Makom Balev 5 Pardess Meshutaf Rd Raanana Tel 09 7741575 Sun-Thurs 8:30-23:00 Fri 8:30-15:00 Sat 17:00-23:00 For my birthday earlier this month, I was taken to Makom Balev in Ra'anana. Wow. This is one of the nicest coffee shop-restaurants I have visited in the country. We went for breakfast (which was excellent). However, after scanning the menu once, I knew I'd be returning for a lunch or dinner. Makom Balev is situated in a verdant plot enclosed by trees and shrubbery and replete with a small bridge over a river. Bustling Israel is left behind at the entrance. The outdoor seating sections here are varied. There are two big areas - one raised on a platform - with wooden chairs and tables, and umbrellas during the day to block out the sun. There are also solitary tables located in small niches, some hidden in an alcove, one up above everyone else on a sort of treetop ledge. And there are free-range chickens and roosters roaming about. The atmosphere is charming both outdoors and indoors. Inside, patrons enjoy a trip into the past. The decor here is that of a nineteenth century kitchen. Oversized kettles, old-fashioned grinders, and other utensils not often seen in modern kitchens are on show. There are two other large spaces with traditional wares at the cafe - though they are used for functions only. And Israelis fond of the old "gazoz" stands will be delighted to hear Makom Balev rebuilt one on its property. And while reservations for evenings or Friday mornings are recommended, even when full, Makom Balev is organized so that no table rubs shoulders with another nor do patrons take part in one another's conversations. Moreover, the service is prompt and first-rate. I look forward to my next visit.