In the beautiful Old Railway Station (Hatchana) in Tel Aviv, Hugo is a restaurant with an enviable setting and a brilliant menu. Located on the first floor, above one of the station buildings, Hugo’s beautiful outdoor terrace offers views that are probably unrivaled across to Old Jaffa and the Mediterranean.
Hugo is named for Hugo Wieland, whose former home the restaurant occupies the first floor of. Wieland was a German Templar who came to Israel in 1900 to settle and establish a building materials business which he opened next to the train station. The building was originally built in 1902 and the second story, where the restaurant sits, was added in 1906. The building was preserved throughout the years and opened as a restaurant when Hatachana was restored and re-opened in 2010 as a leisure district. Hugo opened in the building in 2012.
Smoked salmon and potato blinis at Hugo restaurant. Image: Daniel Laylah
Hugo’s menu is French inspired and sophisticated. It features a wide selection of meat and fish based dishes as well as pasta, cheeses, and salads.
To begin with there is a wide selection of over 20 dishes including classic fish based dishes such as fried calamari, sea bream ceviche, smoked salmon with potato blini, and slightly more unusual, octopus Provencale. As well as the fish, the menu features salami, beef carpaccio, and goose breast confit. From the Charcuterie, where all of the meats are prepared in-house, come Bavarian smoke sausages, smoked veal ribs, and the ultimate, Charcuterie platter. Cheeses come from the fromagerie, and include French classics.
The inspiration doesn’t fade from the main course selection at Hugo, with beautiful fish based dishes – salmon, potato, and sardine pie, shrimps with garlic butter, tomatoes, and Spatzle, and Mussels Mariniere casserole, and classic French meat dishes including Entrecote Bordelaise served on a tasty potato gratin, beef fillet medallions, and grilled chicken breast with a mushroom sauce. For those who want a lighter option, there is a great selection of pasta and salad dishes.
And for dessert, Hugo doesn’t disappoint. Perhaps the highlight is the Souffle pancake (crepe) filled with pear in vanilla syrup and chocolate ganache, but the other options including the beautiful dark chocolate pie with orange confiture, and creme brulee are equally tasty.
Like many restaurants which are slightly hidden from the public view, Hugo is likely to become considered as a hidden gem in the Tel Aviv restaurant scene. It’s location takes you away from the city, yet it’s food could easily pass for coming from a top Parisian kitchen.