Pretty location

Baronita serves excellent kosher meat dishes in Zichron Ya’acov.

Baronita (photo credit: AZELET ZIONI)
(photo credit: AZELET ZIONI)
Zichron Ya’acov must be one of the prettiest towns in Israel, and Baronita – a kosher meat restaurant housed in what were once the stables of Baron Rothschild – must be one of the most attractive eating places in the country.
The proprietor and chef is Ayelet Sion, who was born and raised in the area and who took time out from the kitchen to extend a warm greeting.
Not much remains to remind one that these were once stables, but the decor includes plants on every table, wagon wheels and authentic-looking wooden shutters painted bright turquoise to match the chairs and tables. Diners can choose to eat inside or in the outer courtyard tiled in terra-cotta, surrounded by healthy-looking potted plants.
As the nights are getting chillier, we chose to sit inside, and perused the menu. Our very helpful waiter, a local lad, post-high school and pre-army, suggested we go for the three-course tasting menu and we readily agreed (NIS 120).
A basket of ultra-fresh home-baked rolls studded with seeds appeared, and with them several dishes with a variety of starters. There was a dish of black lentils, marinated in a vinaigrette dressing, a tabbouleh dish garnished with pomegranate seeds and herbs, a salad of tossed leaves which included apple slices and more pomegranates, and a spicy homemade tehina.
Another dish we really liked but couldn’t identify turned out to be a lentil paté, and finally a very hot s’hug, the Yemenite concoction made from green chili peppers, which is safe to eat only in very small helpings, preferably with a glass of cold water to hand.
All the salads came in very attractive ceramic dishes of different colors. And, wonder of wonders, every salad had its own serving spoon.
Antipasti, i.e., grilled vegetables, also made an appearance. This version also included fennel, a vegetable not to everyone’s taste because of the aniseed flavor, but which we liked.
For a main course I chose pargit (boneless chicken thigh). It was very tender and cooked in a slightly sweet sauce. My companion chose the meat balls, which were also very tasty and had a distinct flavor of cinnamon. Basmati rice and sautéed potatoes accompanied the meat. The beautiful earthenware dishes added to the pleasure of the food.
We drank a glass each of Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon, which enhanced the meal (NIS 24).
The desserts were made not in the restaurant but by workers employed by a company designed to give work to people with special needs.
They included sushi chocolate, chocolate truffles and a parve Ferrero Rocher lookalike. They were all very good and, taken with a glass of mint tea, provided a refreshing and sweet ending to what had been a very pleasant evening.
Hanadiv 27
Zichron Ya’acov
Tel: 073-759-6028
Sunday to Thursday: Noon-10 p.m.; Friday and eves of holidays: 10 a.m.-one hour before Shabbat and holiday.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.