After 16 years, Chef Victor Gloger closed one of the most successful fine dining restaurants of all time in Israel – Chloelys in Ramat Gan. His kosher version of Chloelys in Tel Aviv, is alive and kicking, foodie fans knew it would only be a short while before his next spot opened...
Hola just opened its highly-anticipated doors with the most riveting view of the beach and the same hardcore craftsmanship that Chef Victor Gloger is known for. This time, though, it’s not a set menu with appetizers, followed by course after course of tempting cuisine. Instead, it’s a brasserie with multiple options, including semi-private dining corners, a private room, and even a separate bar for smoking. Situated in what used to be the famous Raphael restaurant, Hola has big shoes to fill, and it is well on its way to doing so.
How did you get started?
I made aliyah from Argentina in 1978. In 1982, I studied in France in a program supported by the French Government and then did my stage there. I had a plan to go, then come back to Israel, which is what I did. I was in France for eight years. I came back to Israel and worked at The Daniel Hotel in 1989 and Bamboo Dag in 1990 and later Delidag and Dagim 206. In 2001, I opened Chloelys (named after my daughters Chloe and Lys) with Dudi Ziv in the middle of the intifada. People thought I was nuts to open during such a crazy period. There were really only three restaurants at the time: Raphael, Carmela Ba Nachala, and Chloelys – which lasted for 16 years.
Chloelys was known as the place for fine dining. How did you make the transition to a more casual brasserie?
It wasn’t a hard change. It is what people want, and it also gives me a lot more freedom. With Chloelys, I loved having people come in as regulars and ask me to cook them certain dishes, but I didn’t have the freedom to change up the menu as much as I wanted because people came in for their favorites and expected them.
Here, I have all the freedom to cook and change and people will be able to frequent it more as a brasserie than a fine dining spot. We don’t have appetizers on the menu as I don’t want it to be so structured. All the dishes are good for sharing. I want people to come in and eat however they want. They can come in for a dish and a drink, or a full menu.
What are some of the items on the menu that are really interesting?
Chloelys was fish and seafood focused. Here you will find a lot of both but also a lot of meat and even vegetarian and vegan options. We have the paella that we had at Chloelys. We have beautiful salads like the market salad with endives, tomatoes, radishes, and Meiri (a salty cheese). Our tomato Carpaccio is made using several varieties of tomatoes, and a Bloody Mary sorbet with pine nuts. We bake all the bread in-house from sourdough loaves to baguettes. We make the pizzas in-house. I love making pizza, and we have an excellent vegan version. We have a barley risotto with apple, celery, and foie gras. We have an amazing dessert from Chloelys that has absolutely no sugar and it suitable for people with diabetes. There’s a lot of everything and something for everyone.
What are your favorite cookbooks? (You can browse his collection in the private dining room)
I like Joel Robuchon’s Ma Cuisine Pour Vous (My Kitchen for You), and I also like to browse through Helene Darozze’s book. You can tell which books I have been reading for years because they look like they have been used.
What are some of the places that you have traveled to lately?
I love exploring. I have traveled to so many places like Scotland, Southern Italy, London, and Spain. A lot of my food is influenced by Andalucía, more specifically Málaga. I love that area, and I am inspired by it. I love Paris; nowhere in the world comes close to Paris when it comes to food.
What about fast food?
I love pizza – that is the fast food that I like best. I like Philippe’s pizza in Tel Aviv.
Can you tell me about the design of the restaurant?
The restaurant was designed by Ayelet Ziv. You can see that the seats are set at different levels to assure that every table gives you the ultimate view of the beach. The screen dividers are shaped like the shadows of the beach. We have a private room for parties and semi-private areas, while the smoking room is for people who want to smoke anything legal and get a different kind of experience. Also, the smoking bar has a special menu with snacks, it’s a different vibe.
Where do you eat on your days off?
I don’t have many days off, but between restaurants, I go to eat out a bit more often than usual. I really like the Thai House. I also like Alena at the Norman Hotel. I like Onami and Toto as well. I recently had a meal at the Sheldon in Ramat Gan, and it was good, too.
94 Ben Yehuda St, Tel Aviv