Zahav is everything people say it is and more. I absolutely love it. This restaurant and it’s modern Israeli cuisine is sure to impress you. Reservations here can be hard to come by, but that isn’t because of a celebrity chef or a fleeting trend. Zahav is here to stay and most definitely some of the finest dining Philadelphia has to offer.
The interior of the restaurant is modeled after the streets of Israel, the home of chef Michael Solomonov. He started work at Vetri and in 2003 turned to Israeli cooking in 2008 when his younger brother was killed in combat. Solomov received the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2011. The food here is truly authentic and unlike anything you’ve had elsewhere.
Plates here are assembled like unpretentious art and packed with flavors to excite and entice your palette. The menu consists of small plates and there is a tasting option for $45/person as well as a special Lamb Shoulder prixe fix menu for 4 at $54/person (on special for $45/person in February). Look for reservations 3-4 weeks in advance for Restaurant Week to get the $45 tasting for $35. Reservations can be made on Opentable.
You MUST start your meal with any type of hummus and the salatim (mixed vegetable salads). The hummus is so smooth and creamy and served with Laffa which is a thinner version of pita and baked to order- also seasoned with Za’atar. My favorites for the salatim are the marinated carrots, beets, and twice-cooked eggplant. The menu is seasonal but some of my favorite Mezze small plates include the Grilled Haloumi, Fried Cauliflower, Coffee Braised Sweet Potatoes, and Pear Tabbouleh. The Al’Haesh small plates are all grilled over hot coals. I’d recommend the Eggplant, Branzino, Sirloin Shishlik, and Maitake Mushrooms.
If you love lamb then of course I’d HIGHLY recommend you make an early dinner reservation here to try this heavenly Lamb Shoulder that is brined and smoked with pomegranate seeds and chick peas. Its so tender you don’t need to use and knife and the prixe fix menu is beyond filing (including hummus, salatim, 6 mezze plates, lamb shoulder, and 4 desserts for 4 people). The Lamb Shoulders are limited and cannot be reserved so I would suggest a 6pm or earlier reservation if you want one.
Besides the food, the service here should not go unmentioned. Every member of the Zahav team is expertly trained and truly dedicated to giving you the best dining experience possible. I cannot say enough good things about this place, if you live in Philadelphia you cannot possibly miss this restaurant.