Anyone familiar with the dining scene in Israel will know that Israelis love a good lunchtime deal. The deals are a great opportunity for ladies who lunch, busy businessmen and everyone in between to go to nice restaurants and enjoy good quality food at much cheaper prices.
While most lunch deals follow the very popular format of a starter, main course and a drink for the price of a main course, Sinta Bar in Haifa has changed the rules of the game.
The very popular local bistro restaurant launched a new concept this year that gives diners the flexibility to order just a main course or even two starters, all at a greatly reduced price.
Since it opened 10 years ago, Sinta Bar has gained a reputation in Haifa as one of the best bistro restaurants in the city. With head chef Ram Lasri at the helm, the kitchen offers local and modern dishes using highquality ingredients.
Sinta is part of a chain of restaurants that includes the Sinta Bar Express diner and the funky Sasson bar, all of which are within walking distance of each other in an upscale Haifa neighborhood.
Spread out over two floors, with an outdoor patio area, Sinta is an elegant place with lots of character. It has a more relaxed and less pretentious feel than many other similar restaurants found in Tel Aviv.
My dining companion and I recently made the trip up from Tel Aviv to Haifa to check out the new lunch deal in all its glory. When we arrived, we were welcomed by the friendly hostess, who showed us to our table and introduced us to our helpful waitress.
To begin the meal, we shared a couple of starters. First up was a large portion of bresaola, which is air-dried salted beef that was served with honey mustard, capers and Parmesan (NIS 26). It was obvious from the taste that the quality of the meat was very high.
Similar to carpaccio, the bresaola was very thinly sliced and almost melted in the mouth. All the flavors worked very well together, and we ended up soaking up all the excess juices with the tasty fresh bread that was served with it.
Next we tucked into a good sized portion of cheese tortellini with tomatoes, butter and basil (NIS 26).
This was a more simple dish but tasty nonetheless. It was slightly colder than I would have expected, but the rich tomato taste shone through and worked well with the top-quality cheese.
For the main course, we carried on the sharing theme and opted for two of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Sinta Bar is known for the highquality meat it serves. Even though I don't usually eat too much red meat, especially not during the day, I just had to try the prime cuts of beef, potato gnocchi, veal sauce, butter, mushrooms and peas (NIS 78). I wasn't disappointed. It was a slightly heavier dish than I'm used to eating at lunchtime, but I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was bursting with flavor.
The other popular dish we ordered was the butcher beefburger, which is topped with Gouda cheese and portobello mushrooms served in a special bun, garlic confit and dill (NIS 79). As gourmet burgers go, this was up there with the best. The meat was perfectly cooked, the toppings added some interesting textures, and the garlic ensured that the burger was full of flavor. Because the burger was made up of fresh ingredients and we had it with mashed potatoes instead of fries, we weren't left feeling bloated as can often happen after eating a large burger.
With a little room left for something sweet, we decided to share a portion of chocolate and banana yeast cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. You can't really go wrong with a good fresh chocolate yeast cake, and the addition of the banana made it that little bit special.
The lunch deal at Sinta Bar is a great idea. Even though my dining companion and I decided to take the traditional route of ordering a starter and main course each, it's good to know that you can order just a main course if you like or even just a large starter. This time I was on a mission to taste a number of different dishes, but next time I visit it's good to know I have the option to order as much or as little as I like at very attractive prices.
While I very much enjoyed the lunchtime visit and plan to return some time soon during the day, I'd also be happy to make the trip up north to go to Sinta Bar in the evening to take advantage of the swanky design, great atmosphere and good service.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
127 Moriah Boulevard, Haifa
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