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82 (A Restaurant in Haifa | ハイファのレストラン

January 11, 2011

I had the most memorable meal the other day. The kind of meal that I actually thought about days after, right in the middle of doing or thinking about something totally unrelated to food, and shake my head and say something in the lines of, “Damn, that was good.” And then I would resume right back to what I was doing.

We were in Haifa to part ways with our dear old car Gruti. (I’ve previously written about Gruti here and here.) We followed a tow truck that Yuval hired to take Gruti to a car garage in Haifa where they will dismantle and recycle her properly. Yuval filed some paperwork there in order to receive a stipend from the government for doing this and getting old cars like Gruti off the road. (Although we were very sad to see her go!)

On the way to Haifa one of our main concerns was lunch (of course!) and Yuval told me of an “amazing restaurant” a friend had taken him to years ago, that we must go. “What kind of food is it?” I asked. “Like… home style food.” was his reply.

I immediately thought about the Moroccan “home style food” I ate with some friends last summer in Tel Aviv. An Israeli girl of Moroccan decent had said, “Ah, this is like the food my mother makes.” (I felt privileged to eat such food.) But then again, Israel is a land of immigrants from eastern and western Europe, North Africa, the Middle East… “Home style food” can be limitless.

先日、とても印象に残る食事をしました。食事をした日から数日たっても、全く食に関係のないことをしたり考えたりしてる時でも、ふと思い出しては、頭を軽く振ったりでもしながら、「ほんっっっとうにおいしかったな〜。」などとつぶやいてしまうほどの。そしてまたせっせとやっていた作業に何事もなかったように戻る、みたいな。 笑




Romanian sausages | ローマニアのソーセージ

3 Appetizer plate | 前菜3種類のプレート

Fried red mullet | ヒメジの唐揚げ

Even before I looked at the menu, I had a good feeling about this restaurant. We got there well after 2pm, past the peak lunch hour, and there were people constantly coming and going. It was the kind of place where all diners seemed to come well prepared to treat themselves. Many plates adorned each table (I even saw two men share a dessert at the end-how cute), and everyone seemed to have a beer or two (we couldn’t resist ordering Belgian beers either). Were everyone in there tourists like us or is it a common thing of people in Haifa to get totally trashed during their lunch break?? I don’t know, but if the latter is true, maybe I should look for a job in Haifa. 🙂

It was the kind of restaurant where the walls were covered with photos and numerous articles the restaurant had been featured in over the years, paintings filling the gaps in between. Walls filled with history. Our charming waitress told us the founding couple were from Poland and Russia, and the restaurant is currently run by their son and grandson. A family business, loved by many and growing ever so strongly.

でもこのレストランは、メニューをみる前からいい予感がしました。ランチのピーク時が過ぎた午後2時過ぎに入ったのですが、お客さんが頻繁に出入りしていました。そしてお客さんが全員、贅沢をしに来たようにみえました。ここでの食事を楽しみにしてきたかのように。見渡す限りのテーブルにはお皿の山。(大人の男性二人が食事を済ませた後、デザートを半分こするのもみました。かわいい〜)そして、皆さん思わずこのレストランではビールを一杯以上頼んでしまうようです(私たちも思わずベルギービールを頼んでしまいました)。果たしてこのレストランのお客さんは全員私たちのように観光客なのでしょうか?それともハイファの人達はお昼休みに酔っぱらうことが習慣なのでしょうか?わからないけれど、もしそうだとしたら私ハイファで職探しをしようかな?? 笑


After the meal | 食事の後

And the food, oh, the food. The 3 Appetizer plate came with a pate, a creamy seafood dip, and an eggplant paste. That alone could have been a meal. The Romanian sausages were incredible, spiced in a way that I’ve never experienced before. The fried red mullet came with a sweet and spicy chili sauce and a tartar sauce. Delicious.

To me this is one of the best things about visiting or living in a foreign country – to experience the kind of food I never would have otherwise.

I’ve always wanted to go to Romania ever since I played a beautiful, mysterious piece on the violin by Bartók, a Romanian composer, as a child. But now I have another reason to want to go there.




The restaurant:
מעיין הבירה
Maayan Habira
4 Natanzon St, Haifa

Much love,

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