the innovations of this menu. We added a basket of warm bread, delicious, with or without the eggplant. For my main I chose the salmon fillet with a green herb sauce, on a bed of mashed potatoes with exotic vegetables and a salad on the side. I love the way they make the fish, just right, well done but still soft and flaky. This was a very full meal, that held me through the rest of the day.
My companion started with the Bistro 56
signature Portobello Mushroom with meat, a carry-over from the original menu. In the cap of the large inverted mushroom is a ball of beef covered in a crispy coating, all in a wine sauce. This is a dish that people come back for, repeatedly, so it remailns on the menu. I can understand why.
For his main course, my companion had the Decadent Burger (what else?), an everything-on-it 220-gram burger topped with a spoon of sloppy Joe, smoked duck breast, and the usual suspects of lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, with fries on the side. The burger came a perfect medium, as ordered. The meat is ground in-house, and the smoked duck really stood out in the dish. The juices were all over the bread and the meat – delicious. He’s learned long ago that you eat these large burgers with a fork and knife. Don’t try to pick them up like a sandwich and bite in.
My companion is a real fan of Bistro 56 and of the new menu. He insisted on trying additional Chef Shriki's new menu items. He was so enthusiastic, he has insisted in writing about them in detail. The first surprise was the Sirloin Carpaccio, paper thin slices of Black Angus sirloin in a marinade of Israeli olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and balsamic concentrate. The surprise was that he couldn’t stop eating it after the first taste. Previously, Carpaccio was not his thing, but this just tasted too good, and thanks to the marinade, it did not put him off at all. The dish was garnished with a bit of vegan cheese and served with greens, nuts and toasted brioche.
Another sampler was the Sirloin Tataki, medallions of sirloin in a black pepper crust, light pink in the center, topped with a peanut sauce, Asian style, and served on a plate of greens. This dish would have made a good main course as well as a starter.
Finally, for the vegans among us, we were treated to the Crispy Tofu and Glass Noodle Salad, a green and red salad with orange slices and glass rice noodles on top. Delicious cubes of crispy tofu in a citrus sauce were really exciting. Coriander and spicy chili gave the salad a zing that might not be to everyone’s taste, but I liked it.
Desert was a delicious Crème Brulee, possibly the best I’ve ever had. There were two squares of vanilla crème with burnt sugar on a crunchy puff pastry, along side a sugary caramelized banana. We were stuffed, but couldn’t resist.
Bistro 56 is one of the best dining experiences in the Tel Aviv/Herzlia part of the country. Not to be missed.
Originally joined eLuna October 04 Revised September 2019
Bistro 56 is a spacious up market restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating. The location of this restaurant, on the second floor of the Arena Mall, offers a great view from its expansive veranda that overlooks the mall plaza and the picturesque boat marina. The Tables on the veranda are covered in white cloth for one of the most inviting dinner scenes that you will find at any restaurant.
Another thing that distinguishes Bistro 56 from the others is the staff. They are mostly long-timers that work together cooperatively and harmoniously for dozens of years, always with a smile. I would call them non-biological family.
It makes a difference. There is plenty of staff that provide excellent service with no waiting, whether you sit indoors or out. From start to finish, from the decor to the dessert, Bistro 56 is a very satisfying experience and one of our favorite restaurants. We are not alone. Reservations are a must at Bistro 56. Though there are several hundred seats in the restaurant it is always full.
Our visit to Bistro 56:
Since we arrived in the late summer afternoon when the humidity was still a bit high, my dinner companion preferred to sit in the air conditioned indoors. We were shown to a table overlooking the veranda and the sea. But you cannot miss the experience of sitting on the veranda so we later moved outside for dessert and caught the evening breezes coming over the ocean.
We started our evening with a cocktail, and the house focaccia with spreads. The Peach Spritz cocktail was recommended by the waiter. It has a mild peach flavor, contributed by the Van Gogh Peach cordial, Eider flower cordial, lemon and tonic, served in a jar with a handle. It was cool (in both senses), fun, and pleasant.
Bistro 56 offers a delicious Mediterranean menu with a pleasant balance of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. The Bistro 56 Buffalo Wings are memorable and I was planning to enjoy them again, but our server strongly recommended the Portobello mushroom the Bistro56 signature dish, and he was right. So for our appetizers we went with the recommended portobello mushroom stuffed with meat and the scorched eggplant, and we added the focaccia.
The Portobello mushroom is a large inverted mushroom cap with a ball of ground beef with a crispy coating sitting in the hollow of the cap. The whole construction is served in a shallow bowl, soaked in a sweet red wine sauce, garnished with slices of button mushrooms. This was an attractive dish combining the textures of the crispy beef, the chewy mushroom and the tasty beef with the sweet sauce.
My companion started with the Scorched Eggplant, an iconic Mediterranean starter dish, which we always enjoy.. This was a beautifully presented whole grilled eggplant topped with pieces of garlic, garlic confit and green tahini. This was a very nice way to start the meal.
The thick and fluffy focaccia, served with a plate of dips, went nicely with a plate if antipasti and stayed with us for the starters and the mains.
I thought carefully about the main course. I am a bit of a burger aficionado, so I was tempted to try the Bistro 56 burger which looked very tempting on other tables. This is a large 280 grams of Golan beef served on a sesame seed bun with chilli, aioli sauce and French fries. I also considered the Lamb spareribs: I love lamb and I love spareribs. But the waiter suggested the Prime Rib, another signature dish and a special experience. I have found it best to follow the waiters advice, and it was true.
The Prime rib was a large 600-gram steak including the bone. It comes on a sizzling hot metal platter which rests on a wooden base so that you (and the waiter) can handle it. It is served with a generous portion of wedges of crispy potatoes and sweet potatoes lightly coated with savory herbs, and lightly cooked string beans. It was served with three sauces: barbecue sauce for the meat, ketchup and mayonnaise for the potatoes.
The steak was hot, soft and not too chewy. I didn’t need to add salt or pepper. The sauces were a nice touch, but hardly needed as everything was so tasty. The meat was well trimmed, so the fat and the bone were easy to eat around. I made a yeoman effort, but I couldn’t finish more than about two thirds of the steak. I enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay from the Tanya boutique winery in Efrat which complemented the beef.
Though delicious, the food was very plentiful and my companion could not finish it. I couldn’t help after my large steak. When the waiter came to clear the course, he insisted on packing up the Sea Bass and sides, and the potatoes from my steak for us to take home. I’m glad that they didn’t throw it out, and we enjoyed it the day after.
||Bistro 56 uses only the best and freshest foods. The beef comes from the Golan and from Nebraska in the US and is aged for 21 days at least at the restaurant, so it is sure to be tender. Gaby, the chef of 13 years is a specialist at preparing this kind of beef. Some mehadrin Badatz meat is available. Call in advance about availability.
My companion chose the Levrak (Sea Bass) as her main course. The fish is baked in a stone oven and served whole. The outside is crispy, scored and garnished with herbs. The meat of the fish is soft and fluffy, the mark of a great chef. The fish was served with sweet potato fries and a bowl of finely chopped Israeli salad.
|Veggie Burger. Beyond Meat
By the time we had finished our main courses, it was after sunset. At the waiter's suggestion we took dessert on the veranda. Our waiter found us a table at the edge of the deck, next to the railing, overlooking the marina, where we enjoyed the breezes from the sea.
Bistro 56 prides itself on the desserts, which are outstanding parve delicacies made exclusively for the restaurant by the in-house pastry chef. We normally share one dessert, but this time we had two. There was a plate with two puff pastries stuffed with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, floating in a sea of chocolate soup. Alongside this there was a substantial wedge of chocolate cake with chocolate icing, along with a small bowl of vanilla ice cream. We loved them both, but left half of each.
What is the significance of the number "56," we asked. This restaurant opened in Israel's 56th year. We are about to celebrate its 72nd year and Bistro 56 is still going strong..
B56 Private Rooms: Bistro 56 has seating for up to 160 people. There are 3 separate party rooms for about 40 guests each, that can be combined for larger groups. Any young boy or girl will be thrilled with for a family Bar or Bat Mitzva party. Think of this private room for corporate events, birthday parties, sheva brachot, etc.
Parking: Park in the yellow area of the Arena mall's underground parking lot and take the elevator straight up to the restaurant on level 1. Access is wheelchair friendly.
From the menu: Portobello mushroom, 55 shekels; Scorched eggplant, 45; House focaccia, 28; Prime rib, 48 per 100 grams; Whole Sea Bass (Levrak), 125; Lamb spare ribs, 35 per 100 grams; Golan Beef hamburger, 79; Deserts, 45;