Philadelphia Shel Zahav


237 Saint James Place, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Rating: 5/5. If I could, I would give it more.
Ideal for: Family Gathering, Celebration.
Price: High-Price.

 It is not a surprise that Chef Michael Solomonov has won several awards for his incredible cuisine. Any Philadelphian knows how good his restaurants are, and if you haven’t done so, please visit every single one of them. Especially Zahav.

Zahav (gold in Hebrew) is a must for anyone who visits the Philadelphia area. Beware, though; you will need to make reservations at least three months in advance.  As we say back in Venezuela, “lo bueno se hace esperar” (good things are worth waiting for).

When my family and I first arrived to Zahav, we noticed the atmosphere. All the tables were filled with people enjoying their plates. I swear I didn’t see an empty seat in the restaurant. The decoration made me feel that I was in Jerusalem especially the room we were eating at. It had very dimmed lights, and walls that resembled the Jerusalem stone (pale limestone) It was a mix between a balagan (mess in Hebrew) and a calm place.

From the moment we sat down the wait staff made sure that we were comfortable, something that felt very nice. We spent so much time looking at the menu and deciding what each of us would eat that I was surprised out waiter didn’t snap. Instead, he explained the menu, each of the plates, and what he recommends. He even told us that we could get extra hummus, and if there is a lesson I can teach you today it is to never say no to hummus.

We were five people eating at the restaurant, so each of us got Zahav’s tasting menu; Tayim (tasty in Hebrew). This includes all its salads and hummus, two Mezze (small plates), one Hal Ha’Esh (al grill plates. Esh means fire in Hebrew) plate and dessert. The tasting menu is perfect for sharing, especially if others in the table choose a different plate. This is something I highly recommend so you can get to experience the whole menu.

Each of the salatim (salads in Hebrew) reminded me of the flavors I experienced when I lived in Israel. Its beet salad was by far my favorite, and the roasted eggplant salad isappeared from its plate after five minutes. My brother loves anything eggplant, so I am not surprised when we ordered a second plate of this salat (salad in Hebrew). My favorite part of these entrees was the Turkish Hummus. It is mixed with butter and garlic, making it the perfect creamy spread for the laffa that is homemade at Zahav. It was so good, that we had to buy its cookbook to attempt to make it at home.*



For the Mezze selection, we got every possible option. Well, we got most of them, and they gave us one on the house as well. The halloumi was the one I personally enjoyed the most, and not only because halloumi is my favorite cheese, but because the combination of apples, walnuts, and dates with the cheese were the perfect combination of sweet, sour and salty. It was so good that my mouth is watering as I write this.

The Yellow Tuna, Pastilla and Brussels Sprouts were also among the best dishes of the night. By the time Al Ha’Esh plates arrived, we were so full and happy that we were shocked we were not finished, but we made the sacrifice to finish the food. I say that last statement in a very joking note, as no matter how full we were, we kept wanting more.
















The eggplant my brother had was superb, the Branzino my dad ordered was cooked to perfection, and the mushrooms were beyond good.



For dessert, we got one of each, which include my favorite: chocolate knaffe (konafi), a dessert that is made with thin noodle threads and typically filled with sweet cheese, and bathed in a sugar sauce. We also got its Malabi custard and its almond basboosa.



Jewtina Tips: Everyone should get different plates. You will love sampling from every item of the menu!

Teenu- Disfruta- Enjoy!

*we did make it, and it was delicious!