Restaurant Review: A chain with ‘chen’

Café Tov offers a good deal in every sense of the term.

Café Tov (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Café Tov
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Most of Haifa’s restaurants and coffee shops are situated on the city’s main streets to encourage shoppers to stop for rest and sustenance. Café Tov chose its location in the quiet residential neighborhood of Ramat Chen in order to reach out to the local community. For this café is part of a small chain within the framework of the nonprofit organization Kvutzat Shekulo-Tov (“all that is good”) The café is warm and intimate, with pleasant lighting and a brick wall that absorbs noise. A large bookcase in the corner holds a small selection from the bookshop run by the organization on downtown Ha’atzmaut Street. An outside patio catches the sun, and in winter and summer the interior and outdoor tables are full at all times of the day for morning coffee, brunch, afternoon tea, supper. And all at NIS 20 a portion.
Ruth Magid, a social worker by profession, is director of rehabilitation for people with mental health issues. Supported by the Health Ministry, the organization aims to provide vocational training and promote job opportunities for people in recovery, whether they are living in their homes or in halfway hostels.
“Some of the staff of our cafés have catering experience,” says Magid, adding that there are three other branches in Hadera, Lod and Yehud, where the café is within the HP company premises.
“For most people who work here, it is a training opportunity. It may not be a career change, but it provides a period to practice before they get back into the workforce and develop their skills and selfesteem,” she says.
While my dining companion and I enjoyed the quick and polite service and good food attractively served, we talked to Magid and the café’s work specialist, Maya Koral. The café is open all day throughout the week, and manager Nir Cohen makes sure that things run smoothly in the kitchen where the food is prepared on site and that the service is fast and efficient.
Magid spoke briefly about other projects of the organization, such as handicrafts and confectionary products that are sold in shopping centers throughout the country.
Asked how they can run a commercial café at such reasonable prices, she explained that the project is subsidized by the organization with support from the mental health services of the Health Ministry and the National Insurance Institute.
My choice for brunch was the omelet sandwich, which consisted of four dainty crusty rolls, baked on the premises, filled with egg, cream cheese and vegetables, accompanied by a crisp green salad.
My companion had the aubergine lasagna, which was flavorful and was accompanied by a salad.
After two cups of good coffee and a cinnamon pastry for dessert, we left the café feeling satisfied after a healthy and tasty meal.
Other options on the menu are an Israeli breakfast with choices of ingredients; or shakshouka, a breakfast favorite for those who like their eggs spiced up. There is a choice of sandwiches and toasted baguettes with a wide variety of fillings. A selection of pastas with sauces and alternatives that would easily suit the vegan customer, and oven-prepared lasagna or pizzas are served in generous portions, also included on the NIS 20 menu. The large array of salads includes an unusual toast salad with garlic butter spread on toast, accompanied by onions and salad vegetables.
There is also a children’s menu that includes spaghetti, toasted bagel, a selection of eggs and salads.
For customers who don’t want a full meal, coffee and croissants or pastries can be ordered for NIS 13, and there are hot and cold beverages that range from NIS 6 to NIS 9.
Café Tov
7 Bat Chen Street, Haifa
Kosher. Dairy
Tel: (04) 887-7276 (to reserve a table or order deliveries)
Weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.