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Posted by Dennis P on 04/19/2012
We just experienced a wonderful South African dinner at Zahav. Chef Dean Hildebrand did a great job hosting this special event. I have been blessed to dine all over the world and Zahav is one of the best. The enthusiasm, ingenuity and talent of Chef Mike and all his staff makes the experience a must when in Philadelphia.
Posted by Andrew on 10/30/2011
Pickled baby eggplant. It greets you in a small dish, with two choice olives, and Israeli pickles. But it's the bite-sized eggplant that draws your attention, with its reddish hue and intriguing shape. Bite into it and immediately realize the briny tang, then appreciate the surprise of its velvet texture. That's Zahav in a microcosm. You have had a culinary experience; a delight of visual interest, taste and texture and you haven't even seen the menu. How to adequately praise a restaurant that has done something new? New in the sense that with energy, focus, creativity and care a formerly neglected repertoire has been elevated. Zahav fuses the cuisines of the Mediterranean, middle east and north Africa with a nod to eastern Europe. I am an experienced diner, and have never dined like this. Here's how an evening with the tasting menu goes. After some explanation from the enthusiastic wait staff, hummus arrives. You've had hummus before. Not like this. Next come the salatim: a tower of small dishes, each an essay in color and flavor: carrots in Moroccan spices; shredded beets with tchina, a salad of the freshest chopped cucumber and tomato. Eight in all: some familiar, others not. Each fresh, distinct, and packed with flavor. Next come a series of small plates. Fresh figs dressed with feta cheese, fried cauliflower with yogurt sauce, beef kibbe with a core of pumpkin seeds to dip in tchina. Cubes of fried sheep's milk cheese with fig jam. A bowl of squash-infused broth with a now-famous "fish meatball," really a gefilte fish, though not one your Yiddishe grandmother would necessarily recognize. Third course: lamb shoulder, slowly braised, basted with pomegranate juice. A plate of meat, almost medieval in proportion, that will cause a carnivore's eyes to open in amazement. Meltingly tender. You will eat more than you thought you should, because it is so luscious. Dessert! Turkish coffee ice cream with warm chocolate ruggelach. A cup of custard with fresh blueberries on bottom and praline chickpeas on top. A chocolate-in-phyllo pastry. All this in a lovely room of quiet sophistication, happily professional service, and a remarkable background soundtrack of modern Israeli music. Did I mention the price for this extravaganza of discovery and delight that unfolds over more than two hours, the most expensive option on the menu? $45. Not often have I left a restaurant feeling not merely well fed, but, actually, grateful.
Posted by Nammels on 05/30/2011
Food is delicious, every bite. The hummus here made me change my entire hummus recipe and now it gets raves, but it's still nowhere near as good as theirs. Excellent and abundant vegetarian options, knowledgeable staff. This is a place that is WELL worth a restaurant week visit. Really, there is no dish here that we haven't loved. Their desserts are also fantastic and you know that's a rarity! Go here and smile because you made a great choice.
Posted by David S on 05/23/2011
What a delight. Usually middle Eastern or Israeli restaurants are poorly or tastelessly design. Not this one. Great looking happy and young. Taste in everything. Great prefix deal. Good drinks perfect location.desserts need to be improved. Ideas are there execution is not always. We loved one out if 3. Plenty of food. We are terribly picky but here I say Go go go.
Posted by anonymous on 02/27/2011
Nice ambiance. However, the food and service left much to be desired. Waitstaff was impatient-kept coming to ask if ready and kept trying to push the sampler menu that was pricey. Portions quite small. Coffee and tea were cold. I did like the three spices offered to add to any dish.
Posted by anonymous on 12/10/2010
My meal at Zahav was one of the best I've had at Philly. Even dishes I wouldn't ordinarily care for (beets, carrots, baklava) were amazing. The appetizer of 8 salads was out of this world and even though not huge, it was worth every penny. Very comfortable, warm atmosphere and I'd love to come back again!
Posted by Cary on 08/06/2010
This is food no better than served on a cart outside a university. Everything doused in salt. The small portions were ok because its nothing you really want to eat anyway. And oh, $350.00 for 5 of us, with 1 drink each! Service was good but food was dismal.