Revisited October 2022
Café B’Alma is a coffee shop with two missions. The first mission is to provide good food in a pleasant atmosphere. Tthe second mission is a lot more noble. On our visit we saw that the cafe achieves both missions.
A visit to Cafe B'Alma is a pleasant and relaxing dining experience. There is a full menu of the classic coffee shop fare plus some exotic dishes. The very extensive breakfast menu is available all day. There are small starters like focaccia and soup, and different types of Shakshuka. Sandwiches and toastim come with a small salad, but if salad is your thing, there is a long list of salads as main dishes. Pizza and pastas are also available, one quiche, stir fried Asian vegetables and vegetarian mushrooms shawarma. In short, you can eat at B’Alma every day for a month and never repeat the same dish.
Many of the dishes can be prepared for vegans, but just to make it easier, Café B’Alma has a separate menu of pure vegan dishes. This is a sub-set of the main menu, with just the dishes that contain no eggs or cheese.
On our visit to Café B’Alma we chose two of the more exotic dishes from the Georgian and Mexican section of the full menu.
Khachapuri is a Georgian dish of bread with a filling. As the dough rises, the bread is molded into various shapes and is then filled with cheese or vegetables. At Café B’Alma the Khachapuri is shaped like a tear drop and is topped with an egg . A small salad balances out the breadiness of the dish.
The presentation was attractive and well done.
I chose the Mexican quesadilla filled with mushrooms. This is a light dish of 2 crunchy rolled tortillas baked in the oven, flavored with garlic, olive oil and sesame seeds. The quesadilla comes with a spicy sauce and a small salad, filling out the dish..
Both dishes were very satisfying and needed no encore. Never the less we would not want to disappoint our readers so we indulged in one of Café B’Alma’s excellent desserts. Our dessert was baked to order and took a few minutes to prepare, but it was worth the wait. The warm cake is served with a scoop of ice cream, making it a nice combination of hot and cold.
The foods were served on handmade fired pottery carrying the café’s logo. Handmade dishes like this, without the logo, were available for sale on a table in the center of the café. This made an attractive display.
We wondered where the name B’Alma comes from. We are Jews, so we have a difference of opinion. Some say that the name comes from the Spanish word meaning “Soul.” But I think it comes from the Aramaic for “World” which suggests B'Alma's second mission.
Cafe B;Alma is a tool for integrating people with mental disabilities into the working world. The Public Health Association together with the National Insurance have established Café B’Alma as a large-scale rehabilitation project for this purpose. The restaurant staff is made up of workers in the rehabilitation program and workers who are not. They work side by side in the kitchen, waiting customers, and performing all the various restaurant functions.
Our waiter at the café was pleasant and gentlemanly. He was attentive and efficient, and definitely earned his tip. As a long-time eLuna.com restaurant reviewer I must say bravo to anyone who can hold their cool in a restaurant. A restaurant is the mother of all high-pressure environments. Everyone is hungry. Everyone is waiting. Customers can be rude and demanding. This is the deep water of interpersonal relations. If you can keep it together in a restaurant, you can work anywhere. In my book if you have made it through a few months in a restaurant, rehabilitation accomplished.
Café B’Alma could not be in a more convenient location. It is the corner restaurant at the entrance to Petach Tikva’s Yachin Center. The center has a large parking lot that is free of charge. The restaurant has indoor seating, seating on a glass enclosed patio and outdoor seating. There is plenty of room for everyone.The restaurant is wheelchair accessible.