The Jerusalem Post

Raffaello: A nostalgic trip for heavenly Italian food - review

 Rafaello (photo credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)
(photo credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)

For lovers of Italian food, Raffaello is a favorite destination.

Raffaello is a chain of restaurants celebrating 30 years since it was founded by two Israeli businessmen. There is only one kosher branch, which is in Kiryat Bialik near Acre, 85 kilometers from our Netanya home.

Since I was asked to write about the chain, there was no alternative but to set off on this culinary adventure. The journey took an hour, and the lunch we enjoyed made it a journey well worth the effort.

It was something of a sentimental pilgrimage, as this year we are marking 50 years since we made aliyah, and our first home was the absorption center in Kiryat Yam, very close to our destination.

You have to pay to go through the Haifa tunnels to the North, but I was told by my son, David, who has good friends in Haifa, that you can ask Waze for a route that avoids the tunnels.


Italian food lovers, this is the place for you

For lovers of Italian food, Raffaello is a favorite destination. The place is very attractive, surrounded by windows looking out onto greenery, a black and white marble floor, impressive chandeliers and a whole wall dedicated to displaying food-themed items.

 Rafaello (credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)
Rafaello (credit: ALEX DEUTSCH)

We decided to decline the offer of cocktails, as we had a long drive ahead. However, I did indulge in a glass of cava, a Spanish sparkling wine with a real champagne feel to it, which was very uplifting (NIS 39).

Our meal began with two very good starters. My choice was “Buche Brulee Gnocchi,” which were a lovely shade of purple, thanks to the addition of beetroot to the mix. The dish was topped with a sort of cheese pancake, and loads of Parmesan was grated on the top, as well as fresh cream sauce with chestnuts and nutmeg flavors (NIS 59).

My companion’s first course was asparagus and mushrooms in cream. The fresh asparagus had been barely cooked, until al dente, and the dish was as good as it sounds (NIS 58).

For mains we each picked a fish dish; a sea bream (denis) with spinach risotto (NIS 122) and salmon primavera (NIS 122). Both were cooked to just the perfect degree, not a second too long or too short, and the spinach risotto, which accompanied my companion’s denis, was to die for. I made do with a fresh salad, but helped myself to the risotto while he wasn’t looking. The salmon had been skinned but was otherwise unremarkable.


The management insisted we try the tiramisu, which was indeed a heavenly mix of flavors with an inordinate amount of fresh cream.

For the long drive home my companion also imbibed a two-shot cappuccino, which ensured that he stayed awake long enough to get us safely home.

Raffaello192 Acre RoadCanyon Ofer Kiryon, Kiryat BialikTel. (04) 877-4367Open: Sun.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri., 9 a.m. until 3 hours before Shabbat. Sat. night - one hour after Shabbat ends until 11.30 p.m.Kashrut: Kiryat Bialik RabbinateWheelchair accessible

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.