The name Tishbi is well established as a winery that produces some of Israel’s
finest wines but is less well known for the quality of the food served in its
dairy restaurant, which is situated next to the visitors’ center in the
When we arrive, we see the tables are set out under the
vines, which spread their tendrils over the rustic trellis work overhead. It’s a
typical hot August day, but there’s no need to huddle indoors with an air
conditioner. A cool breeze is blowing through the outdoor restaurant that is
situated high up in the hills around Binyamina, making it a very comfortable
place to sit, even on this scorching day.
We are greeted by Golan Tishbi,
the owner of the restaurant and a fifth-generation descendant of the founders of
the vineyard, which was established in 1882. In 1984 Golan’s father, Jonathan,
decided to start making their own wine.
“It was quite a struggle in the
beginning,” says Golan “People were far less used to drinking wine than they are
today when there’s so much awareness of wine and how to drink and enjoy
Nowadays the Tishbi Winery has a well-deserved reputation for
excellence. But what about the food? A year ago Golan, one of the three siblings
who run the business, hired a new chef, Gunter Biederman, to upgrade the dairy
menu. The results have been so good that people are coming from far and wide to
sample the food. A few tables away from us sat a family who had come for the
second time in a month from Jerusalem and another who had traveled from Beit
Biederman is a young Austrian chef who has some interesting and
innovative ideas about food. His wife is Israeli, and they live in Zichron
Ya’acov with their three children.
Golan is very happy with the new
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“We have the same dream,” he says. “Making the best food
As befits a well-known winery, since we could not decide
whether to drink red or white wine with our meal, Golan opened a bottle of each
and we were able to sample both a Tishbi Estate Chardonnay, 2010 and a Viognier,
2011.(both wines NIS 55).
As it was a very hot day, both bottles nestled
in buckets of ice.
The salads that came automatically as a first course
were rather different from the standard ones, and this made a welcome change.
There were haricot beans with chopped red onion in a spicy dressing, baked
kohlrabi segments and warm roasted courgette (zucchini) slices with a sweet
silan-based dressing. I especially liked the fact that very little oil was in
evidence on the salads (NIS 40).
The speciality of the house are the
handmade fish sausages that are Biederman’s pride and joy, and they are indeed
delicious. They are made from fresh salmon and cod and encased in some kind of
edible material. Very tasty and very original, they came served on a bed of
sliced mushrooms and sautéed chard, although the vegetables vary with the
season. The dish costs NIS 70 and can be eaten as a starter or a main
Other starters are eggplant with goat’s cheese (NIS 32),
antipasti (NIS 42) and a cheese platter that can vary from NIS 48 to NIS
For the main course I chose seared tuna (NIS 110) – thin and rare
slices of the freshest fish, served with a divine pepper brandy sauce which
probably owed its exceptional taste to the lashings of cream that went into
making it. My companion chose the grilled fillets of sea bream (NIS 95), which
was perfectly cooked without being over or underdone, served with home-made
pumpkin ravioli and another creamy sauce, this one made from green
Occasionally a yellowed vine leaf dropped onto our table, adding to
the bucolic flavor of the meal.
Tasting the two wines more or less
alternately produced a warm sense of bonhomie, so that when Ruth the pastry chef
appeared at our table to suggest some desserts, we felt it would have been
churlish to refuse.
We sampled the hazelnut cream mousse, decorated with
Chantilly cream, and a layered tiramisu which was especially welcome, as it was
not too sweet. An excellent cup of coffee (NIS 11) and some of the French
Valrohana pralines (NIS 4.50) sold in the winery rounded off the
Golan confides that they are aiming to create a special atmosphere
in the Tishbi restaurant.
His wife, Karen, is a potter and has made all
the rustic serving dishes coming out of the kitchen. Together with the wholesome
food, they help to contribute to the Provencal feel they would like to evoke.
After enjoying both the food and the wine, one could say they have definitely
Incidentally, the name “Tishbi” was suggested to Golan’s
greatgrandfather, Michael Chamiletski, by Chaim Nachman Bialik who visited the
vineyard in 1925. It is a Hebrew acronym for “a resident of Shefaya in Israel,”
as that is where the first vines were planted.The writer was a guest of
the restaurant.Tishbi Kosher, dairy (Supervision, Zichron Ya’acov
Rabbinate) Road 652 between Zichron Ya’acov and Binyamina Tel: (04) 628-8195
Sun-Thurs. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday until 3 p.m.
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