(photo credit: COBY PELED)
With its premium position overlooking the sea in Netanya, its compendious menu and spacious interior, HaYekev is one of the most popular eating places in the city, and has been for years now.
A dairy and fish restaurant, it’s a favorite of families with children, young couples, and the older crowd who find the Mediterranean menu full of familiar dishes as well as more contemporary takes on the latest culinary fashion.
We visited recently and can report that the food and welcome were both as they should be. As it was a cold evening, we chose a table inside, although once the weather warms up it would probably be lovely to sit outside under one of the huge parasols that dot the patio and enjoy the great sea view.
We chose two modest starters: roasted cauliflower and mixed mushrooms on a bed of root vegetables. The cauliflower had been dipped in tempura batter and deep fried and was served with a mayonnaise-based dipping sauce with a spicy twist (NIS 39).
The assorted mushrooms came on a bed of mashed potatoes, which I suppose are a root vegetable although I was expecting puree of parsnips or some such thing (NIS 39). Both dishes were delicious and we knew we were in for a top-notch meal.
What we hadn’t expected was the arrival of several vegetable salads served with crispy garlicky focaccia. Suddenly, confronted with mountains of food, we picked our way delicately through an assortment of vegetarian creations – humus, eggplant, guacamole, salsa, courgettes – and the best, a very original pairing of tehina with beetroot that produced a salad in a gorgeous shade of puce.
For our main courses we each chose a different fish, my partner taking the sea bass (NIS 114) while I chose the sea bream (NIS 109). The bass was a whole fish, baked and served with a crunchy coleslaw and a good lemon dressing. My dish consisted of two fillets, topped with an herb mix. In both dishes, the chef had got it just right, as both were perfectly cooked to just the right point.
To accompany my fish I had roasted ratatouille vegetables which were cooked al dente and went well with the fish.
The dessert menu is also quite extensive and choosing from the selection was challenging (from NIS 35). My companion decided to plump for the rather exotic-sounding “baked cheese with delicate vanilla cream coat served with berry sauce,” which turned out to be a standard piece of cheesecake with tart berries and a blob of Chantilly cream.
I chose alfajores, not having a clue what they were, with coconut and caramel cream, salty caramel sauce and brownie crumb garnish. Later I discovered they are a form of South American shortbread biscuits. Both desserts were excellent.
Salty caramel is one of those food inventions that have not been around very long, so I was curious to see when it emerged. It turns out it was invented in France in the 1960s, and only became ubiquitous around the ‘90s. This particular one was not quite salty enough – but the dessert was very good nevertheless.
For liquid refreshment we had a glass each of Red Israeli Journey from the nearby Kfar Vitkin Winery – a fruity warm blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Carignan. (NIS 42).
Before leaving HaYekev, be sure visit the bathrooms. Recently refurbished in patriotic blue and white, they are a joy to behold.HaYekev
Kashrut: Rabbinate of Netanya, Badatz Chatam Sofer Petah Tikva
Gad Machnes St. 6, Netanya. Tel: 09-862-2220
Full accessibility for the disabled
Sun.-Thurs, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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