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Food

Caviar And Hummus: Where Russian Oligarchs Eat In Israel

A never-ending traffic jam is the hallmark of Tel Aviv’s Ramat Ha’Hayal business district, home to some of the country’s biggest tech and media companies. From the outside, Shallot restaurant is no different from numerous other establishments in the area—a wide-ranging mix of Falafel joints, and medium to high-end eateries. But on a good day, the personal wealth of Shallot’s patrons can be in the billions.

Shallot restaurant in Tel Aviv Image by Calcalist

Sporting a modern design, Shallot is a stronghold of Israel’s new super-rich Russian immigrants. Roman Abramovich, one of Israel’s wealthiest new citizens, dines here, sometimes with David Davidovich, his one-time assistant and now a billionaire businessman on his own right. Exiled oligarch Leonid Nevzlin is a repeating customer, sometimes dining with his son-in-law, Israeli lawmaker Yuli Edelstein.

At night, Shallot attracts the local Russian “glitterati,” who are often spotted in the lobbies of the Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya, Tel Aviv’s Norman boutique hotel, or the Waldorf-Astoria in Jerusalem. Vladimir Spivakov and Yuri Bashmet, two of the world’s most famous violinists and conductors, are regulars.

Evening programming often includes musical performances and poetry readings.

The kosher menu is a mix of chicken kiev and caviar with the local hummus and tahini. It appears to fit the taste of the Russian elite, those who thought the shockwaves of the fall of the Soviet Union had passed and spared them, and are now fleeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration aided by the today’s hottest item: An Israeli passport.

A version of this story originally appeared in Calcalist’s C-Tech.

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