Thursday, April 06, 2006

Recommendation: The Van Gogh Restaurant in Tzfat

It was Daniel's 66th birthday yesterday and he mentioned a couple of days ago that he'd like to go out to dinner. The new dairy restaurant in Tzfat, Van Gogh, has seemed very appealing since it opened. So, I jumped at the opportunity.It is a lovely restaurant that is an extension of Judith's Art Gallery in the Artist's Quarter and is very easily accessible by car or by foot. The gallery is not closed off from the restaurant, so those who eat there can enjoy a walk through the gallery either before or after eating. The back wall of the restaurant is decorated with an interesting piece of art. It is a combination of a reproduction of they sky as Van Gogh might paint it over Tzfat's landscape. It is done in stained glass, the buildings being outlined in a gold-like metal. The decor is lovely - pastoral and peaceful. The restaurant walls and furniture are wood and they impart a feeling of hominess and serenity. They have a bar and a nice selection of some of Israel's most popular red and white wines, which, incidentally, are becoming world-renowned. A very nice touch is the last page of the menu, whereupon there are photos of various self-portraits that Van Gogh did, some rarely seen. The self-portraits were done during different periods of his life and one can see who he was when he portrayed himself. They are quite remarkable.

The menu, incidentally, is both in Hebrew and English.Home-made olives in garlicky, herbed olive oil were brought to the table by our young, lovely, polite and very solicitous waitress while we waited for our meals to arrive. They were absolutely delicious. When I called to make the reservation I asked if there are pareve dishes, as Dan does not eat anything made from cow's milk. I was assured that there is a nice selection of pareve selections and we weren't disappointed.

Dan ordered fried trout with French fries and a lovely salad. I had to look the menu over a few times to decide which of the temping dishes to choose. I settled on the spinach and ricotta ravioli in alfredo sauce, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Dinner was accompanied by a warm loaf of ciabatta bread with butter and herbed butter on the side. I would have had their chocolate cake with ice cream and hot sauce for dessert had I had room after dinner. I couldn't. I was completely satisfied.

Dinner for the two of us, including a bottle of Goldstar for Dan and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot for me, came to a very reasonable 127 NIS.

Van Gogh is kosher and under the supervision of the Rabbinut of Tzfat.

The owner, Avi, is a lovely young man. When you call for reservations, mention that you saw this recommendation.Chances are I'll be going back for a slice of that cake and one of the many types of coffee that they offer. Hope to see you there.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel