Tel Aviv, Israel
In a nutshell: HaBasta (in Hebrew, a stand in the market) is located in one of the corners of the Carmel shuk, Tel Aviv's central and biggest market. The restaurant is an Israeli hybrid between a market restaurant and a chef's restaurant – one you can come dine in for special occasions or for decadent lunches.
Nonchalance: The keyword here is informality, manifested in the casual design and daily hand-written menus, as well as lack of uniform for the waiters. Dishes are served on decorated vintage porcelain plates, resembling the ones you would see at a flea market. The atmosphere is always buzzing and jolly, with no special manners or codes enforced – at HaBasta, everything goes.
What's on the menu? Dishes change daily, depending on the market produce. They always include some preparations based on fresh vegetables, like masabbaha or cooked mangold and labne chess mezes. The restaurant holds a deep affection towards seafood, especially oysters and clams when in season. They are also fond of pork, which chef Elon Amir uses in many dishes. One of the restaurant's signature dishes is Israeli crab bourekas – people from all over the country flock to HaBasta especially to try it. If you're lucky, it'll be on the menu when you arrive.
The wine: Next to the food, HaBasta is considered to be one of the best places to drink excellent wine in Israel – and to promote wine culture. Along with extensive Bourgogne and Champagne sections in the extensive list, there are numerous natural, orange or bio-dynamic wines. The sommeliers will always encourage you to taste something you don't know yet. That might also be the reason why there's no tap beer – so you'll drink more wine.
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