The past decade is widely regarded as the most important period in Israeli cuisine, as experimentation with new flavors, methods of cooking, and culinary design are practiced at a wave of new bistros and bars. Yet the owners of Mul Yam, a restaurant that is ancient by local standards, are merely glad the rest of the country has finally caught up with them. Founded in 1995, when the Tel Aviv port consisted of sand and a few ceramic tile stores, Mul Yam raised the expectations from a true seafood restaurant to unprecedented standards. At a time when finding Maine Lobster or Chablais wine in Israel was mere fantasy, owner Shalom Macharovsky decided to become his own importer, thus presenting Mul Yam as an Israeli cuisine aficionado’s haven.
With chef Yoram Nitzan at the helm since the restaurant’s first day, Mul Yam presents a meticulously tested menu of both local and French-inspired gastronomic treats. As co-owner and son Ben Machorovsky states: “There are no bells and whistles, no trends to interpret. There is just the food, some of the best in the world.” Official selection as the only restaurant in the Middle East in Les Grandes Tables Du Monde, a restaurant guide compiled by the world’s greatest chefs, stands as proof of Mr. Machorovsky’s statement.
Though no longer the only culinary giant in the field, Mul Yam remains a standard bearer of the transformation of Tel Aviv from gastronomic backwater to a small culinary empire. After all, not every restaurateur can claim that Rainn Wilson’s character in The Office named his establishment as the best in the world for lobster.