A true Galilee experience

El Nur at the entrance to Kibbutz Mizra rates among the best of local Arab restaurants.

El Nur serves the best that local Arab cuisine has to offer (photo credit: Courtesy)
El Nur serves the best that local Arab cuisine has to offer
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For years there was a kibbutz dining room style restaurant on the site near Kibbutz Mizra – the kind that serves buses of tourists and large groups on their way from the Kinneret and back.
Then the famous Husam Abbas’s El Babor restaurant opened a branch there. But in the last few months, the new El Nur restaurant opened on the site, and this time the owner is Billal Abbas, a member of the famous Abbas family of restaurateurs from Kafr Kana.
This is a good enough reason to go there, since the family is known for their expertise, attention to detail, professionalism and hospitality.
Walking into an Arab restaurant, you rarely find young students who play at being waiters until something better comes along.
Here, the staff is older and more professional – much like the staff one finds in restaurants in Europe.
The service is therefore that much better: attentive but not too friendly; courteous but not too familiar; and, above all, very knowledgeable and prompt.
As soon as we sat down, our table was covered with a profusion of salads. Some were excellent, such as the cauliflower in tehina; labaneh with wild mustard leaves; roasted eggplant in tomato sauce; and goat’s cheese and fresh vegetables on small pieces of toast. There were also warm stuffed vine leaves, an arugula salad and grilled halumi with sesame felafel, which was just perfect (NIS 18-21 per dish).
Abbas sat down with us, and we had an interesting conversation about the local cuisine and the traditional seasonal dishes. He offered us the seasonal drink – delicious pomegranate juice served in a jug, which was very refreshing and helped us get ready for what was ahead.
El Nur offers many meat dishes, some grilled and others cooked in the taboun. If grilled meat is your favorite, the lamb kebab (NIS 50) or lamb chops (NIS 80) are fantastic. Among the traditional Galilee dishes, the Mansaf, a rice and chicken dish, is well worth a try (NIS 100) as is the stuffed chicken (NIS 55).
If you are very hungry, the stuffed lamb chops or lamb stew (NIS 100) will fill the bill. Another recommended lamb dish is the sumptuous stuffed shoulder, which is for four diners to share (NIS 360).
I decided to go for a special that I had never tried before. A dish for two, it was lamb stuffed with rice, almonds and peanuts on a bed of frika, roasted green wheat grains.
At a hefty NIS 180, it was well worth the price. But we couldn’t finish it, so I would advise ordering it even for a family of four. But we were very happy with our choice.
With the traditional coffee and mint tea for dessert, we sampled the local knafe (NIS 30) and malabi (NIS 20) – a must if you like sweets. Both were executed perfectly: not too sweet, balanced and fresh. A truly wonderful finish to a great meal.
El Nur is not your run-of-the-mill Arab restaurant. It serves the best that local Arab cuisine has to offer, and it does so with ease and warm hospitality. We loved it.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
El Nur Not kosher
Entrance to Kibbutz Mizra near the Dor Alon gas station
Tel: (04) 642-9601
Open daily 11 a.m. until last diner
Reservations are recommended.