We don't write reviews about restaurants very often. In fact, we have yet to do so. But, we decided to make an exception for Fattoush in Haifa, Israel (we really don't have a rule against reviewing restaurants we just generally don't).
We stayed just up the hill from the main drag of Ben Gurion where there are restaurants and cafes lining both sides of the street. I had done a bit of research before coming to Haifa and found Fattoush favorably rated. So, our second night in town we ventured down the hill to see what we could find. We took a look at Fattoush and were really interested. We wandered down the street to see if there was anything that looked better but found nothing. So back to Fattoush! Sadly, this visit was not to be. What we didn't realize is that we were trying to find a place to eat after 7pm on Holocaust Memorial Day. The person closing up at Fattoush told us we would have problems finding anywhere to eat; he was not wrong about that.
We didn't let this initial setback stop us. We came back a few nights later and were so pleased with everything. First, Fattoush has an amazing outdoor seating section, though the lion's share of space and charm is spent on the smoking section. We do not smoke and in fact generally run screaming from any smoking section of any kind. But, we wanted to be in the thick of it, even if that meant being in the thick of smoke filled air. Alright, the air wasn't that bad, but there was a lot of smoke wafting around. But still, this did not detract from the charm of the place and the quality of the food.
I should mention the portions are generous. Like, American portion generous. Huge. We split a main and side and were pleasantly full when all was said and done. We walked back up the hill a little slower with fatter bellies.
The next day Zac went out exploring a bit on his own and wound up at, you guessed it, Fattoush! He wanted a bit of cafe culture and found himself enjoying a Turkish coffee outside. The following day we wanted some tea or juice or something and so Fattoush it was again! Zac had the herbal Frida Kahlo tea (some concoction of fruits and spices) and I had a melon and strawberry smoothie. Absolutely delicious.
Lest you think we let things end here we decided to come back a few hours later for dinner. And oh my was it delicious. We had a lentil and grain salad and some chicken with veggies. I know they don't sound exciting, but the flavors were making my mouth sing. We couldn't finish the amount of food given and totally marveled at those around us that downed starters, a main each, then dessert and drinks! Whew. I felt full just watching.
The service is excellent and everyone seems to walk around with a smile. Each time we were there it was super busy and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Do yourself a favor when you are in Haifa. Find yourself at Fattoush, one, two, five times even and put up with the cigarette smoking to have a relaxing, charming time on the patio.
(note; we tried to take some photos of the food at Fattoush, but none turned out. But trust us, the place oozes with charm and the food is excellent.)