Puzzle Café

Written by on April 16, 2011 in I Eat Haifa, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found at time of publishing) – 21 Massada St., Hadar, Haifa

How I heard of this place: When my sister, Mojgan, first arrived in Haifa, I made a trip over the Atlantic to visit her and this is the first café she introduced me to. Over the years, everyone I know that serves at the Bahá’í World Centre brings me here for a late-night cup of coffee or fruit smoothie, dessert or snack.

Type of cuisine: A very typical Haifa/Israeli restaurant by way of food, the extensive menu boasts everything from an Israeli pre-set breakfast (44NIS) to salads and quiche (kishes), cold drinks, including fruit juices, coffee beverages and soda, milkshakes and fruit smoothies, hot drinks: espresso and tea, as well as spiked options, sandwiches, muesli, soup and sweets. Whatever you are craving, you can find at Puzzle Café.

Ambiance: Small, cozy and orange, Puzzle Café is in the heart of Massada’s street cafes and falafel stands. The outdoor patio is open to the elements, street and passing dogs, but can be closed to the rain and windy Haifa days with a transparent tarp, to keep the heat in and elements off of patrons. Wicker chairs are housed outside around intimate wooden laminate tables. Indoors, a tiny space allows for seating for two couples at tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the bar area just beyond hosts servers, when they are not outside enjoying the night air over a cigarette and laughter. The orange walls, line the stairwell, which winds up and around the front and left side of the establishment, onto an open loft, with seating for a few more, at colorful IKEA folding chairs. Sparsely decorated, the puzzle pieces that used to grace the walls have been removed, allowing for more simple and very bright orange to shine through. As with most other cafes I have been to on Massada, the space is very cozy and the service extremely friendly. The music on this evening was slightly trance-like with a bit of soft techno and hip-hop thrown into the mix.

What I ordered: My dining companion wanted a bite to eat at this late evening, while we reminisced and shared stories of catch-up, so she ordered the Mozzarella Cheese with Pesto sandwich (35NIS) served panini-style on grilled giabetta bread alongside a salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and olives, and a garlic-dill dressing/dipping sauce. She ordered a Hot Cider with Cinnamon Stick (18NIS) to wash it all down, which came presented in a large, glass mug, floating slices of dried apple and a cinnamon stick. I asked the server what he recommended between the milkshake or the smoothie, and he suggested the frozen fruit smoothie. I chose a strawberry-pineapple smoothie (24NIS) based on water. He brought a small caraf of simple syrup (sugar-water) in case I preferred a sweeter smoothie.

What I loved: I loved the thick and creamy garlic-dill dipping sauce, the freshness of the vegetables and the very herb-y flavor of the pesto. The unsweetened fruit smoothie was a delicious treat for my late-night meal and did not keep me up later than I had wanted!

Why I loved it: I love that the Puzzle Café is open late (from ten o’clock in the morning until the late hours), offers free wifi, a nice and friendly staff and good food at budget costs. I also love that most every venture to this internet hot spot has me bumping into friends, old and new, who are also enjoying their late-night meals and conversation over tasty non-alcoholic beverages.  

Cost: Low to average (Salads from 38NIS-42NIS, sandwiches from 18NIS-42NIS and beverages from 7NIS-24NIS)

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