Italy in the Galilee
By ROBERT WAGNER
Liliana’s on Kibbutz Yasur is authentic, from the food and decor to the music and amore.
Pulling into Liliana’s on Kibbutz Yasur sets the mood for a restaurant that is
clearly a labor of love. Gravel crunching loudly beneath the tires evokes
memories of youth, family and comfort. The faux fountain greets you with its
bubbling joy. The Italian flag, along with popular Italian music playing in the
background and outdoor tables laid with gingham cloths, complete the décor. A
massive photo of a strikingly handsome Italian woman smiles down affectionately
from atop the roof of the restaurant. She is Liliana, the reason for it
Once we were seated, the scent of antipasti wafting from the kitchen
made our mouths water. The crunchy home-baked focaccia can easily
distract you from the courses to follow. We were wary of the seafood platter.
Kibbutz Yasur is far from the nearest shore. Restaurants relying solely
on the daily catch from Acre are not known to last.
However, generous portions of baby calamari, large plump shrimp, chunky mussels
and calamari rings arrived immediately, dispelling any previous suspicion.
Excellent does not begin to describe the quality of the crustaceans, all fried
to perfection in a light batter, accompanied by various colorful and zesty
Time to question the owner. Acre, it seems, never earned the
trust of chef Ofer, either. Seafood is delivered from the best supplier in the
country, Machrovsky, the founder of Tel Aviv’s legendary Mul Yam. Imported New
Zealand mussels disappeared from the plate more quickly than they arrived, each
of us vying for the last one on the dish. We agreed this was the best starter we
ever had. And at NIS 65, it may be the best seafood deal in the
The majority of Liliana’s wine is procured from local boutique
wineries. Ofer will happily assist with your selection, and the inexpensive
Chianti-like house wine with its unmistakable pleasant Tuscan aroma is a
Struck by the opulence of the seafood starter, my partner
selected the seafood risotto. Surprise number two! Rich and creamy Arborio
grains of rice proudly cradled a diverse and ample variety of delectable fruits
de mer (perot yam)..
Though the resident kibbutz cows greeted us kindly when we arrived, I fought off
guilt and, without hesitation, devoured the finest cut of pepper steak I have
eaten anywhere in Israel. As with all the main courses, the portion was
plentiful enough to feed two, but I never learned to share.
for dessert was now in serious question. Over a serving of incredible chocolate
mousse, Ofer told us that the day he met his wife-to-be, he phoned her mother
and said, “Liliana, I would like to introduce myself as your future
It was at her kitchen table where he met his second love;
Italian cuisine. It may seem crazy to open an authentic Italian restaurant in
this remote northern kibbutz, but never underestimate the power of amore; the
essential ingredient of a good life and good cooking. This is the legacy of
We were definitely hooked and will visit again soon and
Note: On December 15, there will be a Neapolitan evening from 7
p.m. onwards. A full meal based on Italian southern cuisine will be served at
NIS 170 per person.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mon-Thur 5 p.m. until last customer
and Saturday, noon until last customer