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My parents live in Kfar Saba. Every Tuesday I meet my mother at her hometown for lunch and every Tuesday we have to decide - should we sit at that nice cafe in Hod HasSharon or should we sit at that nice one in Kfar Saba. Many times, since the variety is so slim, we just decide to have a falafel. Therefore, when I heard that Asaf Lev, the man behind the great Belini restaurant in Tel Aviv, opened Piano Piano, an Italian restaurant at the new G complex in Kfar Saba, I was as giddy as a school girl. We were so excited that we called up my sister who happily joined us with her boyfriend.
Piano Piano is Italian for slowly, slowly. A strange name for a restaurant placed in the always packed G complex. It is even stranger when Lev tells us that this restaurant is meant to be the first branch in what will be a chain of Italian food restaurants . Really, the words 'chain' and 'restaurant' combined together usually make me want to avoid the place. Every place that started as a restaurant, usually gets worse and worse with every new branch. However, if Lev will be able to maintain the great level of food combined with very reasonable prices in all his branches, which I will emphasize even more later, he is on the right path to success.
We started with beet carpaccio (thinly sliced beet) with vinegar and feta cheese. The combination of the sweet beet with salty feta and sour vinegar creates a terrific dish (NIS 36). We also took the house bread which was soft, fresh and delicious. For main course, I took the gnocchi with cream and truffle sauce for only NIS 44. Now is the time to emphasize the prices part. Never before did I have a dish with truffles for under NIS 50, especially with the gnocchi itself being fresh and not store bought. The dish was delicious, although a bit too heavy for me to finish it all. My sister took a great risotto. Once again a phenomenon - a risotto as good as the one in Belini, yet cheaper. Not to mention the great fillet her boyfriend had: 200g of great meat with a pasta or fresh salad on the side for only NIS 88. How is that possible? And why aren't these prices everywhere?
When Lev saw what we ordered, he insisted that we also try the pizzas. We were glad he did. The special oven he brought from Italy gives the pizza a slight wooden aroma, stemming from the logs stacked underneath it. We took the arugula pizza, with just mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and arugula and couldn't stop eating it even after we were all full.
My mom, god bless her soul, has to have dessert every time we go out. Even at the local falafel stands. So we ordered the crÃ¨me brule and the penna cotte, the only two desserts the place has. I didn't go crazy for them, but my mom and sister loved them.
It must be said that this is not a fast food restaurant. The service was too piano piano,but that is mainly due to the fact that the place was packed for the entire two hours we were there. With such great food and terrific prices, I can understand why.
Piano Piano is located at at 207 Weizmann street, at the G complex, Kfar Saba. (09)768-8778. Opening hours are Sunday to Saturday noon to last customer. Not Kosher. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.