416 Express: Vegan food good enough for hardened carnivores - review

“We chose the location because it’s near so many other towns like Kfar Saba and Ra’anana yet it’s not a huge metropolis like Tel-Aviv, but a pleasant rural town with plenty of parking.”

 416 Express (photo credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)
416 Express
(photo credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)

What’s a gourmet vegan restaurant doing sandwiched between two fast food meat outlets on Ramat Hasharon’s main drag, Rehov Sokolov?

Explains Shai, manager of 416 Express, which is a branch of the 416 restaurant in Tel-Aviv: “We chose the location because it’s near so many other towns like Kfar Saba and Ra’anana yet it’s not a huge metropolis like Tel-Aviv, but a pleasant rural town with plenty of parking.”

“We chose the location because it’s near so many other towns like Kfar Saba and Ra’anana yet it’s not a huge metropolis like Tel-Aviv, but a pleasant rural town with plenty of parking.”

Shai

I visited for lunch recently with my vegan son and discovered the food so good that I think even hardened carnivores would enjoy a meal here.

Vegan food fit for hardened carnivores

We sat down at an indoor table – it was simmeringly hot outside – and surveyed the décor while our drinks were being prepared.

 416 Express (credit: DAVID DEUTSCH) 416 Express (credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)

The black counters and work tops are offset by shiny white ceramic brick walls, while overhead, healthy looking plants dangle from suspended bottles.

My son – and driver – drank home-made Sprite which he insisted tasted better than the real thing, and was certainly healthier. (NIS 18). I had a cocktail dubbed “waka tiki,” which had some rum, some white wine, juice and rose water. It was lovely and only faintly alcoholic. (NIS 48).

Our two starters were the rather alarmingly named “Calamari” which even I know to be something forbidden and pink – and Moroccan cigars.

The “Calamari” were in fact mushroom slices, dipped in breadcrumbs and deep fried, with a tartare sauce which was a good approximation of the real thing. (NIS 48).

The cigars were filled with some vegan protein mix which tasted like meat and were hot, crispy and delicious. Three little pots of sauce came with the cigars – tehina, salsa and spicy “mayo”, which had a hearty kick. (NIS 48).

For a main course we had “hamburgers,” Steak Rocca and “Caesar” salad. The buns were home-made and spread with a tasty avocado cream and very thin slices of fried seitan (vegan protein) marinated, then fried and served in a piquant sauce with plenty of fried onion. (NIS 68).

The second main course was a well-seasoned salad with slices of “meat,” kale and “smashed” fried potato wedges. (NIS 68).

The Caesar salad was virtually indistinguishable from the non-vegan version with the cheese replaced with an almond crumbly mix.

The restaurant offers several desserts, but we were physically unable to absorb another morsel of food.

Bidding farewell to Shai, we stepped out into the scorching heat and headed home, quite sure we would visit 416 Express again.

416 Express,Sokolow 72,Ramat Hasharon.03 6916416Open: Monday – Sunday: 12 – 22h.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.