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10 Great Places for Pizza

While most Italian restaurants serve pizza, there are pizzerias that specialize in making only that one thing, as well as bakeries and non-ethnic restaurants that have realized that there is one dish whose popularity transcends strict culinary boundaries. The following list comprises a cross-section of eateries, from fancy to no-frills, whose common denominator is good pizza. There is even a surprisingly large representation of vegan pizzas. The places are listed in alphabetical order, and four of them are certified kosher.  

Brown

The upscale brasserie Brown -- casual brunch place by day, white tablecloth restaurant by night, with a pleasant al fresco seating area -- is the kind of place you go to when one person in the party wants pizza, and the other(s) do not.

Chef Michal Levy trained in Italy, so there are always specialties of continental and Italian cuisine on the menu -- including pastas, pizza, and another recommended dish that comes out of the stone oven, the herbed focaccia, served with a variety of dips and spreads.

The pizzas at Brown are personal size: each one comprises four large slices. The permanent pizzas on the menu include antipasti -- eggplant, red onion, peppers, cherry tomatoes, basil and feta cheese -- and meat: pepperoni and Gouda cheese. Coming up for the summer is a white pizza with mascarpone, crême fraîche, salmon cured in-house, spinach, egg, dill and scallion. In addition, there are occasional seasonal variations, reflecting a menu that is constantly featuring fresh ingredients.

Brown has a full bar that offers eight specialty cocktails and a more than adequate wine list, plus a reasonable selection of beers.

Dessert is always a good idea at Brown, which has a dedicated pastry chef and an on-site bakery. Instead of being listed on the menu, desserts are on display and explained by the wait staff. Regardless, ask for a taste of one or more of the premium homemade ice creams; the pistachio here is the best I have had anywhere.

Brown. Not kosher. G Tzameret Mall, 10 Nissim Aloni St., Tel Aviv. Tel: (03) 544-4024 


Dan Accadia

A luxury hotel is likely not one of the places that comes to mind when thinking about where to go for pizza. But the Dan Accadia's dairy restaurant not only has a special pizza menu, it boasts a lovely terrace overlooking the beach in Herzliya which makes a great place to relax al fresco. And there are not many kosher places serving pizza that can make that claim.

The hotel's sole dairy restaurant has a pretty extensive menu, but a colorful separate menu promotes its "pizza deal": one pizza plus one glass of wine or beer for NIS 88. Each pizza comprises eight small slices, and is large enough to share.

Two characteristics make this pizza menu different from most others: (1) a majority of the specialty pizzas -- four out of seven -- are white; and (2) the pizzas are laden with sauce and/or cheese from end to end. The white pizzas in particular are smothered under a thick blanket of cheese, certainly the most generous layer of melted cheese of all the entries in this list.

All food orders come with a complimentary basket of warm, fresh rolls, served with soft butter and olive oil. They are delicious while waiting for your pizza, but also filling.

As if all these carbs and calories weren't enough, you will be invited to view beautifully crafted desserts on display. It is not easy saying no the pastry chef's artistic temptations.

Dan Accadia Hotel. Kosher. 122 Ramat Hayam St., Herzliya. Tel. (03) 959-7031

Domino's: Assaf Granit

I imagine more than a few eyebrows may be raised upon seeing a chain identified more with quantity and speed than quality in this column on great pizza, but rest assured: the Assaf Granit line of artisan pizzas at Domino's is as good as any competitor's in the country -- and better than most. And even though Domino's in Israel is predominantly not kosher, these pizzas are available also in the chain's kosher outlets in Petah Tikvah.

Granit, of course, is the celebrity chef who has won acclaim for his restaurants not only in Israel but also in London. He created a line of seven pizzas for Domino's, only two of which contain meat. They even look different from the usual pizzas: they are rectangular, with sauce and toppings from end to end (no raised edges); each one comprises six square slices.

Not only are the toppings on these pizzas distinctive, but separately packaged additional premium toppings -- such as pine nuts and truffle cream -- are also provided. And the really good news is that a new Assaf Granit tasting menu allows you to sample slices of three different pizzas (from two different categories, vegetarian or meat) for the price of one.

The menus in the stores may not be in English, but they are illustrated in such detail that the language hardly matters. The diagrams also indicate the various sizes in which Domino's regular and specialty pizzas (Mix) may be ordered, the 19 toppings available, and the four possible varieties of dough, including gluten-free. There is also a Vegan Zone.

In addition to pizzas, there are three side dishes, and four calzones. There are also three categories of desserts: two Domino's originals, two in conjunction with Roladin, and containers of Haagen Dazs ice cream, in various sizes and flavors. Beverages are exclusively soft drinks, some available in family sizes only.

Finally, while most of Domino's business is delivery or take-away, all stores have seating areas.

Domino's. Non-kosher branches throughout the country, kosher outlets in Petah Tikvah. Tel. 1-700-70-70-70. 


Grinberg Pizza

Grinberg Pizza is one of restaurateur Zviki Eshet's burgeoning empire of popular eateries, which also includes the adjoining Grinberg Bistro and Greco Taverna. It is a classic pizza joint, with no kitchen but a wood-fired stone oven. All the seating is outdoors.

The pizza dough is made fresh daily from flour imported from Italy, and the sauce also prepared daily from tomato paste imported from Italy. From the time a pizza is ordered, it is made fresh, baked and ready in seven minutes. The standard pizza comprises eight slices; there are also personal size pizzettas.

There are 15 specialty pizzas on the English menu, all of them bearing Italian names. Roughly half are made with tomato sauce, and half without; there are also ample vegetarian options.

At any given time, about a dozen of these varieties are visible in the display case, already pre-cut in large triangular slices. In addition, pizzas may be customized with any combination of 21 available toppings, including premium options like Gorgonzola and truffle.

Besides pizza, there is one side dish on the menu every day -- a soup de jour in winter, or a salad of the day in summer. A limited selection of beer and wine is sold in individual small bottles.

There are just a few desserts served at the pizza place itself -- including a tempting Nutella mascarpone calzone -- since most customers simply head next-door to the Grinberg Gelateria, which sells cake, cookies and pastries alongside its Italian ice cream. For a special treat, try the unique sage cream gelato.

Grinberg Pizza does a brisk take-away business; it also offers delivery service.

Grinberg Pizza. Not kosher. 25 Uri Zvi Grinberg St., Azorei Chen, Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 744-4022 


Kofinas

Kofinas is a rural restaurant located in a moshav in the Sharon, with al fresco seating surrounded by greenery. There is plenty of convenient, free parking.

The full bar offers a few creative specialty cocktails, as well as wine and imported and domestic beers. In winter, there is warm sangria and hot cider.

There are nine specialty pizzas, each comprising six large slices, baked in the oven imported from Italy. The three distinctive house pizzas are the Funghi, with mascarpone cream instead of tomato sauce, mushrooms, truffle, Parmesan and chestnuts; the Saloniki, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, spinach, feta cheese, Kalamata olives and Parmesan; and the Gyros, with tomato sauce, pullet, ground beef, pickled onions roasted onion, tehina, yogurt, olives and chili pepper.

In addition, there is a full Italian-Mediterranean menu, with excellent appetizers and pasta dishes. There is even a full separate vegan menu, with no fewer than five pizzas made with proprietary cashew cheese substituting for mozzarella.

It is worth saving room for the tempting desserts, especially the decadent chocolate Kofinas Boom.

Pizza lovers can save money by joining the restaurant's free loyalty club and coming on Monday evenings, when all pizzas are 1+1 -- buy one, get one free.

Kofinas. Not kosher. 3 HaShibbolim St., Moshav Tzur Moshe. Tel. (09) 772-2672 


Nahman

Kikar Hamusika in Jerusalem's lively Nahalat Shiva quarter has become a major center for dining and entertainment in the nation's capital, with four kosher restaurants and a patisserie already in operation, and another scheduled to open soon. The restaurants share an expansive al fresco area, where live music may be heard several evenings a week.

Nahman is the dairy restaurant helmed by Rachel Dabbah, formerly of PIPS, an Italian restaurant that served only pasta, pizzas and salads. The currrent trilingual menu calls Nahman's cuisine Italian and Israeli, with an emphasis clearly on the former. The pastas are largely made from scratch in-house; whole wheat pasta, as well gluten-free and vegan options, are also available.

Moreover, Nahman imports its flour from Naples and its tomatoes from the south of Italy, in order to make truly authentic pizza, baked in a traditional brick oven. The restaurant features nine specialty pizzas, including three white ones, each comprising eight slices.

While there are no specialty cocktails, there is a full bar, with imported and domestic beers in bottles and on tap, and a wine list whose vintages are exclusively Israeli.

Finally, there is a tempting dessert menu, with artistic creations by Nahman's dedicated pastry chef.

Nahman. Kosher (mehadrin). Kikar Hamusika, Yoel Moshe Salomon St., Jerusalem. Tel. (02) 992-0540 

Piazza

Piazza, just steps away from Dizengoff Circle, is one of those classic, red-checked tablecloth Italian restaurants, which has developed a loyal customer base by serving traditional cuisine prepared by chefs whom management sent to be trained in Italy. Their formula has worked so well that they recently expanded, opening a second branch at the northern end of Dizengoff; within a week of the latter's opening, the lines were forming to get in at night.

Piazza's full bar serves specialty cocktails, as well as international wines, imported and domestic beer on tap and in bottles, and hard cider. In addition to pizzas, the menu comprises starters, salads, pastas and main courses.

There are eight specialty pizzas: five red, two white, and one vegan, each one comprising eight small slices. One amazing miniature pizza should not be overlooked, even though it is listed in the Starters section of the menu: the truffle cream pizzetta.

Another pizza you are not likely to find anywhere else is the eye-catching Spinaci, creamed spinach with a sunny side up egg.

According to the menu, all pizzas may be ordered made with fresh wholemeal spelt dough (gluten-free).

There is one pizza here that doubles as a dessert: the Nutella mascarpone pizza, a combination that crops up several times on this list. In addition, there are plenty of other desserts on the menu.

Piazza. Not kosher. 99 and 302 Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 527-4488 


Pizza Garage

The newest pizzeria in our list opened in 2017, along with the new shopping mall in which it is located: the much-hyped Gindi Fashion Mall TLV, two blocks south of Sarona Market.

Pizza Garage's young owners are also new to the business, but they were smart enough to link up with veteran experts, hiring the culinary brains behind the two successful pizzerias HaPizza and Pizza Brooklyn as consultants. The menu declares that its pizza dough contains no oil or added sugar.

There is no English menu, and even the Hebrew one is outdated, as the 11 specialty pizzas are constantly being updated. But one can get a good idea of the toppings and combinations by looking at the pizza slices on display; at any given time, there will be about six varieties already made.

Virtually all the pizzas come with tomato sauce, although there is at least one white one, a blend of three cheeses with pesto. There is also garlic bread which resembles a small pizza. Pizzas ordered from scratch come in two sizes: family or tray (eight small and eight large slices, respectively).

The beverages sold at Pizza Garage are soft drinks only, no beer or wine. There is also just one dessert on the premises, a Nutella calzone. But there are plenty of places just steps away that sell sweets, cakes and pastries.

Pizza Garage. Kosher. Gindi TLV Fashion Mall, HaHashmona'im Street. Tel. (03) 930-5522. 


Shine

Shine has the atmosphere of a neighborhood café, which it was for a decade, before installing a brick oven and switching to Italian cuisine, while retaining a good deal of its traditional menu (and also ramping up its vegan options, including vegan pizza).

The pizzas from that oven are at the center of the menu, along with breakfasts served until 17.00, homemade pastas, and salads for those who can do without the carbs. The taboon also does a great job of baking fish.

There are 14 specialty pizzas, which are also available in half sizes. Shine takes pride in declaring (in English): "Neither our pizza dough nor the tomato sauce contain any oil, sugar or any other weird stuff."

Among the notable pizzas are the Burrata, which features a large scoop of fresh burrata mozzarella that melts into the hot pizza, and the Truffle, starring that exotic ingredient. There are also white pizzas, and 13 choices of toppings for those who prefer to build their own. Pizzas are served with the optional condiments oregano, chili flakes, tomato salsa and green skhoug.

There are three specialty cocktails, and the popular house white sangria, along with imported and domestic wines and beer (which are 50% off during happy hour). The seven desserts include Italian classics like tiramisu affogato, and Nutella or halva calzone.

Shine. Not kosher. 38 Shlomo Hamelech St., Tel Aviv. Tel. (053) 938-1400. 


Zak's

On the corner of a key intersection in Raanana's industrial zone, diagonally opposite the Renanim Mall, sits Zak's Bakery and Food. Strangely, although the name and prominent signs are exclusively in English, the menu is still only in Hebrew, with an English one supposedly in preparation. Fortunately, the people behind the counter taking your order understand English.

Zak's proudly proclaims that "All products are made on-site, using traditional methods and no preservatives." The premises are about evenly divided between the bakery and restaurant sections, with rather limited indoor and al fresco seating.

Similarly, menu offerings are almost evenly divided between usual dairy restaurant dishes -- breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and quiches -- and Italian specialties: pastas and pizzas.

The menu lists four basic pizzas, all made with whole wheat flour and baked in an Italian stone oven; each pizza comprises eight good-sized slices. One of these pizzas, the plain margherita, may be ordered with choices of 11 toppings; another is vegan.

A separate pizza category lists another four [white] pizzas under the heading "Zak's special pizzas, made with three premium cheeses." These three may be augmented with optional Roquefort.

As one might expect from a bakery, there are fancy cakes and pastries in display cases. Cold beverages -- soft drinks, imported and domestic beers and alcoholic cider -- are all self-serve, in bottles.

Zak's will validate parking for one hour in the strip mall's private lot.

Zak's Bakery and Food. Kosher. 16 HaHaroshet St., Raanana. Tel, (072) 392-6578 

 

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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

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