Way back in September I announced to my dear family that I expected all to give me one day on Chol Hamoed Sukkot to do a family trip. I could tell that no one was comfortable making a commitment that early. After all, better offers would probably come along. My youngest pointed out that she may want to go scuba diving in Eilat; my middle one sputtered that she might have to work (not sure but I think she added “I hope”). And my oldest was away, trekking the wilderness of Central America, which I took as a “I’d love to spend the day with you and Abba on Chol Hamoed”.
It’s kind of nice that they’re grown up enough that I don’t have to worry about entertaining them every. single. day. on Chol Hamoed, but I do miss those road trips. I don’t miss the bickering in the car or the constant stops we had to make for sustenance and bathrooms. Or the mess. Or the “Are we there yet? This is boring.” Or the TELL HER TO STOP TOUCHING/LOOKING AT/LAUGHING AT ME. Or the ‘buy me ice cream-soda-that pencil-a sweatshirt-thing’–well you get the point.
I do however, miss those creation of new memories, so my announcement allowed no room for dissent. And I knew they were hooked when I promised them that we would cap the day at a fabulous restaurant.
We spent the day in Akko (Acre) exploring this beautiful coastal city, rich in history. We visited the Templar Tunnels, the Hospitaller Fortress, the Turkish Baths, the harbor/port and the
Jariva Tunisian Synagogue. We listened to the guide with our headphones (well some of us did anyway), we ate ice cream and drank fresh pomegranate juice and we took selfies (okay, that was mostly me, and my kids hate me for it). We walked our feet off. We did everything we could to pass the day so we could get to the goal: that fab restaurant.
And Tanduka did not disappoint. Located in the beautiful Yokneam Moshava, my husband kept muttering as he listened to the Waze Lady, “where are you taking us? It can’t possibly be here.”, because it’s not located in a mall or the center of town. That’s the thing. It’s situated in a suburban town of beautiful homes and yards, near a small playground where parents and little ones were enjoying the end of another national vacation day. You wouldn’t just happen on Tanduka, it’s the kind of place someone has to tell you about. And we were glad that someone did.
Entering the rustic eatery, one is taken by the simplicity of the decor. The walls were fairly bare, but I did notice the overhead lighting consisting of reddish lampshades which gave the place a comfortable glow. It was a cozy atmosphere and would have felt more intimate had we not been seated near two boisterous families. On the other hand, we’re not exactly quiet ourselves, so that worked out well.
Tanduka is about the meat, and as meat goes, it was excellent. My youngest and my husband decided to share a Mixed Grill; they were going to go for the cheaper version, but the waitress convinced them that for only 30 shekel more they can add entrecote steak. So that’s what they had, along with some mouth-watering lamb kabob, chorisos, wings and pargiot (off the bone chicken thighs). The dish came with a side of some of the most crispy chips I’ve ever tasted (did you know the secret of crispy french fries is refrigerating slightly cooked potato fries for a couple of hours before a quick deep fry?). My middle child ordered what she said was one of the juiciest burgers she’s ever eaten. I did beg a taste and I’d have to agree. The vegetarian among us ordered Denis Fish (Sea Bream) with a lovely saffron rice. And me, well I went a bit out of my comfort zone and ordered chicken livers sauteed with onions and mushrooms on a bed of rice with almonds and craisins, which were spectacular. The livers, cooked to just the right texture, were moist and flavorful and I could just feel the iron coursing through my blood with every bite.
Service was attentive, and because the Vegetarian’s fish arrived late, we were comped with dessert. After a heated discussion we finally agreed on the chocolate souffle with the pareve (but was it really? because it was sooo good) vanilla ice cream. And, really, what exactly could be bad about molten chocolate?
Tanduka is located in the Yokneam Moshava, about ten minutes off Route 6, so if you’re headed north or coming south to the center, it’s an easy stop that will add much to your trip.
Chances are there probably aren’t that many family trips left with just the five of us in our future, but fine [or not so fine] restaurants?–there will always be a time and place for that.
Tanduka is located in the Yokneam Moshava. Phone number: 053-9366145. Dinner for five and three soft drinks averaged 90 shekel (about 24 dollars at today’s exchange rate) per person. Tanduka also has a business lunch, which is considerably less expensive, but ends at 5:00, a few minutes before we arrived. Reservations are recommended.