Israeli restaurant named best in the U.S.
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Israeli restaurant named best in the U.S.

Zahav, an Israeli eatery in Philadelphia, won the James Beard Foundation award for outstanding restaurant.

The 2019 winners of the prestigious award were announced last week, during a ceremony in Chicago.

Jewish chefs Michael Solomonov, a native of Israel, and Steve Cook founded the restaurant, whose name means “gold” in Hebrew, in 2008. Zahav’s website describes it as “a modern Israeli restaurant that brings the authentic flavors of Israel’s cultural heritage to Philadelphia.”

The pair, who also own the restaurant group CookNSolo, won the foundation’s best book award for “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking,” in 2016. Solomonov won the best chef award the next year.

Solomonov’s parents moved the family to Pittsburgh when he was a child, but he returned to Israel for a short time when he was in his teens. His younger brother, David, joined the Israel Defense Forces and was killed on Yom Kippur in 2003.

After the tragedy, Solomonov noted in the 2017 documentary “In Search of Israeli Cuisine,” he became more interested in cooking foods that reflected his Israeli heritage, and moved away from his classical European training.

“Attaching myself to the country and the culture and the food are things that have kept me going,” he said.

Last year, Jewish author Michael Twitty won the foundation’s award for best book for his memoir on African-American Southern food.

 JTA

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