Alfredo, a kosher dairy restaurant in Ra’anana that opened for business a year ago, contrives to be very sophisticated and, at the same time, welcoming to families with small children.
A large well-appointed place with plenty of its own parking space and an illuminated patio looking out onto Ra’anana’s green belt, the ambience at Alfredo is pleasant and relaxing, with soft background music, an attentive wait staff and a very comprehensive menu.
“The basis of the food here is Italian,” explains Dor Gur-Arieh, the joint owner and manager, who greeted us when we arrived to sample the fare. “Seventy percent of our clientele are Orthodox Anglos living around the area.”
He points out that there are many family options available, with pizza and toasts for the children, while their parents can find a variety of dishes that appeal to the adult palate.
As the menu was so extensive, we decided to leave the choices to the management. However, this was not a great decision, as far too much food found its way to our table.
Among the many starters, we sampled cigars filled with goat cheese (NIS 38), eggplant rolls with a sour cream dip (NIS 35), tempura mushrooms (NIS 38), fried mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese and walnuts (NIS 42) and arancini – crispy risotto rolls studded with ketsach (black sesame seeds) on a bed of tomato sauce and pesto (NIS 35). They were all delicious, fresh and beautifully presented.
Next up was a loaf of bread filled with an incredibly good cream of mushroom soup. It was loaded with fresh mushrooms and tasted as though they had spilled a pint of cream in there – wonderful, though sinful.
While I have always had reservations about using a whole loaf or bread as a soup bowl – it seems so wasteful – Gur-Arieh assured me that it isn’t just a gimmick, as the bread soaks up the soup, making it a delicacy in its own right.
For a main course we asked to try one of the fish dishes, a whole baked sea bream (NIS 110). It was delicately flavored and good, but we thought the chef should have taken it out of the oven a few minutes earlier, as it was slightly overcooked.
The four-cheese lasagna was wonderful (NIS 62), a classic Italian dish with an Israeli accent, the four cheeses being Parmesan, goat cheese, cream cheese and bulgarit.
The wine we were served deserves a special mention, as it was outstanding – a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Carmel Aizorit series. Very rich and fruity, with cherry and blackcurrant overtones, it was certainly a wine to remember (NIS 135).
Other possible main courses are stone-baked trout fillet (NIS 92), salmon fillet (NIS 84) and fried sole (NIS 69).
Of course, there is a huge choice of pastas, all around NIS 60. The one we sampled was sweet potato ravioli in cream sauce.
For dessert, our waiter brought a tray to show us all the possibilities, which included cheese cake (NIS 38), apple pie with vanilla ice cream (NIS 42), chocolate soufflé (NIS 44), nut pie with ice cream (NIS 39) and Belgian waffle (NIS 42).
Not shown but on the menu was my favorite dessert, crème brulee, a challenge to any chef. This one was superb, with rich cream below and crunchy sugar above. The other desserts were all of the same top quality. After a meal like this, coffee is always welcome, and even the decaffeinated one I chose was good and a perfect end to a great meal.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Alfredo Kosher Le’mehadrin.
1 Hanesher Street, Ra’anana
Tel: (09) 885-3508 Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. until last customer.
Friday, 9 a.m. until an hour before Shabbat.
Saturday, one hour after Shabbat goes out.