The critical favorite brings Israeli cuisine to Society Hill
A modern Israeli restaurant, Zahav — which means gold in Hebrew — offers authentic Middle Eastern fare in a family-style dining setting typical of the region.
In addition to traditional Israeli cuisine, Zahav’s menu draws inspiration from the many cultures that have left their marks on Jerusalem over the centuries — including Morocco, Turkey, Yemen, Lebanon and Egypt.
With a prime Old City location close to 2nd and Walnut Streets, Zahav is an ideal choice for dinner before a night on the town.
The Zahav dining experience begins with an assortment of salads, including Israeli cucumber salad and Moroccan carrots, followed by dips like hummus and baba ganoush.
The meal continues with a diverse selection of kebabs, including The Turk, made of ground beef, pistachios and mint; and The Farsi, made of lamb with yogurt and saffron.
Traditional cooking methods are the hallmark of the open kitchen: flatbreads are baked in an authentic Arabic taboon (a wood-burning oven), while skewered meats and fish are cooked over live coals.
Zahav’s elaborate interior features a convivial setting of rustic tables, exposed wooden beams and imported stone.
Large windows overlook Philadelphia’s historic buildings, while the soaring ceiling gives the dining room an open-air quality. Long, rustic tables seat groups in the 70-seat casual dining room, while a 10-seat bar provides space for those stopping by for a quick bite and an Israeli beer or wine.
The focal point of the room is the open kitchen, which reveals coal fires, the wood-burning oven and chefs practicing the art of cooking. An eight-seat chef’s counter gives interested diners an insider’s view of the action in the kitchen.
Off the main dining room, stone archways lead to an intimate, 24-seat space known as The Quarter, where guests can enjoy a $65 prix-fixe menu that changes weekly.
The Quarter’s menu reveals a French-influenced interpretation of Middle Eastern flavors. The ever-changing menu may include lobster and mahleb (a preparation that infuses delicate lobster meat with cherry flavor), or sweetbreads served with tahini.
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