It’s boom time in Raanana’s culinary world and that’s good news for everybody. The Sharon city with the huge Anglo population has always been a popular target for restaurateurs but never as actively as during the last two months, when a half dozen new eateries have bravely opened their doors. While they’re all jockeying for position, it seems that one has pulled out ahead, certainly judging from the crowd when we were there. Borochov 88 is the name to watch.
The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door at Borochov 88 is how the new owners took a standard space and turned it into something special and memorable. Touches like wood beams, bricks walls, comfortable banquettes, and whitewashed wood panels lend an air of country comfort to the place and everything smacks of good taste and hospitality. There is also a feeling of professionalism about the place now, from the service to the food preparation to the presentation. I was particularly impressed by the relaxed ambience, by the attention to detail and by the selection of great-sounding dishes; all in all my experience at Borochov was positive from the get-go.
The menu doesn’t scream out originality but we easily found some unusual dishes that made the meal perfect. The soups – sweet potato for me and French onion for my companion – were great openers and they were prepared exactly as you’d want those two particular soups to be prepared (thick and rich for the sweet potato, super-oniony for the other). The house foccacia that we ordered along with the soup was a fitting and filling accompaniment.
For the main, I went for the most interesting-sounding dish on the menu – salmon kabobs – and my companion had lasagna with eggplant slices, which turned out to be a cross between traditional lasagna and eggplant Parmesan. The kabobs were terrific – flaky fresh salmon mixed with herbs in the shape of kabobs (the shape was where the similarity to the chopped-meat version ended). It was served with the best roasted-potatoes I’ve had this side of my own kitchen, an Israeli salad, and a cupful of green techina (which I put on everything). The lasagna was served in it own dish and was accompanied by a leafy salad. Both the kabobs and the lasagna were big portions, which, after the soup, were a challenge to finish.
However, not to be deterred, we still considered dessert and, after looking into the dessert case, it was a done deal. We split a hot chocolate cake (bigger than your average chocolate soufflé) with vanilla ice cream and a yummy creation called “Milk Kippa.” The latter was creamy and delicious and chock full of dulce de leche flavor. The coffee we had alongside was also great, strong and hot like I like it.
Prices are reasonable at Borochov 88 and our full meal for two came to just over 200 shekels, a bargain when you consider the size of the portions. (When I glanced at a neighboring table, I saw that the salads were also truly gigantic.) There’s no question in my mind that Borochov 88 is going to be the biggest hit in the long parade of Raanana restaurants. This is a restaurant with legs, as they say; expect it to be around a long time.