Cicchettiby Sarit Goffen | 01.02.16
For over 18 months, on the corner of Yehuda Halevy and Mazeh Streets, the Cicchetti has been open, an Italian resto-bar offering cuisine that is different from the Italian cuisine we know here in Israel.
The literal meaning of ‘cicchetti’ in Italian is ‘small plates’, which are basically the Italian version of the Spanish tapas. The cicchetti in Tel Aviv are simple, authentic, and delicious – just like the happy moments Italy knows how to create, with a connection to the Tel Avivi vibe, they are a combination of a jolly atmosphere and a light culinary experience.
The Cicchetti is the outcome of a collaboration between Chef Michael Gratofsky, chef and owner of Bistro Michael in the Galilee, and Avi Kashi, who was practically born into the restaurant business (his father was one of the founders of the legendary “Mi Vami”). For over a decade Kashi himself was part of the group that founded the famous Onami and Tapeo. As for Gratofsky, testimony to his talent are the chefs and cooks that frequent the bistro every evening, turning it to a neighborhood bar where they meet before and after work.
Kashi says that while visiting London, he saw all sorts of Italian tapas bars, and the idea excited him. “I also found a place called Cicchetti, and I realized that we should look into the idea, which originated in Venice. Then I began reading about the culinary culture in those places. Michael and I decided to merge that culture with Israel in a more romantic way. We believe it is suited to our culture especially in light of the fact that Italian cuisine is one of the most influential in the world, and Israelis love it dearly.”
Cicchetti honors the regional culinary traditions in Italy. Free of foams and flourishes on the plate, the food is crude and clear. True to Italian tradition, which connects alcohol and food, Kashi created a lavish cocktail menu that includes the famous Venetian cocktail Bellini – and Cicchetti is the only place in Israel that serves it on tap.
No less important is the Italian tradition of aperitivo – the Italian Happy Hour, observed by Cicchetti, as well as the weekend brunch.
Visit Cicchetti’s profile on Telavivian,
Yehuda Halevi 58, Tel Aviv, 03-685-3499