Imagine delicious, yet healthy vegetarian cuisine right off the square in Safed's old city and you can envision a meal at Tree of Life, a home-style bakery, restaurant and more. Your host, Feigi Pam, a former Californian who knows vegetarian cooking, has been catering to Safed visitors for over a decade. The ambiance is versatile - both inside and outside tables - making it a great place for a business lunch, yet ideal for an evening romantic dinner for two as well.
At this dairy restaurant, vegetarian and healthy food is the order of the day. Feigi's whole wheat pizza, for instance, is so tasty, you wouldn't know that it's good for you. Calzones: pastries stuffed with either cheese, onion, or vegetables, are a smart choice at this restaurant where all the foods are prepared with special attention. Another specialty are the nachos topped with cheese and salsa.
But you needn't stop with the appetizers. Main courses, like the vegetable coconut curry over brown rice will fill you up without filling you out. Or, as a lighter alternative, you can have low fat cheese lasagna and a salad. Plus there is plenty of cafe fare, such as quiches and shepherdess pie.
Tree of Life
will accommodate special diets such as gluten-free or dairy-free meals, In addition to the delicious foods, Tree of Life has some amazing drinks line the health energy shake made with dates and almonds.
If you can manage a dessert after all these good dishes be sure to catch a specially made Tree of Life dessert. Feigi bakes with canola oil and organic sugar, so you can indulge without the guilt. Try homemade apple pies or cheesecake, or bite into a giant muffin, one of the house specialties. Or you can go for health bars or date and raisin cookies. Tree of Life is known as Tzfat's most delectable ice cream parlor.
Next time you're in Safed, go to Tree of Life. You won't be disappointed!
Hameginim Square, the location of this restaurant, has an interesting history. During Israel's War of Independence, the Palmach established their headquarters in the square. It was from this square that a small Jewish force defended the Old Jewish Quarter, and then went on to capture all of Tzfat. After the War the square was renamed Kikar HaMeginim, "Defender's Square" in honor of the fighters who liberated Tzfat.
Four main lanes of the Old City jut out from Kikar HaMeginim - Bar Yochai Street, HaMeginim Street, Tarpat Street and Hatam Sofer Street. This spider's web is the heart of the Old Jewish Quarter, and most of Tzfat's Old City commercial activity, synagogues, and artists' galleries are accessible directly from the Kikar. Aside from private homes and offices,
Kikar HaMeginim is also known for its activities on Jewish holidays, when various synagogues spill out of their doors to come to the Kikar to celebrate. Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day), Simhat Torah (Celebration of Receiving the Torah) and other holidays see the prayer shawl-clad men from various synagogues congregating in the Kikar to dance and sing - of late, many synagogues gather in Kikar HaMeginim on Shabbat evenings as well as they sing and dance the Kabbalat Shabbat, Welcoming the Sabbath, service.
Photo by Abba Richman