Restaurant Review: Bon appetit

Bonofait is a French bistro nestled between Modi'in and Kiryat Sefer that offers a fantastic selection of soups, salads, quiches and pastries.

meat311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)

At the end of our meal at Bonofait, my diningpartner said to me, "Even if the food hadn't been so good, this wouldhave been a great dining experience." Taking in the view of the JudeanHills, the rustic but colorful décor and the donkeys strolling by, Ihad to agree. The food was delicious, the ambiance was superb and thewait staff was warm and welcoming.

Bonofaitis a gem that locals don't want you to know about. Despite their desireto keep such a great find to themselves, they can't help but rave aboutit. The bistro is located in Kafr Rut, a tiny picturesque Moshavbetween Modi'in and Kiriat Sefer. Bonofait's bright lime green wallsand retro fixtures create an environment which is as inviting as thefood is delicious.

Nurit Ran, the owner, has created a restaurant that is a jeweltucked away on the outskirts of fields of flowers. Birds on theirwinter migration make themselves at home, feasting on crumbs dropped bypatrons or from leftovers on the table. The birds were sweet althoughsomewhat frightening in that "man-meets-wild" kind of way.

It was a sunny afternoon in January and my dining partner and Idecided to sit outside. Dining al fresco in the winter is one of thedelights of living in Israel. At the restaurant happened to be a friendfrom my hometown in upstate New York and we laughed about how the sunwas shining and everyone back in the old country would eat their heartsout.

The restaurant is kosher dairy with a menu thatconsists mostly of soups, salads, quiches and pasta. All the food isserved on beautiful earthenware and care is taken to make thepresentation as mouthwatering as the fare. But Bonofait is not aboutputting on a show, it is about creating a great environment to enjoytheir eclectic menu. Ran, trained to be a pastry chef in France infusesextra panache into everything served.

We started with soups (NIS 32), which made a perfect complementto a crisp winter day. The bistor's daily specials change but there isgenerally the choice between creamy sweet potato, tomato and rice,French onion and pea soup. Both my dining partner and I liked the sweetpotato best; the pea soup was a nice surprise with a touch of curry butthe French onion had too much cornstarch--and since onion soup isserved best as a clear broth rich with caramelized onions, we boththought that this was totally unnecessary. To be fair, though, it wasstill delicious and I did finish the whole bowl.

Bonofaitis known for their great quiches (NIS 49). The sheep's milk quiche wascreamy, which contrasted brilliantly with the flakey crust and had justenough of the free range flavor to strike your palate as something wildand exotic but not enough to make you feel like you are eating in abarnyard. My friend one table over told us that the onion quiche washer favorite and my dining partner favored the eggplant. Along with thequiches came a healthy salad with walnuts. The crunch of the nuts setoff the soft texture of the quiche and the tang of the vinaigrettecontrasted pleasantly with the quiche's creaminess.

For those who are not into quiche, Bonofait alsohas sandwiches and pastas. I didn't try any of the sandwiches (NIS44-48) but they have eight varieties which all looked hearty andfilling, and also come with a salad.

I am a sucker for pasta and couldn't resist trying the ravioli(NIS 49). I tried two different kinds - spinach ricotta with an alfredosauce and pumpkin with a rosa (red cream) sauce. The sweet potatoravioli was an explosion of creamy sweetness. It was surprisingly lightand a definite highlight of the meal.

As a true foodie, Bonofait gave me the opportunity to challengemy palate to identify the subtle flavors of the dishes - was that ahint of cumin in the yogurt or mint? Did that soup have a hint ofcurry? Is that a sautéed fig in the quinoa?

The desserts were nothing less than fabulous. Everything ismade in-house and Ran's French pastry skills were allowed to shine. Theapple pie had a rich crust and a roasted nut topping which tastedamazing with the caramel sauce drizzled on top. The cheesecake was notthat special but the chocolate mousse topped with white chocolateganache and served on a meringue, literally sang a medley in mymouth--the sweet tune lasted long after we left the restaurant and Ispent the rest of the day enjoying the afterglow of a truly good meal.

Bonofait is located in the Kafr Rut Industrial Area. (08)976-6992. Open Sunday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm. Friday until1:00pm. Closed Shabbat and Motzei Shabbat.