Rivkaleh – Food from Mum's House

"Spaghetti with red sauce, a seemingly simple dish, but with a little something special in it that brought back memories. For me, it was memories of my elementary school days when I'd go eat lunch at a friend's house…" Nadav Avidan found a replacement for his mother's cooking at Saar's Rivkaleh – Food from Mum's House in Rishon Letzion.

Almost everyone will agree that one of the advantages of living with your parents is the home cooked food. This advantage turns into a significant disadvantage when the parents go away on vacation. On one hand, that's their right. One the other – why'd I decide to live at home again if I can't enjoy the home cooked food? Then Michal, hearing about my predicament, and decided to treat me to a totally immoral meal, that would also include buying food for the rest of the week at Rivkale – Food from Mum's House.

Upon entering this kosher restaurant, on a Friday afternoon, we got stuck in a substantial line of people that had come to buy food for the Sabbath. It already looks promising, I said to myself. In the next room, awaited the dining area, prettily and welcomingly designed, with clean open lines that only added to the look.

For starters, as is fitting, some salads, handmade by Rivaheh's son Saar, arrived at the table. From a selection of 10 salads, we chose 8: homemade hummus, homemade tehina, pickles, spicy tomato salad, fried eggplant, avocado salad, bulgar wheat salad and egg salad. All the salads were great, and just special enough – not far from the what we already know and love, but each one had an extra little touch that turned it into a good enough reason to come back and visit Rivkaleh again.

With the salads, came a few appetizers, or at least that's how we treated them. A beef patty and a chicken patty, quite impressive, each bite melted in the mouth, with a moderate amount of sauce that made what could have been a really filling patty something a bit lighter – something that leaves room for more. With the patties came a few types of pancakes – sweet potato, vegetable, spinach and potato. The pancakes were enjoyable, and even though I personally am not a big pancake guy, I liked what I tasted, and Michal definitely enjoyed them.

After we'd finished with our openers, we felt ready for another round. Michal had warned me to come with a big appetite, and I thanked her from the bottom of my heart as a red rice stuffed cabbage roll, homemade kubeh with tehina, couscous with red sauce, and brisket were placed on the table. Michal and I wholeheartedly devoted ourselves to this culinary celebration, and when it was over, we understood that even though we were quite satisfied, we wanted more.

On our last corrupting round, I got the house schnitzel, which, according to Saar, is the best dish of all. Michal got the spaghetti with red sauce, a seemingly simple dish, but with a little something special in it that brought back memories. For me, it was memories of my elementary school days when I'd go eat lunch at friend's house sometimes, and his mother would make us spaghetti. Something in that taste of childhood, that I thought I'd never be able to bring back, was revealed to me here in total and utter naturalness, and I understood – this is it. This is the place where I can come to eat just like at home, and feel at home, even when I'm not at home.

Just before we left, I asked Saar: "With a mother who cooks like this, when did you figure out that there are restaurants in the world?" …I, in his place, wouldn't trade this food for anything else. And as he walked us to the door, he told me – "You're right, and because of that I haven't traded my mother's food. Just the opposite, I brought it to the world, so that everyone can feel right at home…"

Rivkaleh – Food from Mom's House
7 Popol Street., Ganei Esther, Rishon Letzion.
Tel: 03-9582555, 054-7447473