Restaurant Review: Bon appetit

Bonofait is a French bistro nestled between Modi'in and Kiryat Sefer that offers a fantastic selection of soups, salads, quiches and pastries.

January 22, 2010 00:47
3 minute read.
One of the many hearty and filling sandwiches on o

meat311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

At the end of our meal at Bonofait, my dining partner said to me, "Even if the food hadn't been so good, this would have been a great dining experience." Taking in the view of the Judean Hills, the rustic but colorful décor and the donkeys strolling by, I had to agree. The food was delicious, the ambiance was superb and the wait staff was warm and welcoming.

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Bonofait is a gem that locals don't want you to know about. Despite their desire to keep such a great find to themselves, they can't help but rave about it. The bistro is located in Kafr Rut, a tiny picturesque Moshav between Modi'in and Kiriat Sefer. Bonofait's bright lime green walls and retro fixtures create an environment which is as inviting as the food is delicious.

Nurit Ran, the owner, has created a restaurant that is a jewel tucked away on the outskirts of fields of flowers. Birds on their winter migration make themselves at home, feasting on crumbs dropped by patrons or from leftovers on the table. The birds were sweet although somewhat frightening in that "man-meets-wild" kind of way.

It was a sunny afternoon in January and my dining partner and I decided to sit outside. Dining al fresco in the winter is one of the delights of living in Israel. At the restaurant happened to be a friend from my hometown in upstate New York and we laughed about how the sun was shining and everyone back in the old country would eat their hearts out.

The restaurant is kosher dairy with a menu that consists mostly of soups, salads, quiches and pasta. All the food is served on beautiful earthenware and care is taken to make the presentation as mouthwatering as the fare. But Bonofait is not about putting on a show, it is about creating a great environment to enjoy their eclectic menu. Ran, trained to be a pastry chef in France infuses extra panache into everything served.

We started with soups (NIS 32), which made a perfect complement to a crisp winter day. The bistor's daily specials change but there is generally the choice between creamy sweet potato, tomato and rice, French onion and pea soup. Both my dining partner and I liked the sweet potato best; the pea soup was a nice surprise with a touch of curry but the French onion had too much cornstarch--and since onion soup is served best as a clear broth rich with caramelized onions, we both thought that this was totally unnecessary. To be fair, though, it was still delicious and I did finish the whole bowl.

Bonofait is known for their great quiches (NIS 49). The sheep's milk quiche was creamy, which contrasted brilliantly with the flakey crust and had just enough of the free range flavor to strike your palate as something wild and exotic but not enough to make you feel like you are eating in a barnyard. My friend one table over told us that the onion quiche was her favorite and my dining partner favored the eggplant. Along with the quiches came a healthy salad with walnuts. The crunch of the nuts set off the soft texture of the quiche and the tang of the vinaigrette contrasted pleasantly with the quiche's creaminess.

For those who are not into quiche, Bonofait also has sandwiches and pastas. I didn't try any of the sandwiches (NIS 44-48) but they have eight varieties which all looked hearty and filling, and also come with a salad.

I am a sucker for pasta and couldn't resist trying the ravioli (NIS 49). I tried two different kinds - spinach ricotta with an alfredo sauce and pumpkin with a rosa (red cream) sauce. The sweet potato ravioli was an explosion of creamy sweetness. It was surprisingly light and a definite highlight of the meal.

As a true foodie, Bonofait gave me the opportunity to challenge my palate to identify the subtle flavors of the dishes - was that a hint of cumin in the yogurt or mint? Did that soup have a hint of curry? Is that a sautéed fig in the quinoa?

The desserts were nothing less than fabulous. Everything is made in-house and Ran's French pastry skills were allowed to shine. The apple pie had a rich crust and a roasted nut topping which tasted amazing with the caramel sauce drizzled on top. The cheesecake was not that special but the chocolate mousse topped with white chocolate ganache and served on a meringue, literally sang a medley in my mouth--the sweet tune lasted long after we left the restaurant and I spent the rest of the day enjoying the afterglow of a truly good meal.

Bonofait is located in the Kafr Rut Industrial Area. (08) 976-6992. Open Sunday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm. Friday until 1:00pm. Closed Shabbat and Motzei Shabbat.

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