Meals at the Rimonim Hotel
Until relatively recently, the terms "Jewish cooking" and "gourmet dining" had, seemingly, little in common. Eastern European Jewish cooking was viewed as being basically meats and starches, with a healthy dose of chicken shmaltz (fat) in almost everything, while the dishes of North African Jews, mostly from Tunisia and Morocco, were viewed as simple and spicy.
This was true for "Israeli cooking" as well, which was widely believed to consist of nothing more inventive than the ubiquitous falafel...a dish that, in any case, has its origins in Arab cuisine.
In recent years, Jewish and Israeli cooking has begun to develop. Connoisseurs of fine dining have come to appreciate the intricacies that go into preparation of "Jewish food". Israeli cuisine is has also begun to attract the notice of reviewers as Israeli chefs have become more adventurous in their cooking, and more aware of how to use native Israeli fruits and vegetables in preparation of traditional Jewish food.
Dining at the Rimonim Hotel
In Tzfat, this trend has been most noted at the local Rimonim Hotel. The Rimonim Hotel is Tzfat's 5-star hotel, offering hospitality in a natural yet gracious and luxurious setting. For many years, in addition to its hotel accommodations, the Rimonim has extended its dining facilities to people from outside the hotel as well as its own guests, and during this time, the reputation of the Rimonim dining room has grown to the point that its dining room is today appreciated as Tzfat's main kosher gourmet eatery - indeed, one of Northern Israel's most celebrated gourmet eateries.
This reputation is well-deserved, especially in the last few years, as the chefs have become increasingly aware of new and creative ways to prepare the food in accordance with the rich offerings of Israel's land. Vegetables are local, seasonable and plentiful, lightly cooked with hints of herbs and spices that bring out their bountiful flavors. There is also a wide variety of grains and legumes, so the various meats and fishes become a secondary to the healthier produce which is offered in a wide variety of ways.
The meals are served buffet-style, and diners have an assortment of dozens of salads and side dishes to choose from at every meal, with a large selection of meats, poultry and fish to select. Diners are welcome to return to the buffet often, and homemade breads complete the gastronomic experience. The Rimonim's dining room is set in the hotel's garden, surrounded by the greenery of the plants and foliage that create the lovely atmosphere that the Rimonim is so well known for. A magnificent view of Mt. Meron completes the experience, and diners often take their coffees and scrumptious deserts outside to the garden to enjoy the scene.
Aside from Rimonim guests, others are also welcome to order meals at the Rimonim - breakfasts, with their salads, fruits and delectable cakes are a favorite - and it is possible to pre-pay and arrive with a voucher, which makes the Rimonim meals an easy option for Sabbath-observant guests who don't handle money on Shabbat.
The Rimonim may be contacted by phoning 972-4-699 4666 to order or inquire about their dining opportunities. Breakfasts are 75 shekels per person, and dinners and Shabbat meals are 130 shekels per person.