With all of us stuck at home, I suppose that cooking a meal is as good as anything for filling up all the time we suddenly find at our disposal. And yet, just occasionally one needs the pampering of a ready-cooked meal prepared by someone else.
Rafaeli is one of the few truly fine restaurants in Netanya that are supplying customers with home deliveries. They have a reduced online menu which still includes some of their flagship dishes.
I spoke to Yosef Bentura, the Italian-born proprietor of the restaurant, which was established about two and a half years ago on a quiet Netanya road not far from the main square. He told me that they are supplying evening meals and he would send over some samples which he had just begun preparing. I left the choice of menu to him.
An hour later, there is someone ringing my doorbell. As times are hard, the House Committee has done away with our concierge during the daytime so I go down to the front door to pick up our dinner. A pleasant young man hands me a brown paper bag and we chat for a while. As this is very much a family business, I am not surprised to discover that he is the owner’s son-in-law and hails from Honduras. We Jews sure get around.
The starter is a plate of toasted bruschetta cut from a baguette topped with diced tomatoes and mozzarella, the whole edifice spotted with dried herbs, possibly basil (NIS 29). As we were eating the meal as our supper, the toast became quite soggy – but that was entirely our own fault. Even with this drawback, the dish was agreeable enough.
Two pasta dishes made up the rest of our food parcel. The first consisted of fettuccini in a cream and wine sauce with salmon cubes which had been first tossed in butter (NIS 49). And penne, also containing mushrooms but with the addition of truffle oil and green onions, which raised the flavor considerably. Both dishes, heated through in the microwave, were eaten with great appreciation and gratitude.
Bentura regretted he had not sent a dessert as he is not yet including them in his delivery menus. So we had to make do with the memory of his superb cheese cake which we had eaten when visiting the restaurant. We hope it won’t be too long before we can all start eating out again.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.