Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.
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Ben S

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Ta'am HaIr festival NOT in Tel Aviv

by Ben S » Sun May 24, 2009 1:37 pm

This week is the Ta'am HaIr festival in northern Tel Aviv. http://go.walla.co.il/taam-hair7/
Has anyone been to this event before? It looks great: lots of restaurants and exhibitors: http://go.walla.co.il/taam-hair7/duchan.html

Edit: A friend of mine pointed out that this website is very much out of date (as are several Anglo tourist sites). Ta'am HaIr is now up to #14, and it has been moved to Haifa: http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/1/1442476
Last edited by Ben S on Mon May 25, 2009 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Ta'am HaIr festival in Tel Aviv May 27-30

by Daniel Rogov » Sun May 24, 2009 2:26 pm

Ben, Hi.....

A deep sigh seems in order. When the culinary food festival Ta'am HaIr (literally The Taste of the City), sponsored primarily by Ha'Ir weekly newspaper first started it was a showcase for the city's very best restaurants, many of them taking part with the express desire to let many people who might not normally come to their restaurants sample of the very best fare that the city had to offer and at a very reasonable price. Indeed, the restaurateurs and chefs made a profit there (and a good one at that) but more important, they felt that they were having fun and showing off for the residents of the city. And some of them showed off very well indeed.

Looking at this year's list of participating restaurants – indeed some good places, but not repreented are any of the ten best restaurants in the city. In fact, not represented are any of the restaurants that have earned four or five stars in my weekly guide in HaAretz (and also posted and updated on the forum). No Herbert Samuel, no Raphael, no Moul Yam, no Chloelys, no Catit, no Carmella BaNachala, no Yo'ezer……… More than that, 30% of the restaurants represented are Oriental in nature so one can assume that soya, mirin and teriyaki sauces will be far more present than will be Bearnaise, Hollandaise or even that old faithful Mediterranean standard of lemon, garlic and butter. There will also be a collection of stands selling a variety of what most of us would agree are mass-market street foods, many of those also Far Eastern in nature.

Alas, Ta'am HaIr seems a poor shadow of what it once was. There were always the fast-food joints at this culinary festival but at its peak forty or more truly fine restaurants were represented and one could dine superbly for a most reasonable price. Also seemingly gone are the days when wineries competed to be at the fair. And, correct me if I am wrong, but it has also seemed that as the quality of the restaurants and of the dishes offered went down, so in direct proportion did the noise level rise. This year, with sadness, unless my critic's conscience dictates otherwise at the last minute, for the very first time I will probably give Ta'am HaIr a miss.

Those restaurants found on my list of recommended restaurants:

Manta Ray ***
Kimmel ***
Idi ***
Sakura ***
Darna **
Pasta Mia **
The Red Chinese **
Sushido **
Kyoto **

Others but not on my list of recommended restaurants:

Tamuz
Moadon Alon
Papagaio
Seafood Market
Shangrila

Oddballs because the restaurants are closed (curioser and curioser)

Odeon
Tahel
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Re: Ta'am HaIr festival in Tel Aviv May 27-30

by Ben S » Sun May 24, 2009 2:45 pm

I'm sorry to hear that the quality has declined. There are several quality wineries represented, so that's a plus.

How does the seating work? Is it in a convention-center-like format? Are reservations required within the fair?
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Ta'am HaIr festival in Tel Aviv May 27-30

by Daniel Rogov » Sun May 24, 2009 2:50 pm

Ben, Hi......

An entirely informal, al fresco event, walking from stand to stand, foods served on plastic plates with disposable utensils, often eaten while seated on the grass or while strolling.

Advance reservations are neither required nor accepted and admission itself is free, each dish you order being paid for individually. One important hint - If you do not enjoy humongous crowds, best is to arrive as close to opening hour as possible.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Ta'am HaIr festival NOT in Tel Aviv

by Ben S » Mon May 25, 2009 3:31 am

See correction above. Ta'am HaIr is not taking place in Tel Aviv this year; it has been moved to Haifa. The website with exhibitors is from 2002. That explains the curious case of closed restaurants!

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