The business lunch at Messa is a getaway from busy Tel Aviv and an opportunity for a great meal at a luxury chef restaurant. The business menu includes breads and dips, a starter, main course, and the chef’s herbal infusion and runs from NIS 95 to 128 and is available on weekdays and Fridays(!) from 12:00-16:45.
The Messa restaurant was established in 2004. Messa is considered one of the most elegant chef restaurants in Israel. Wall Paper design magazine declared it as one of the 50 most beautiful restaurants in the world. Massa has also appeared in the leading tourist magazine Condé Nast Traveler as one of the 80 best and hottest restaurants in the world, and has participated in international culinary events and a variety of projects with leading chefs around the world.
There is a high contrast between the Tel Aviv city rush at Haarbaa Street and the quiet and the elegant soft interior of Messa. The restaurant is divided by white curtains that partially hide cozy seating areas with sofas and couches. Messa means table in Spanish; the center of the restaurant is a stylish infinite knights table. There is also a private room separated from the main dining space.
Chef Aviv Moshe is the restaurant culinary leader. The menu is based on local and seasonal ingredients of the highest quality, making the dish on the plate a celebration of textures, colors, aromas and flavors.
Messa’s Business lunch
There are two fixed price business lunch menus: the basic for NIS 95 and the other one for NIS 128; both contain breads and dips, a starter, main course, and tea. Two of the starters and two of the main courses in the NIS 128 menu are at an additional charge of NIS 10-15.
The business menu is a good representation of Messa’s evening menu including beef, fish, poultry, vegetarian and vegan dishes. The menu is a “mix and match” menu, and it is possible to pick dishes from both with the price adjusted accordingly. The starters are full size and quite large portions, and it is possible to order two half-portions instead of one full-sized starter. This is an opportunity to have a small tasting fest, especially when two people are eating.
The business lunch menu reflects the full restaurant menu, and includes most dishes of the evening menu, thus an opportunity for a more affordable meal opportunity at the restaurant.
The meal starts with complimentary bread and dips and the chef’s herbal infusion. White and whole, the fresh warm bread came with three little bowls: olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tomato matbukha, and garlic confit. The trick is not to get full from eating it, as there is so much good food ahead. The chef’s herbal infusion was fantastic!
As for wines, there is a really nice selection of wines here, but you might settle, like us, for the house wine, Binyamina Reserve, for NIS 32 only with the business lunch.
The cheaper lunch menu includes crispy iceberg salad, veal “baklava”, vegan tofu shawarma, liver pate, and roasted tomatoes with cheeses. The expensive one has dishes like the crispy iceberg with truffles brie, homemade shallot ravioli, finely chopped vegetables salad, beef carpaccio, sashimi shakshuka (surcharge NIS 10), and veal sweetbread (surcharge NIS 15).
We had three starters: Crispy iceberg, peanut butter vinaigrette and peanut crumble, which was a very large plate; a bit crunchy with many goodies such as small pieces of dried fig, sundried tomatoes, etc. Liver pate with cherry tomato jam – beautifully served like a drawing! Very creamy and tasty! Roasted tomatoes with cheese fondue, buffalo mozzarella, sweet balsamic and croutons – the tomatoes were warm and tender and with the cheeses it was so rich with flavours! That’s the don’t miss starter in my opinion, although I admit there are quite a few more starters here that look yummy.
The main courses in the NIS 95 menu: Roasted Beetroot & ricotta cheese tortellini, green curry risotto, sea fish kebab, roasted young chicken, and mini entrecote hamburgers. The NIS 128 menu: Truffle and goat cheese ravioli, vegan cannelloni, sea bass, caramelized salmon, hanger steak, (surcharge NIS 10), beef fillet (surcharge NIS 10)
I had the sea bass served with shallot ravioli and porcini foam – perfectly made and goes well with the sweetness of the ravioli and the gentle mushroom taste. My partner had the beef fillet strips, served with mushrooms on creamy mashed potatoes with a choice of sauce. There are two options: chestnut balsamic stock and Madagascan peppercorns stock. He picked the first, which he thought wasn’t a good choice after all. The beef was so tender and the potatoes superb, but the sauce was very thick and sweet and somewhat took over the tastes, so it might be better to take the peppercorn sauce. At any rate, this dish is so good that it is definitely worth the small surcharge. We also tasted the vegan green curry risotto, which was tasty but very spicy.
Dessert is not priced as part of the business lunch; it requires some extra bucks. However, each and every dessert here is an art! The dessert menu starts from sorbet (NIS 38), continues to hot chestnuts, blue cheese & caramelized apples; vegan tahini parfait (NIS 48), semifreddo brulee, double cheese cake, strawberry dessert, Messa’s snickers, snow white, and Sárközy (NIS 54-68).
We had two desserts: the strawberry dessert (NIS 68) – layers of cream patisserie, meringue and cookie crumbs, white chocolate fondue, strawberry ice cream and macaroon above. A refreshing dessert that is perfect after a full meal. Each and every layer was superb. I especially enjoyed the berries macaroons! The second was Sárközy (NIS 72), a dessert that was made for Sárközy’s meal at the restaurant and is now part of the menu. It contains a soft chocolate tart topped with caramel and dark chocolate truffles, caramel ice cream, chocolate cookie crumbs, chocolate macaroons and candied hazelnuts. Each and every part of this dessert is extravagant, pretty much like the whole meal at Messa, which is a pleasure.
Messa, 19 Haarabaa st. Tel Aviv, Not Kosher, 03-6856859
Disclosure: the writer was a guest of the restaurant