How many places do you know that offer both the opportunity to go horse back riding as well as sit down for a full breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Driving up the picturesque-winding road from Ein Karem towards Tzur Hadassa, I found it very difficult to keep my eyes on the road rather than gaze into the lush green hills decorated with blossoming almond trees and red anemone flowers. We were on our way to visit a few wineries (Sea Horse at Bar Giora and the Yaffo in Neve Michael) and checked on line for a place where we can grab a quick brunch before we start with the wine tasting. After a quick search and a couple of recommendations we made reservations at Havaleh, situated at the Judean Hills Stables (Harei Yehuda Stable) in Tzur Hadassa.
Havaleh, a kosher Italian country style restaurant serves a varied dairy based menu. The restaurant is situated in a rustic wooden structure, with a fire place in the corner and the walls adorned with various photos and artifacts to complete the overall farm-like feel.
Guests can choose to sit inside the restaurant or out on the spacious deck overlooking the trotting horses and experienced instructors. This is also an excellent solution for parents who want to bring their children for a riding lesson, as they can sit on the deck with a bowl of soup, cup of coffee or even a glass of wine and look over their children and take pictures.
Owner Carlo relocated to Israel a few years ago and after being involved in the restaurant business in Italy (Rome), decided to continue the tradition and purchased Havaleh. Speaking to Carlo you would think that he is a veteran Oleh and after asking where he studied Hebrew he mentioned that he was married to a native Israeli and spoke the language before moving here. The menu at Havaleh includes fresh homemade pasta, oven baked focaccias and pizzas, fish, salads and varied starters. I also appreciated the fact that Carlo decided to continue the Italian approach that emphasized the importance of locality and Havaleh’s wine menu highlights wines from the Mony and Katlav wineries at very reasonable prices.
Every Fridays, Havaleh offers an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet including a selection of cheeses, fresh vegetable salads, omelets and shakshuka, varied pasta dishes, fish, antipasti, home made dips and sauces, cakes and bread. Our favorite dishes were the home made cheese filled panzerotti with a cream and mushroom sauce and the artichoke dip/spread prepared with a generous dose of olive oil. We also enjoyed a grilled zucchini based antipasti dish with fresh herbs and last but not least the home made cookies and cakes.
Havaleh also holds unique private events, including business events, britot and even weddings – all in Italian country style atmosphere.