On thursday, we visited Jerusalem. It was my second time to Jerusalem. We decide to take a guided tour from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and back, through Egged Tours. I went with them the last time, so it seemed like a good choice. Well, let’s put it this way: next time, we will just go by ourselves. Nevetheless, we had a good time. Jerusalem is extremely interesting, overwhelming, impressive and exhausting. Unfortunately, we did not really eat IN Jerusalem (see below for some food pics), I guess that’s too much to ask from a guided tour.
But instead, for lunch we went to a Kibbutz, namely kibbutz Ramat Rachel. I had no big expectations of a restaurant that feeds big groups of people all the time, and I was therefore very very pleased with the huge salad bar. They of course also had main dishes, warm courses, but these were indeed the usual suspects (i am of course not going to eat Schnitzel in Israel, sorry, but no, thanks.) that you’d expect from a cold/warm buffet. So, I decided to go for the salad bar, one huge table, with very nice, colourful, and as it turned out tasty salads and vegetables. I had hummus, lentil salad, something with grilled eggplants, tomatoes, artichokes, olives and probably more, but I cannot remember anymore. Almost everything tasted good. Fresh, not as if it had waited there for us for hours. Good choice for feeding big groups, really.
After our trip to Jerusalem, we came back to Tel Aviv, just in time for an aperitivo. We got dropped of at the old harbour, which is completely renovated, with lots of nice restaurants and bars. And we decided to go into one of the first nice looking bars close to the sea: Julia’s. Unfortunately, we had to go inside, cause it got a little chilly. Still, a nice place, a bit quiet, but that was probably the time of the day. We drank a nice fresh fruity white wine.
And after enough aperitivo and some 8 mails going back and forth between my friend and me, we were picked up for dinner for yet again, one of my absolute favourites in Tel Aviv, or rather, Jaffa: Haj kahil. I had promised my girl we would at some point go there. Ever after she read this, she also wanted to have her ‘cheese moment’. The cheese thing didn’t work out this night (but it did a few days later), nevertheless, the dinner made her (and actually all of us) very happy. Haj Kahil makes traditional Arab food. They have beautiful lamb, chicken and several different types of skewers are also highly recommended. I suggest you only go here if you are really really hungry. Because here, I always feel pity for myself for not being able to eat more! Anyway, as for many Israeli restaurants, here too it holds that, even if this restaurant is recommended for its meat, it is a very good choice for vegetarians as well. Basically because of the starters, see the pictures. Usually, you start the dinner here with salads. Once you asked for this, within minutes the table is filled with at least 12 different small dishes (which will be replaced once empty), with the most lovely things in it. It is perfectly ok to just eat starters here (you then pay a little more for the starters than when you order a ‘real’ dish as well), and you will not leave the restaurant hungry. Nevertheless, we also ordered hummus, and a siniya with tahini, which is, basically minced lamb cooked in tahini.
On the pictures you see a selection of what we got: an avocado spread, a beet salad, baba ganoush, hummus, a carrot salad, spicy eggplant, tomatoes with cheese, cauliflower in tahini (did I mention I now LOVE cauliflower?), something with lentils, a salad with fresh apple and ginger, lebaneh, a potato salad, tabouleh, something green and spinach like (but not spinach), a green salad and a huge flat bread, with za’atar on top of it.
Oh and to go with it, we drank fresh lemonade, and pomegranate juice.
This is just a really absolutely great. Service is nice, quick, friendly. The food is fresh, all the different small dishes with so many different tastes, is a lot of fun too. And as said, I was sad I couldn’t eat more. Oh and I alsmost forgot the siniya: even more tahini: juicy minced lamb, with a tahini sauce. I like it a lot, but I suggest not ordering more than one portion, cause it is a little heavy.
Haj Kahil, I would say: this is a very good reason to visit Israel, Jaffa.