Pleasant Cafe, Great Service, Uninspired food
Posted on 01 / 29 / 2012
Upon arriving at Kafe Birnbaum... I saw a feast before my eyes. For 48 Shekels the all you can eat buffet, complete with Salads galore, Quiches, Grains and Pasta dishes looked like a can't miss. While I was trying to understand how the buffet worked and what were some of the salads, the three women behind the counter could not have been more delightful or helpful.
So as I sat down I was raring to go. The salads were hit and miss, with some being slightly above average others not being too hot. The Quinoa Salad was average, the Kolrabi salad was very good (with little pieces of persimmon in it), and the potato salad wasn't anything to write home about. Overall I'd say the salads were "decent +" and that they have down the art of diverse and unique Israeli salads using the grains and veges of Israel. The Main dishes were another story altogether. The Pasta pesto dish was oily and bland. The little cutlets they had were hard, stale-ish and gross (I can't even identify what the main ingredient was), and the rice noodle stir fry was extremely poor as if it was made by someone cooking Asian for the first time.
The atmosphere here is very Tel Aviv- cosmopolitan and European, with Art hanging all over including from the ceiling and the restaurant having a real bustling Kafe feel. The crowd here is an older one that wants healthy vege eats that feel like home for the average Israeli, rather than the tofu and faux vegan meats of other Tel Aviv places.
Birnbaum is a pleasant place to meet up with a friend for a nice breakfast or lunch in the city, but given the lack of creativity put into the food, and the poor quality of the hot entrees, this would not be my first choice. Even though the Salads were good, I prefer making my own healthier salad with a huge choice of ingredients and dressings in Buddha Burger for cheaper, not to mention the far more diverse menu. If you are vegan, you will be even more limited here, because most of the mains have cheese or eggs.
To describe Kafe Birnbaum in 1 sentence: It's not bad, It's just how uncreative meat eaters, who have never heard of Vegan alternatives, always picture vegetarian food as being.
Kosher, Very Friendly Service, Feels like Tel Aviv
Bland unfresh entrees, Not cheap, Small Menu