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Mevo Modiim, The Modiin Area
Tel: 08-9262526

Kashrut: Mehadrin Dairy, Rav Yekutiel Hoffman, Rav Hamakom

Open Sunday - Thursday 4:00pm till 11:00 pm. Saturday night till 11:00pm. Closed Shabbat.

Mevo Modiim is one of the veteran settlements in the Modiin area. Driving east on 443 from Tel-Aviv, You'll see the sign to Mevo Modiim on the right hand side of the road just after Neot Kedumim. Coming from the other direction the turn off is after Shilat.

Mevo Modiim enjoys its original fame from its most celebrated resident, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z'l. In fact the original settlers were from the House of Love and Prayer, Shlomo's California commune. Today there are many well-known musicians and artists living in this settlement who have their own celebrity status. Even some of the children of the original settlers have made a name for themselves in the arts world.

The restaurant is at the far end of Mevo Modiim. Turn into the moshav from route 443 and keep going straight till the end. Eventually you will see signs to the restaurant.

Luciano's offers a brief menu of light and inexpensive dairy meals and snacks. There is some indoor seating but it is for cold weather only. Most of the year you'll be dining outdoors under a makeshift awning. Tables are covered in plastic red checked tablecloths. The atmosphere is rustic at best. Most of the seating is at one long table. On a busy night you may find yourself dining alongside people you don't know. Taken in the right spirit, this could be a friendly experience.

When we were there a young couple with a baby set up a small private table in the corner of the dining area. They made a lovely picture together with their baby carriage in the background, having dinner for two at sunset.

The operation is run by Shoshana, who is the proprietor, manager, cook and restaurant hostess. Shoshana and her Italian ex-husband Luciano founded this restaurant when they moved to Mevo Modiim from Rav Carlebach's San Francisco community. A die-hard Carlebach fan, Shoshana's kitchen has a healthy supply of the Rabbi's publications and books commemorating Mevo Modiim, available for perusal. Carlebach music is piped into the eating area, non-stop, for your dining pleasure.

The entire menu, in Hebrew and English, appears on one side of a laminated card that you'll find on the table. The menu includes focaccia, salad, spaghetti and pizza any way you like it. I chose an individual pizza with mushrooms, which turned out to be a very uneventful dish. I probably should have been more daring in my choice of toppings.

My companion went for the Calazone, the recommended specialty-of-the-house. This was described as a blintz filled with your choice of cheese and vegetables. This so-called "blintz" is made with pizza dough, and after it is filled, wrapped and covered in more cheese, it is oven baked. The dough gets hard and crispy on the outside and the veggies and cheese are hot and slurpy on the inside. You'll have a culinary adventure if you have not yet experienced this authentic Italian dish. My companion, who likes his Calazone made with every vegetable in the kitchen, found it very tasty and satisfying.

Luciano's cleverly offers all dishes in three sizes: small, medium and large. This enables you to order food to match your appetite and to match the consumption abilities of some of the younger members of your party. This also keeps the bill down to something reasonable.

The dishes are prepared only after you make your order. You have to wait a while for your meal, but it is fresh and tasty and worth the wait. Our bill for one individual pizza, one Calazone, a malt beer and a chocolate milkshake came to a reasonable NIS 70.

If you look very carefully, in small print way down at the bottom of the menu you will see a few dishes not from the Italian kitchen. A Swedish member of the community contributes Swedish style lox and herring. The lox is cured rather than smoked, which was not expected. The herring was absolutely the best we have ever tasted. You can buy this to take home, which we did, at the ridiculous price of NIS 8 per hundred grams.

I have often fantasized about hosting a dinner made up of the best dishes collected from all the restaurants that we have visited. Were I to do this, the herring at Lucianos would certainly be on my menu.

Whatever else you can say about Luciano's, a visit to this settlement is certainly interesting. When you visit, plan enough time to peek into the shul and perhaps stop at a gallery or two. We regret that we did not allow enough time for this. It may be wise to organize these visits with Shoshana in advance.

Click here for a 10% discount coupon on your next order at Luciano'sRestaurant. Print out this coupon and present it at the restaurant.

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