Rai: Enjoying Bulgarian food, hospitality in Israel’s North – review

have opinion Bulgarian restaurant and a winery located in Rama, a semi-Christian Arab town in the Galilee east of Carmel.

Adeeb, the owner, was waiting for us when we arrived, though he had to bear with us as we gazed at the stunning views surrounding his restaurant – and of course took dozens of photos.

When we finally managed to tear ourselves away, we walked a few steps to the restaurant, pausing as they showed us their outdoor, water-powered grill, imported from bulgariaThe only one of its kind in Israel.

enjoying scrumptious bulgarian food

Although the outdoor space was beautiful and shady, we decided to eat inside to take advantage of the air-conditioning (it’s very hot out there at this time of year), a decision that proved to be correct, we soon realized.

The interior of the restaurant is elegant, with low-beam ceilings and huge glass windows that offer panoramic views of the surrounding hills.

Rai Winery & Restaurant (Credits: Galia Aviram)

We were shown to our table by a delightful young woman who couldn’t do enough for us.

First of all, the menu. At a glance, it was evident that this restaurant caters primarily to the locals Christian-Arab population, as well as Christian tourists visiting a plethora of historical sites in the area.

The menu is meat-heavy. Pork, veal and beef dishes make up most of the entrées, often served with a large helping of cheese.

We started with some salad, just to tingle our taste buds (it had been a long time since breakfast, and we were hungry).

At the suggestion of our waitress, we went with the Basil Salad, which was light and delicious, and the Pecheni Chushki, an authentic Bulgarian salad dish consisting of Bulgarian spices, cream cheese, brioche bread, and roasted peppers with toasted walnuts. Although I usually shy away from roasted peppers, I was pleasantly surprised by this salad. Not only was it a work of art that wouldn’t look out of place in a Michelin-starred restaurant, it was also delicious and fresh.

Then came the appetizers. Again, on the advice of our waitress, we ordered paneer based dishes. Bulgarian Cheese Pot, a hot dish served in a traditional ceramic Bulgarian pot, if a bit heavy – hardly surprising, given its name.

Main course followed after a short break.

Feeling the need to try one of the “Galilean Specials,” I ordered the kobeh labneh. Again, the presentation was second to none, and the dish was delicious. The curd chutney in which these finger sized cubes were served made for a perfect combination.

To be honest, I could have easily stopped at this point, however I went ahead to bring you, dear reader, the complete Bulgarian food experience.

Our meal consisted of two main dishes: kofta – beef meatballs with Bulgarian seasoning, served with potatoes and stir-fried vegetables; and veal quarma, slow-cooked veal with melted Kashkaval cheese, served with rice. Both mains were absolutely delicious, although I doubt I would have appreciated them more if they hadn’t been preceded by two salads, two appetizers, and a special!

Sadly, we didn’t have room for dessert, although the next table was there, and it looked scrumptious. However, I stopped short of asking them for a taste.

The meal was washed down with the winery’s rosé, a new addition to their list. Light and fragrant, this pink drink provides the perfect accompaniment to a meal.

The restaurant has a seating capacity of 100 people and also has a large function room to cater to parties of tourists, locals and those who want to celebrate a special occasion with a completely different dining experience. like to travel.

The outdoor seating area is also attractive – shady and cool, with views of the surrounding hills.

Although vegetarians and vegans may find the menu a bit limited, there are some suitable dishes that may be acceptable.

Rae Winery & Restaurant, however, is for the foodies. Those who love good, wholesome cuisine, washed down with a great bottle of wine, will feel at home there.

Just make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did – leave room for dessert!

salads start from NIS 32; Appetizers start at NIS 25; Specials start at NIS 40 and mains range from NIS 65 to NIS 220.

The author and her husband were guests of the restaurant.

Rai Winery & Restaurant is not kosher.