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Visit the Promised Land – Zahav

Zahav, Philadelphia PA

http://www.zahavrestaurant.com/

02-03-2012

Authenticity is what one looks for after traveling to a foreign country whether in cuisine or in mindset. This is exactly what happened to me after visiting the Mediterranean region for over a month this past year. After going from place to place trying to find those tastes and feelings again, my taste buds began to reject what most restaurants in America claim as Mediterranean cuisine. After visiting Zahav in Philadelphia, I have found the Promised Land. 

Immediately upon opening Zahav’s doors, familiar scents and tranquil vibes automatically transport you back to the Mediterranean. Once seated, a quick glance of Zahav shows an eclectic crowd that would be the envy of any restaurateur. After taking a peek at the menu, the mixed crowd is not due to Zahav making dishes that appeal to all palates, but instead because its menu is exciting and uncompromising. They put ingredients native to the Mediterranean and give them a brilliant contemporary twist and flavor. After having the five course tasting menu with particular highlights Fried Sweetbreads and Crispy Branzino, I was thoroughly impressed. The preparation and execution of the plates at Zahav is impeccable.

During the meal Zahav Manager, Eilon Gigi, came to make sure the evening was flawless. He created a welcome feeling not felt in most establishments, and after pleasantries proved another reason why the authenticity at Zahav is difficult to beat. With the Bluejeanfoodcritic having an upcoming trip to Israel, he personally wrote down a list of restaurants to try while I was in Tel Aviv. It is difficult to get recommendations for places to eat in Philadelphia let alone half a world away. I commend him for this and as such he is an irreplaceable asset to Zahav for that experience alone. 

Zahav-Philadelphia has had its share of media coverage, so this review is nothing new. You can say that eating here deserves two thumbs up, four bells, or any combination of grading system you can think of. All I know is any way you slice it Zahav is the pinnacle of Mediterranean dining on the East Coast, period. 

Five out of Five Stars

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