Dalia Vegetarian Restaurant

Written by on April 15, 2011 in I Eat Haifa, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found at time of publishing) – Main Street, Amirim, Israel

How I heard of this place: My sister, Mojan and brother-in-law, Eric introduced me to this moshav, where a strong and little, old lady has opened a vegetarian restaurant in her home, overlooking the Sea of Galilee and surrounding hillsides and villages.

Type of cuisine: Vegetarian, vegan, cooked food, organic. This vegetarian restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, pre-set menus also available. We went, specifically for the pre-set brunch, where plates and bowls of food continuously made their way to our table, covering every square inch with beautiful colors and flavors to enjoy. We were invited outside, onto the veranda to enjoy our desserts and mint tea.

Ambiance: Every home in Amirim seems to be open to the public, either as a guest house or a dining spot. Driving through the small, windy roads, we made our way to the Main Street loop, where we found Dalia’s. We walked across the paved road, down the stairs and into this home-like establishment. Dalia greeted us at the door and seated us in the empty restaurant. As patrons walk through the screen door, a wind chime begins to chime and Dalia can rush out of the kitchen to welcome her guests. Restrooms to the right as you enter, the kitchen slightly ahead on the left, one immediately feels like she is in the home of her grandmother. Mismatched dishes, cups and eating utensils, on over-done tablescapes bring a sense of clutter, each piece of which has a story, sentimental value and meaning. The walls look like their pastel paint could use an upgrade, and the picture frames hanging host pictures and paintings of birds, ships, water and land scenery and everything in between. A larger room opens up to the left, as you gaze out the expanse of land and sea through the windows beyond the covered patio. To the right, a smaller, more cozy room is also set up with tables and chairs, covered in similar tablecloth after tablecloth, small containers of oats/granola, a vase of what resembles jade plants, salt, pepper and zatar. We are seated, request a high chair and the pre-set menu (60NIS each), and our waiter begins serving us immediately.

What I ordered: Without delay, we have our beautifully presented standing bowls of sweet yogurt with grated apple, over which we sprinkle the dried oats at our table. Eggs, sunny side up dusted with zatar and sesame seeds, dressed cabbage, pickled eggplant and onions, roasted red bell peppers, fresh tabouli, cottage cheese, labneh with a mini pool of oil and zatar, musaka (eggplant and cheese baked and covered in tahini, sprinkled with sesame seeds), shredded carrots, sweet, with sesame seeds atop, a tomato and onion salad, a small bowl of local olives, green salad with tomatoes and cucumber, dressed only with lemon juice, fried balls of zucchini and spinach, hearty and dense house-made bread and five Dalia-made jams and jellies (black raisin with date juice, reduced and thick, white grapes in a sweet orange jelly, fig jam, carrot marmalade and an extra-sweet red jam, which we guessed may have been made with currants, served alongside a honey-halva. Fresh lemonade with herbs and a carafe of water were also served to these hungry patrons. At the end of the meal, we were invited outside onto the couches of the patio for our mint, herbal tea and cake – light apple cake (which had a crumble topping) and what appeared to be chocolate date balls covered in desiccated coconut.

What I loved: My three-year-old nephew loved the labneh and cottage cheese most, being a huge fan of the dairy at our table, as well as the cake balls for dessert. My brother-in-law loved the eggs, yellow and creamy with a generous helping of zatar. My sister loved the fig spread, but wondered if it was her favorite, but when she saw the picture, remembered vividly that the eggs stole the show. I also loved the eggs, presentation-wise and for their abundant flavor, but the spreads kept me coming back – to determine which was my favorite.

Why I loved it: I love not knowing what is going to come and being beautifully surprised by each dish making its way onto our table. I also love that Dalia, herself, welcomed us, sat us and smiled as she walked through the establishment. The venue is great for a cozy retreat out of the city, without being too far (about an hour’s drive) and getting a taste of a local moshav.

Cost: Average (60NIS per – very filling – pre-set brunch)

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