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Tishbi winery.(Photo by: DANNY GOLAN)
The Tishbi Experience
The winery offers one of the best brunches in the area.
One of the hardest culture shocks for new immigrants is the realization that Sunday is a perfectly ordinary working day and not the lazy laid-back day it was in “hul” (abroad) – a day to read the Sunday papers, do the garden and visit family.
But one quickly learns that Friday morning is a good substitute and Israelis can pack a great deal into their Fridays besides preparing for Shabbat.

It’s a day for observant Israelis to have a leisurely breakfast or lunch out, a light meal to see you through the day knowing that Shabbat dinner lies ahead.

One of our favorite places for brunch is the Tishbi winery on the road between Zichron Ya’acov and Binyamina. It has the advantage of being able to accommodate large numbers of guests and still maintain a feeling of intimacy because of the different seating areas available.

You can be inside the old house around a heavy oak table, on the patio, or under the trellises in the outside garden.

Since our last visit a few years ago, the vines covering the trellis have grown even thicker and the tables made from weathered wood look inviting. On this particular day, a cool breeze was winning the battle with the summer heat.

As we sat down, a bottle of cold water and glasses appeared, followed by the flatware neatly packaged in a blue envelope bearing Tishbi logos.

And even before we had ordered our meal, a casserole of cannelloni filled with broccoli buds in a rich tomato sauce had appeared, just the thing to allay hunger pangs until our orders were ready. Having enjoyed the creations of Chef Gunther Biedermann on several occasions, we settled down for what we knew would be a great meal.

We began our meal with antipasti, which in Israel has come to mean roasted vegetables, rather than hors d’oeuvres, its real meaning – one of those linguistic mutations that happen here quite often like “make-up” (mek-ap) used to mean foundation rather than the whole works.

It consisted of the usual suspects – eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, mushroom and red pepper, but the dips were more original.

An innocuous looking salsa turned out to be made of chopped chili peppers and required gallons of cold water to extinguish the fire in my mouth. However, the green olive tapenade, tomato salad and humus topped with good olive oil were kinder to the palate (NIS 50), as was the other starter, smoky eggplant with mozzarella and pine nuts.

For a main course my companion chose the seared fresh tuna with asparagus (NIS 68). The slices of fish were very good, seared on the outside but rare within and the fresh asparagus made an aristocratic and crunchy side dish.

I chose the Tishbi salad, a healthy dish reminiscent of Waldorf, with apples, walnuts and some adorable sun-dried cherry tomatoes, which were sweet and chewy like raisins (NIS 58).

As it was around noon, and we don’t do any serious drinking until there’s a number six on the clock, we each drank a glass of a Tishbi Riesling of very recent vintage which was refreshing and did the job adequately (NIS 25 a glass).

Tishbi employs a dessert chef, Maya Didi, whom we met while inspecting the tempting array of sweets on view in the refrigerated glass cabinet. As usual, I could not resist the lemon meringue pie, which was as good as it looked. My companion’s cheese cake choice arrived heated and browned at the suggestion of Ms. Didi. It was very creamy although made with only 5% cheese, maybe thanks to the thick cream content.

Before leaving, we spoke with Golan Tishbi, the owner and descendant of the original pioneer founders of the winery. He has grandiose plans to expand the restaurant into a “super high-end” self-service place with a chocolate school to boot. We can’t wait to try it.

Tishbi Winery,
Road 652, between Zichron Ya’acov and Binyamina.
Sun. to Thurs, 8 -15.30.
Friday- 8-14.
Closed Shabbat.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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