River in Raanana is
a restaurant with a story. The restaurant is located in a shopping center at the western end of Ahuza Street at the intersection with Yerushalayim St. The shopping center has a big parking lot that services the banks, the pharmacy, the book store and several non-kosher restaurants in this center. That is where the story begins.
Downtown Raanana is quiet on Shabbat. By agreement,
all commerce- shops and restaurants on Ahuza Street - the main artery of the city - , are closed on Shabbat. In fact, some call Raanana the Beni Brak of the Sharon. By agreement, and with respect for the non-shomrei Shabbat residents, the restaurants in the shopping center at the end of Ahuza and the Etgarim tech park are open on Shabbat.
Enter Eyal Mizrachi, the new owner of River Restaurant in this center. A frum guy himself, Eyal made this branch kosher and closed it on shabbat. This created quite a stir (and I don't mean stir-fried) among the non-observant people in Raanana. Facebook was inundated with messages, the controversy even made the newspapers and TV. But Eyal stood firm. River in Raanana is kosher and closed on shabbat.
River in Raanana is a spacious restaurant. There are two indoor seating sections and a very nice outdoor seating area separated from the pedestrian traffic by greenery. The decor is minimalist Asian style. The restaurant looks new and spiffy.
One area of the restaurant is set off by a short wall, for private dining and parties.
About The River Restaurant Menu
Let face it - there is nothing like sushi. The colorful sliced rolls look like gems nested on velvet. They are so beautiful they look too good to eat. But eat them you will, and enjoy every morsel.
We took our seats at a comfortable table and we were handed the electronic menu. Turn it on and peruse the menu with descriptions and photos of each item. That does take a big part of the guesswork out of ordering.
On this visit we decided to pass on the sushi and try some of the Asian dishes. The starters were enticing but we decided to have just main courses. I chose the Suki, grilled salmon, with rice. My companion chose Noriko San, a meat dish with rice. Both dishes are in the Rice category, which does not seem to obligate rice. My companion asked to have his dish with noodles rather than rice, which was no imposition at all. The restaurant is flexible this way, and we appreciated that. We did not wait very long before our dishes were served. My companion's meat dish was served in a large bowl. The portion was quite generous, but heavier in the noodles than in the meat. The Suki dish was a nice piece of grilled salmon and a huge mound of rice with vegetables. The two dishes together came to 145 shekels, a reasonable amount for two full main dishes.
River Raanana makes the third kosher River restaurant that we have visited personally. The Raanana branch is certainly on par with the best of them. We appreciated the convenient parking, the pleasant lay-back atmosphere and the spacing between tables. After three visits, and six different dishes between us, we agreed that there are still corners of this menu that we would like to investigate.
This restaurant welcomes children. So when you come to River, bring the kids. There are special childrens dishes, sized and priced for little tummies.
From the menu: Suki with rice NIS 88. Noriko San NIS 57. 3-lettuce salad, NIS 39. Hanoi Curry NIS 56. Salmon cubes served with a honey/soy sauce NIS 37 Maki Sushi Roll NIS 25. Childrens menu, NIS 41. Dessert NIS 36.