Hilton Block his established his reputation as an excellent restaurateur at Pastaria Restaurant. With many years of success at Pastaria and restaurants before this, Hilton has opened Luzzatto Italian-style meat restaurant on the eastern side of Raanana. With successful Pastaria behind him, we have high expectations for Luzzatto. Like Pastaria, Luzzatto places itself in the moderate dining range, somewhere between a burger place and an expensive dining experience. Hilton thinks of the Luzzatto cuisine as comfort food, with something for every pocketbook.
Luzzatto is an invested restaurant with pleasing rustic design, comfortable seating both inside and outside, bar seating and an open kitchen. The combination of warm wood tones and industrial elements makes for a very pleasant environment. The restaurant is roomy with comfortable tables for two, that are moved together for larger parties. Take a peek into the well organized industrial kitchen, the huge stove top and the impressive tabun oven. The chefs at work is a sight to behold.
As Raanana residents, we were very pleased to see a new much needed meat restaurant in the city. The attractive Luzzatto restaurant beckoned us to visit, and we were just looking for an opportunity to try it. As fans of owner Hilton Block's Pastaria Restaurant, we looked forward to experiencing Luzzatto first hand.
eLuna Visits Luzzatto
Luzzatto welcomes its diners with a shot of home made lemoncello. L'chayim to you and long live great restaurants.
We perused the nicely designed graphic
menu. My companion and I have very different culinary preferences, but if we can agree on dishes, we share, so that we each of us can taste a variety. On this, our first visit to Luzzatto we agreed on two starters to begin our meal.
Hilton's salads are legendary, so despite the many enticing starters we decided to begin our meal with the Cherry Tomato Trio Salad. As its name suggests, this salad has three colors of cherry tomatoes, enlivened by sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, croutons, and celery in a light balsamic vinegar dressing. The salad was refreshing, and balanced nicely with our second starter, Arancini balls.
Arancini is a classic Italian dish of deep-fried crispy balls filled with risotto. A variety of mushrooms are minced and mixed into the risotto. Balls are formed which are then coated with crumbs and deep fried. The coating gives the balls a crisp crunch, and the combination of mushrooms gives the risottos a strong pleasant flavor.
Classic Arancini balls are made with cheese, which of course would not work in this meat restaurant. We were pleased with the tasty parve Arancini, and we were glad to discover that the Luzzatto kitchen does not corrupt their vegan version with imitation cheese. The cherry tomato salad and the grainy Arancini offset each other nicely, and there was plenty to share between us. I even saved one of the 3 arancini balls to have with my main course later.
The Luzzatto signature dish and Hilton's pride, is the Smoked Beef and Potatoes, smoked Asado, onions and potatoes baked on focaccia in the restaurant tabun oven at 350 degrees C. Three starters for two diners is completely unnecessary, but we just had to try this important dish. The crispy focaccia bread is drizzled with olive oil and topped with Smoked Beef, caramelized onions, a bit of garlic and a poached egg. The beef, which is smoked at the restaurant, is embedded among the onions for a tasty surprise. The runny egg-yoke from the poached egg bursts over the focaccia and meat when you cut into it. You can chase the egg yoke with bits of focaccia for a yummy mouth full of bread, egg, onions and smoked meat.
Luzzatto dishes go really well with a cold beer. There are several bottles of beer on the menu but only Jems Pils beer on tap. From the time they had added the Jems beer to the menu, it has become almost the only beer that customers order. I had my first glass with the focaccia, and immediately understood why. Slightly bitter and very cold, it was refreshing and thirst quenching. I couldn’t resist another glass with my main course.
When it comes to main courses, my companion and I go our separate ways. For my main course, I had Veal Lemon and Mushroom Scallopini, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. The large piece (220 grams – big enough to share) of thinly sliced veal is lightly coated with flour, cooked in the tabun oven and covered with a sauce of lemon, mushrooms, parsley and wine. The result is a soft steak rich with the flavor of the sauce, a bit lemony and needs no salt, and has slices of mushroom and bits of parsley. This is a classic Italian dish, and a nice change from grilled beef steaks. The veal is accompanied by a rather unnecessary portion of mashed potatoes. I put that aside and had one of the arancini balls instead.
Many times i get strange looks when I go for fish at meat restaurants. But at Luzzatto it is a natural choice. There are several fish dishes on the menu, including the predictable salmon fillet. I went with the recommended fillet of denis which is currently off-menu but joining soon. Two lovely white fish fillets were served with a mound of greens and a dollop of mashed potatoes. The fish was perfectly prepared, not at all fishy, and quite tasty. For a change I ate both fillets to the last bite.
I would be amiss if I did not mention the excellent service at Luzzatto. We were served by a charming post-army gentleman who was clearly well trained. He knew the foods, was very positive on the restaurant and a good salesman. Silverware was changed between courses and food was brought to the table promptly. The young man definitely deserved his tip.
Dessert is a special event at Hilton restaurants. A special pastry chef is brought from a 5-star hotel to create amazing desserts. A fellow diner recommended the lemon tart, which is where we were headed but ultimately decided to follow the waiter’s recommendation and go for the Ferrero Rocher, the restaurant's most popular dessert. This dish was a mound of chocolate hazelnut cream, sprinkled with candied hazelnuts, all hidden by crispy wafers and leaves of chocolate. This was a very rich desert and more than we could finish, but very sweet and satisfying.
Business Lunch: From 12 noon till 5pm. Starters are NIS 15.
Kids menu: Full schnitzel or pasta meal + ice cream dessert. NIS 45
1 + 1 on all drinks from noon till 7pm. Includes beer, cocktails, etc.
From the menu: Cherry Tomato Trio: NIS 36. Arancini: NIS 38 Smoked Beef and Potatoes NIS 48. Veal Lemon and Mushroom Scallopini: NIS 88. Baked Salmon NIS 98. Ferrero Rocher dessert NIS 46.