Cerverceria in Tel Aviv (46 Ben Yehuda) has become a beacon for fans of Spanish tapa style treats and any imaginable gin based cocktail which is a popular facet of many Madrid gastro-pubs Cerveceria seeks to adeptly emulate.
Recently, Chef Einav Azgori, inspired by his grandmother’s cooking and his months travelling the Iberian peninsula, crafted and launched a trio of paella, one of Spain’s most recognizable and unique dishes. Their clients, a strong loyal throng and those brought in by the pervasive good sentiments by word of mouth or online reviews, have been to say at the least receptive if not down-right overjoyed.
One paella features a wide array of shellfish including crab, cuttllefish and shrimp on a bed of flavorful rice. Another is dominated by a bunch of mussels in the shell over black octopus ink infused rice and the third for those less fond of shellfish is a savory and satisfying sausage and meat medley.
All three are quite affordable for the quality and quantity of protein offered, the layers of integrated yet expressive flavors delivered and the presentation and execution of each dish ranging from 68 NIS for the meat medley and 72 NIS for the two seafood plates.
Don’t worry if paella isn’t quite your thing, they still have their regular but elevated tapas menu every night including “Paella Mondays” and there is something for everyone (who doesn’t keep kosher) with a wide range of meat, cheese and some vegan delights. I especially enjoy their spicy yet well balanced beef hamburger sliders but I’ve never found any of their many dishes less than satisfying and in fact they are most often great takes on traditional Spanish fare with flair.
Let’s get back to the gin though which is the real star of Cerveceria and in Israel’s summer heat it seems most fitting to indulge since Gin and Tonics were popular drinks of colonials who were schvitzing in tropical heat and trying to avoid malaria with quinine laced tonic.
I can easily melt on my barstool with a straw in my mouth sucking in one of their juniper flavored fares but their Fitzgerald, simply a Gin and bar made lemonade (syrup and bitters) was one of the best yet simple cocktails I’ve had in recent memory and any hot and humid day my body starts leaning to Cerveceria like a compass pointing me for another Fitzgerald even though it reminds me of an author I’ve grown to loathe.
Sometimes a great cocktail isn’t the most complex but a classic just expertly executed. There’s a reason some classics are classics.
With over 40 gins ranging from the familiar to the obscure, five tonics to choose from, special slow melting ice cubes to keep drinks chilled but not watered down and one of the most invested staffs I know (some staff in the front of the house and kitchen are minority owners) who insure that each guest feels special and attended to; it’s no wonder that if you like either tapas or gin or both, this is an epicurean embassy your senses can seek asylum at whenever the need or craving arises.
48 Ben Yehuda St., Tel Aviv (03) 647-7751 cerveceria.co.il
David Rhodes is a California trained sommelier, mixologist and cook who has worked at wineries and restaurants in the USA and Israel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org David is also the host of Rhodes to Israeli Wines at tlv1.fm