Ananda: Joyful, vegan and Indian

With a vegan son and several vegetarian grandchildren, it’s always good to discover yet another vegetarian hot spot – and Ananda certainly qualifies as one.

Ananda (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
I’m grateful to my grandson, Aviad, for telling me about Ananda, the vegan restaurant located in the “Artists Stables” in Pardess Hanna.
With a vegan son and several vegetarian grandchildren, it’s always good to discover yet another vegetarian hot spot – and Ananda certainly qualifies as one.
The two partners who own and run it are Allon Sarkin and Raji Gotti, both trained chefs who merged their different culinary backgrounds – South African for Allon and South Indian for Raji – to create the menu for Ananda, open now for nearly two years.
Driving through lovely Israeli countryside, it takes about 40 minutes to get to Ananda from Netanya. The place was crowded with locals picking up their lunch and is obviously very popular.
While waiting for our food, we checked out the shops in the Artists Stables where Ananda is situated.
They are literally converted stables, once used to keep the horses that belonged to the nearby Rothschild Agricultural School – only recently closed – now housing a variety of arty boutiques. There are clothes shops, a plant nursery, an old long-playing records store and a ladies underwear shop labeled “breathing lingerie,” among others.
We picked up our meal and carted it back to Netanya to enjoy in the privacy of our home.
We began this vegan feast with samosa, triangular-shaped fried pastries filled with mashed potato, cashew nuts, peas and flavored with fresh ginger (NIS 15, 2 for 25).
“For these we use ordinary flour,” explains Sirkin, “but for everything else the flour is gluten-free.
Reheated in the oven, these were predictably delicious, with crispy batter enclosing the pungent filling.
Dosa are the South Indian version of pancakes but, of course, made without eggs. At Ananda they are made by soaking rice and lentils overnight till fermented and grinding them up to make a slightly sour dough.
The dosa are fried and filled with potato puree, onion masala, peas, chutney and salad. The taste was quite bland, and the assorted dips of various chutneys added to the flavor (NIS 35).
Biriyani, a classic Indian dish of rice with vegetables, came next. Carrots, cauliflower, green beans raisins and peanuts were added to the well-cooked basmati rice. In the restaurant it is layered and topped with carambola (star fruit), and looks beautiful as well as tasting great (NIS 48).
Finally, we sampled a traditional Indian street food, Indian cabbage salad, made from shredded green cabbage, tomatoes, green coriander and red onion, raisins and peanuts with a chickpea-based sauce and green chutney made from mint, apples and cumin. It was slightly sweet, tasted healthy but was also very satisfying as a main dish.
After such a meal we didn’t need dessert, but desserts are available at Ananda, and include sweet dosa filled with chocolate spread, which children love (NIS 30).
Ananda, which means joy or bliss in Hindi, will be available for deliveries during the lockdown. For lovers of Indian food, it’s a must.
Open for deliveries: Tues.-Thurs., noon till 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Phone: 054-353-8873.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.