Our first real meal in Haifa was an amazing experience from the second we arrived in the restaurant and walked up a flight of stairs that looked like we were entering into a rickety second-story run down flat.
We were warmly greeted by the staff in a beautiful room at the top of the stairs and quickly escorted to an amazing cave-like room at the rear of the restaurant which was bolted with bricks and had a small window with hanging sausages wine and cheeses.
Before we even had a second to look at the menu or the wine list a complimentary bottle of their own specially labeled wine Bilvad (which in Hebrew means "only for ") 24 arrived. It was a special Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Carignane and Petite Sirah blend made by car with kitten in 2011 that was silky smooth and gutsy at the same time.
We were so excited about the room and the wine and our waiter whose name was Matan, which in Hebrew means gift, we only wish that he was a gift for us.
We perused the menu and decided to order a bottle of white wine to start and Matan was totally thrilled that we chose the Dalton Reserve viognier 2014 from the Upper Galilee Valley which was a wild yeast fermentation yielding a creamy and mineral white wine that was awesome.
And then news arrived which was a rich macchiato of corn soup with coconut cream. We knew this was going to be an amazing meal.
Rosemary grissini arrived with a very smoky smoked eggplant salsa as well as a tomato salsa but we resisted knowing there was a lot more to come.
You wouldn't believe that Samuel ordered the beef sirloin tartare with capers, black sesame tahini, shallots, chilies, and a dark toasted sweet brioche cube as well as creme fraiche.
Will and I decided that we would order two appetizers and two main courses and split them and since we knew that Samuel would not let us touch his sirloin tartare we had one of our own and had to agree it was superb.
We however started with citrus-scented gravlax stuffed salmon with spinach and cream cheese in a roulade that was delicious and truly made special by an olive crouton crumble. I should note that both of the starters came with delicious fresh radishes radishes as well as a roasted garlic with cream.
For main courses Will and I decided to split two items the first was a pappardelle pasta with prosciutto chunks, sun dried cherry tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus and baby mozzarella as well as melon to compliment the prosciutto. It was quite perfect and also went very well with the red wine which we had just started to drink. Speaking of wine. I should note that they use an Italian sparkling water that is extremely soft and that we really like called Ferrarelle.
Our second main course to split was the same one that Sam chose and again one of his favorite items to be had during the entire trip. A beef fillet with smoked goose, potato gnocchi, Chestnut Cream and Port sauce was definitely the best piece of meat we had had in all of our three weeks here.
Believe it or not they have a three-course menu for 179 Shekelam which included dessert. That's just over $47 at today's exchange rate. Can you beat that anywhere?
The dessert we chose was a layer of Chantilly cream and milk chocolate ganache with praline and bananas which came with a strawberry sorbet as well as grapes and a nut crunch in toffee sauce that was simply out of this world and one of the best desserts we had had during the entire trip. A second dessert of pistachio creme brulee was so aromatic and delicious with caramelized apple and vanilla crumble that was bruleed with a torch tableside by are absolutely magnificently gorgeous waiter Matan and was an exquisite version of the crunchy topped dessert.
We were thrilled to have this as our first meal in Haifa and had only hoped for more like it since we were nearing the end of our trip