First Impressions: Turning into a narrow alley on the way to the Greek Orthodox Church uphill from the famous Fauzi Azar Inn, our tour group "chanced upon" the Sufdeh Restaurant. (Interestingly enough, according to our guide, Sufdeh means "by chance" in Arabic.) As fortune would have it, we nearly missed it too, what with its nearly inconspicuous façade bordered by a very high nondescript wall, nondescript surroundings, nondescript entrance and a small, brown nondescript sign. By contrast, the charming anteroom -- or indoor courtyard -- with its hanging flower baskets and non-smoking seating area ushers the guest to a plush renovated mansion, complete with high arched ceilings and beige rough-hewn stonework (again, typical of the area).
PROS: Offering traditional Arabic cuisine with a Western twist, the fusion menu has something for everyone. From the assorted choice of salads to the main entrees, the food is quite tasty and the portions generous (good enough for two). The grilled eggplant with home-made tehina on top was great. The Chicken Cordon Bleu compared admirably with other top restaurants. Oh, and their signature dessert of home-made ice cream, heaped over dates and lathered with a sweet sesame sauce is to die for! They also have an extensive list of spirits, wines, beer and liquor. Ambience was relaxed, although the clientele is decidedly young-ish. Staff in general are friendly and attentive.
CONS: Location is not its best asset. It's out of the way, taking a bit of exploration and mapwork to find this place. Parking is spotty. Better park downhill, then walk up. Consistent with most establishments, service is at a leisurely pace. This gourmet dining experience is reflected in the moderately expensive pricing.
Verdict: This is another hidden gem. Definitely worth a visit. May not be the best in Nazareth, but clearly in the top three. Book ahead, especially on weekends. Recommended. Grade A-minus.
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