Fresh fare on the Mediterranean Sea: Tel Aviv, Israel’s Boya [classic article]

Lots of restaurants in Israel serve very traditional fare and there are probably several reasons for that. With tourism so important to the area, people come wanting to eat what they expect to eat — Israeli salad, chicken kabobs, etc. People who keep strictly Kosher are suspicious of unfamiliar recipes that Mama didn’t make. My grandfather was like that sometimes! He would warily, but bluntly, question servers if a given restaurant dish “has pig”. But whether you keep Kosher or not, it’s fun to keep up with modern culinary trends! Fresh, local, lightly manhandled food is what’s on trend.

Tel Aviv’s Boya is modern, “clean” and fresh cuisine. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!

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The restaurant is located on a boardwalk with an unobstructed gorgeous view of the Mediterranean. People love watching the sun set there! The restaurant is open for all three meals. Though I was seated inside, there are a few outdoor tables. Some websites speak of salt/spray being able to get to you, so you’ll have to weigh the benefits for yourself.

The restaurant has a center station half-circular bar, well-stocked with premium liquors with which you will be familiar. That’s not always the case with Israeli restaurants, so on a hot evening, I ordered a Hendricks and tonic. I had to ask for a lime wedge, but it was more instructive about what people are and aren’t ordering than irritating. Still, my highball cost about the equivalent of $15. Familiar isn’t cheap!

This is what they say about the restaurant:


Primary emphasis is placed on the quality and freshness of the raw materials: fish and seafood only fresh, finest meat instead of old-fashioned, and a dizzying assortment of vegetables. Even the finest baked bread as a culture instead, ensuring supreme freshness.

I had been in Israel for several days at that point and had not seen fish on the menu – perhaps a case of wrong place, wrong time. However, being on the sea and in the land of fish and loaves, I definitely wanted to partake! Boya had a couple of fresh catches on the menu that night. I ordered Filet of Sea Drum on groats “Mujaddara” and goat yogurt. Drum is mostly caught in the Atlantic in US waters, but also in Israel apparently. The fish was thinner, served with a crispy skin and mild meat. I liked it! It was a perfect light dinner for a warm evening. Groats Mujaddara are cooked lentils mixed with groats, (can be rice) and garnished with sautéed onions.

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