Oasis: Exploring the flavors and textures in Tel Aviv

Oasis: Exploring the flavors and textures in Tel Aviv Oasis

The Israeli culinary scene is a tight-knit community dominated by men, where chefs often cook, intern, and learn from one another. Enter Rima Olvera, an outsider who defies the norm. A woman and an experienced chef, Olvera followed her heart from San Francisco to Israel, bringing a bold and unapologetic style that sets her apart. Her Tel Aviv restaurant, Oasis, is a testament to innovative, creative, and globally inspired cuisine.

With over 30 years of experience in top kitchens worldwide, Chef Olvera uses only the best seasonal local and imported produce. Her philosophy, as stated on Oasis’ homepage, is to “let the ingredients speak for themselves, letting them tell me what they wish to be transformed into. This way, I respect them and let them shine in their natural perfection.” And shine they do.

Believing that becoming a chef takes lifelong dedication, not just a diploma, Olvera says “Great food transcends trends and fashions, embodying a deep-seated necessity for true civilization.”

Reviewing the food at Oasis

Located on Montefiore Street, the eatery’s urban decor features a black marble bar and an outdoor yard, where soon, she tells me, a wine bar will open, serving less formal food and Oasis’s great wines by the glass.

The restaurant is quiet and intimate, providing a perfect setting for Olvera’s eclectic, maximalist, and feminine cooking. Unlike many Israeli chefs who play it safe, Olvera embraces experimentation.

Oasis (credit: Isaiah Fainberg)

Oasis’s menu changes weekly, sometimes daily, reflecting the availability of ingredients – its meticulous preparation and attention to detail distinguishing it from other upscale restaurants in Tel Aviv. However, one dish always remains on the menu, the Zucchini Salad ala Romana (NIS 57), a delightful mix of julienned zucchini, white truffle oil, lemon juice, and pecorino cheese. Encapsulating Olvera’s essence – light, fresh, and very special, this dish is a must if you’ve never tasted it.

This time we started our dinner with the Japanese-inspired “Ume Shu” Hamachi sashimi (NIS 79), a beautiful dish featuring fermented chilies, ginger oil, cherry blossom salt, Shiso leaves, and fresh wasabi. The delicate dressing allows the fish to shine and we savored its freshness juxtaposed with the complexity of the dressing.

Ordering the Pomelo Salad (NIS 63) was a stroke of genius, with its combination of pomelo, red grapefruit, crispy cucumbers, kiwi, red onions, roasted cashews, coriander, fresh mint, and a cucumber vinaigrette. Each bite offered a new experience in flavor combinations.

We continued our culinary journey with Gyuniko (NIS 86), a meat dish with Japanese influences, featuring pounded rump steak slices wrapped around asparagus and green onions, grilled with Shiro miso sauce and shiso. The attention to detail and the lack of heavy sauces highlighted the quality of the ingredients.

We found the least successful dish to be the Jumbo Shrimps “Tokyo” (NIS 135). Although the dashi stock and greens were delicious, the shrimp were slightly overcooked. However, a surprise dish of Grilled Duck Breast (NIS 158) with French violet glaze, grilled grapes, and potato puree redeemed the meal.

Leaving with no dessert was out of the question, so we ended our delightful meal with fresh local paper-thin pineapple slices dotted with strawberry sorbet and sprinkled with mint. It looked like a yellow field with red flowers and it was just sweet enough and refreshing enough to send us home, happy and satisfied.

Olvera’s dedication to her craft and her innovative approach make Oasis a must-visit for those seeking something different in the Israeli culinary landscape.

This restaurant provides a full sensory and intellectual experience, tantalizing the tastebuds and the imagination, with food that is both filling and light.

We will definitely be back, very soon.

  • Oasis
  • Montefiore Street, 17
  • Tel Aviv
  • Tel: (03) 6206022
  • Open: Mon-Fri., 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat. and Sun., closed
  • Not kosher

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/other/oasis-exploring-the-flavors-and-textures-in-tel-aviv/ar-BB1ntQlh?ocid=00000000

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