ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Photo credit: Wael Abu Jabal
Photo credit: Wael Abu Jabal

Fattoush: A hidden gem of coexistence

Nestled at the foot of the magnificent Baha’i Gardens, Fattoush is a delicious oasis

Sarah Tuttle-Singer, The Times of Israel social media editor, is an LA expat (reluctantly) growing roots in Israel. She’s also a contributing editor at Kveller.com. Dangerous when bored.

In an Israel that is sometimes divided across religious and cultural lines, Haifa is a special place — a truly mixed modern city where Arabs and Jews don’t just eat at the same restaurant, they actually sit at the same table. They work together as lawyers at the same firm or colleagues at Rambam Medical Center, or they’re just friends from university. Coming from Jerusalem where we may live side-by-side but are also incredibly separated, seeing folks in Haifa talking together in Hebrew and Arabic — laughing and joking, sometimes arguing, but truly connecting — is refreshing and gives me hope for the future.

One place where this is especially evident is at Fattoush.

Nestled at the foot of the magnificent Baha’i Gardens, Fattoush is an oasis for locals and tourists. The vibe is enchanting — a verdant outdoor garden area with small tables and plenty of shade, and then inside patrons are greeted with a series of intimate rooms, each offering a unique and inviting atmosphere.

The rooms exude an air of old-world charm — colorful walls, filigree lamps, bright tiled floors from decades ago — but with a modern twist: rotating art exhibits, and fresh menu choices, and a gorgeous cocktail menu. It is a seamless blend of tradition and modernity, and a spectacular testament to the rich cultural tapestry that Haifa embodies.

While the restaurant’s interior is a sight to behold, it is the eponymous Fattoush salad that steals the show. It’s sooooo good. A fan favorite, this salad consists of a generous helping of freshly chopped tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, zesty onions, and fragrant mint leaves. Everything is fresh and crisp and just perfect. The salad is crowned with crunchy toasted pita pieces, adding a delightful texture to the medley of flavors.

The meat dishes (not kosher) are also superb — local flavors from old family recipes, cooked to perfection and beautifully plated. I especially recommend the maqluba (written on the English menu as maaloube). Their desserts (I’m a fan of the tahini ice cream) are also delicious. You can order a few and share (try the ice cream with halva cake).

It’s an EXPERIENCE — all of it. It isn’t just about the food. From the vintage eclectic aesthetic to the variety of flavors, to the staff who speak English, Arabic and Hebrew, Fattoush pays homage to the exquisite mosaic of Haifa — and, even if you just go for a cup of coffee or a drink, it’ll give you a sense of the possibilities for true coexistence in this remarkable land.

Hours:

Sunday 8:30 am–11 pm

Monday 8:30 am–11 pm

Tuesday 8:30 am–11 pm

Wednesday 8:30 am–11 pm

Thursday 8:30 am–11:30 pm

Friday 8:30 am–11:30 pm

Saturday 8:30 am–11 pm

NON KOSHER

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