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“Tastebud Delight!”
Review of Zahav

Zahav
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Ranked #3 of 4,370 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $25
Cuisines: Israeli
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Buffet, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: City Center East
Cross street: Dock Street at Walnut (Between 2nd & 3rd)
Burlington, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Tastebud Delight!”
Reviewed January 12, 2014

A colleague and I went to Zahav on a Tuesday evening around 6:00 pm. We didn't have a reservation, but had no trouble getting a table for two. We tried several dishes (perhaps a few too many), and a few definitely stand out. We tried the hummus and salad, with the twice roasted eggplant salad and the green beans in tomato sauce standing out as our favourites. We also had the fried cauliflower which was another favourite. The brussel sprouts were tasty, as was the smoked sable. The most disappointing dish was the sweetbreads, they tasted like they had been fried in old oil. The duck heart was good, and the best dish of the evening was the duck kebab. I was expecting whole meat duck, and was surprised to find ground duck patties; however they were spiced to perfection and far exceeded my expectations. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu items as well as the beverage selection, and made some great wine suggestions. We were far too full to even think about dessert, but the selection looked good. Turkish coffee was outstanding! Definitely a good meal overall, but I wouldn't say it was my favourite restaurant - there are far more places that I haven't tried yet!

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank travlr36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
    Food
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    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • German first
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English first
Trappe, PA
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“One of the best restaurants in the city”
Reviewed January 12, 2014

We went last night for dinner, and had the Tayim tasting menu ($39 pp, salads and hummus for table, two small plates, one entree and one desert pp, comments on individual plates below). The cuisine is not for everyone, and there are some dishes you may try and not care for. But if you like the cuisine, or want something different, I'd highly recommend it. We were early and they were able to accommodate us. The room is beautiful, the service was top notch with a couple of hiccups, the food was fresh, expertly prepared and overall fabulous. Compliments to Michael S and the staff. Details:

Service hiccups: I understand tapas plates being brought out when they are ready, but the Al Ha'esh plates, which are really the main courses, ought to come out together. Same with the deserts. We had one straggler for each of these last two courses. Not a big deal. I'd recommend an early reservation as they do run out of the Mesibah tasting menu.

Dishes:

Salatim: last night's choices, kale salad, eggplant salad, babaganoush, cucumber salad, beet salad. All crazy fresh and tasty. Some you'll like more than others.
Turkish hummus and laffa: Wow on the laffa. My family really liked the Turkish hummus, which is an unusual prep for hummus.
Yementite soup: my youngest daughter liked this.
Pastel: another hit with the group.
Chicken liver mousse: as good as any pate I've had anywhere.
Sweetbread schnitzel: Probably the biggest miss. A little overdone and tough.
Grilled duck hearts: for the adventurous. Unusual and tasty.
Haloumi: My wife had this and enjoyed it.
Kibbe: Very tasty.
House smoked sable: as good as any dish I've had anywhere, to me this was worth the price of admission.
Duck kebob: In essense, this is two small duck meatballs per plate. Tasty, but I would try something else next time.
Branzino: This was nice prep with tzatziki sauce. My wife loved this.
Grilled sweet potato: My daugher ordered this and didn't care for it, but I like it.
Deserts: we had white chocolate cake, vanilla pudding, and chococate cookie with ice cream. All good and inventive.

Specialty cocktail: Marble Rye, again, a huge hit. Beam rye infused with pumpernickel and carraway seeds, mixed with celery soda.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank CraigJR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
State College, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
342 reviews
149 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Wonderful service and good food. Why all the hype, though?”
Reviewed January 9, 2014

Perhaps, we were expecting a bit too much but overall, we did not understand what the hype was about. The restaurant, has an undoubtedly pleasant atmosphere: good views, high ceilings, no feeling of people sitting on top of each other, etc...
Management should be complemented: 1. It feels that there is not over-booking. We made reservations in advance (wanted to come earlier, but the only available time was 8:30), came 10 minutes earlier but were shown to our table right away. 2. Waiters worked as a team and did not bother us with "how is everything?" every 10 minutes but appeared right away when we needed one. 3. The manager on duty made rounds and had a brief conversation with us at the end of the meal asking for our feedback. 4. Waiters were knowledgeable about the food they served and truthful about the "size" of the dishes, which can be smaller than an average customer would expect.
An introductory $39 meal was rejected after a brief deliberation: we realized that we could get two of the "entree" dishes and relatively similar variety of salads and appetizers if we just pick and choose. Overall, everything was very good. The restaurant is not Israeli cuisine per se (and it is not kosher) but rather a compilation of regional Middle Eastern foods. The duck kebab, the salads, the hangar steaks were good! We also liked the sweetbread schnitzels and the fried cauliflower. My least favorite dish was humus.
At some point it seemed that we were waiting for slightly longer period of time than one would expect to wait between the appetizers and the "main course" so we the waiter pleasantly surprised us with a "compliments of the chef" dish.
Do not expect to leave with less than $100 bill for a discreet dinner for two. Zahav is most definitely a great place to have dinner and we would be back, but it did not amaze us. Just really good!

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Dmitri K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vineland, New Jersey
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Top marks across the board”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Superior in every respect. Menu selections, preparation, presentation, timing, wait staff, management ... two standard deviations above the mean for restaurants in the NE corridor. Eilon, David (from Beantown), and all the rest of the staff saw to a wonderful 30th anniversary dinner for us. The Tayim (see the menu at their web site) was exactly what we wanted both in scope and portion sizes. Salatim & hummus with laffa, the fried cauliflower, duck kebab, crispy haloumi ... and those deserts .... Zahav excels in every respect.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SJNat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paoli, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
210 reviews
188 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Beyond compare”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Have been to Zahav perhaps 6 times and it is consistently excellent. An Italian carb lover, I am addicted to the bread and hummus. The menu is unlike anything else in the city. Start off with a signature cocktail, the lemonana is my fave, a sort of lemony mojito. The food is tasty and very interesting. Absolute must haves are the fried cauliflower with dill and mint, duck hearts(trust me), and the sable. Favorite main courses are the kebabs and the hangar steak. We stick with the tasting menu, a great bargain. Don't forget to save room for dessert. You will leave quite satisfied but not overly stuffed.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Karen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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