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“Always Excellent - amazing”
Review of Hanamal 24

Hanamal 24
Ranked #15 of 404 Restaurants in Haifa
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: European, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed 12 May 2018 via mobile

Today we visited our favorite restaurant Hsnamal24 in Haifa with another couple from Tel Aviv - for them the first time. The experience was fabulous - wonderful and professional service; great hospitality; excellent food with accurate presentation. Our friends will certainly come again. For Hanamal24 it's worth the trip to Haifa

Thank Markel52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 487 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2018

First time, and really enjoyed it. Interesting and unique ingredient combinations, with a big enough menu to provide enough options to chose from. Impressive wine list, though super pricey. Service was friendly and pleasant. Overall a solid experience that will though cost you a little too much, which leaves me thinking that value vs. quality needs attention. Will revisit if I can.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Lorien N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2018

I went there on and off since 2007. It used to be one of the best restaurants in Haifa back in 2007. However, it declined steadily and became sub-mediocre.
We went there for a lunch. We were almost the only table occupied (there was one more table) at 13:00. The meal was indescribably bad matched only by the service, which was even worse.
You should read the detailed review by ezbozo from Zichron Yakov - it describes accurately what we encountered as well and he is a more talented story teller than me.
Save yourself the trouble and choose another place!

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Eduard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2018 via mobile

I have had my eye on this restaurant for a while but this was my first visit. Brought my wife for a post valentines day night out.

The restaurant exterior is unnassuming and passerby would never know that behind the facade is a fine dining restaurant. If I had not found out about it online I would never know it was there. A flight of stairs leads one up to a first floor dining room decorated as what can be described as a tuscan or provençale style. Terra Cotta and earth tones dominate. Pleasant and not overly fancy.

Service was impeccable and our waitress (Mary) was amazing. This is a breath of fresh air, because truly professional servers are a rarity in Israel. Our glasses were kept full and the whole experience was timed perfectly. We got very good explanations regarding the menu. Great wine list as well.

We were very impressed with the food.

Liver Paté millefeuille for a starter was just an explosion of wonderful flavor. I was inclined at first to dismiss it as pretentious because of the apparently small portion and the dainty assembly but my first bite quickly dispelled my assumption. The taste is incredible.

My wife had a shrimp starter. I despise crustaceans in general but I tried a bite of this and was convinced that the chef and his team are true artists.

Mains were beef filet (perfect medium) with chestnut ravioli and the osso bocco, both incredibly good but be warned that the osso bocco is smoked and has a very unique flavor. We enjoyed both thoroughly.

Pistachio crème brûlée and some nice coffee to finish.

Overall two hours from start to finish as we were never rushed and enjoyed the meal at our leisure.

Prices above average but the indulgence was well worth it for the standard of food and service.

If the quality remains consistent with our first experience we will be faithful customers. Good job to the whole team.
Chapeau bas au chef.

Thank Michael A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2018

Hanamal24 has gone downhill steadily over 10 years. I will not return for a long while.

We first went to Hanamal24 in 2007 and became regulars. Our visits became infrequent after 2011 because we went down and sojourned.

The chef-owner was at the top his game in the early years. He was newly returned to Israel from France. He had trained with Paul Bocuse for three years and then cooked at excellent places in France. He continued the high standard here, and being a good chef, incorporated local ingredients. Superb.

In time, his cooking changed. He went a bit local in his aesthetic. Less complexity in the flavouring, less sparkle, larger starch portions. I do understand that a restaurant owner’s first job is to make his customers happy, and, let’s face it, many of his customers did not outgrow- enough- their childhood’s Ashkenazi cooking. But his adjustment was entirely acceptable, the meals were still excellent.

More time passed. I think that the chef became wearier and more casual in the kitchen. But more sinned against than sinning. He was casting pearls before customers who were not the sort to appreciate his talents; there is no restaurant culture in Haifa that would propel him to continue excelling in a complicated and exacting cuisine. So the cooking declined further.

This brings me to our recent visit to Hanamal24. Unfortunately, the decline has continued to the point that although I will want to return, it will be only after for a long time, and then out of nostalgia. It is not that the meal was “bad” in the sense that the food was disagreeable, it wasn’t. It is that I hold Hanamal24 to the standard that it claims for itself, that of a good restaurant in France, and compared to such a restaurant -at any level- it does not come close. It was as if the kitchen was sleepwalking. The fancy restaurant get up- the plethora of dinnerware (somewhat reduced from the early years), the service (always amusingly amateurish) made the shortfall more picquant. I regretted that I had not gone to the alternative, a good Arabic restaurant.

We were a party of seven on Groupons. (NIS159 for 280 value, single; NIS309 for 560, couple) We were good Groupon customers. Three of us ordered alcohol, we didn’t push the Groupon entitlement to its limit. We didn’t complain about anything nor did we send anything back, with the exception of the cocktails (infra).
The Groupon meals were the restaurant’s selection from the regular menu.

The meal took 3.5 hours, from 7.45pm entry to 11.10pm departure. The protracted service spoiled the continuity of the meal. I don’t like everything showing up as fast as possible, as it does in an Arabic restaurant on Saturday, but there was no reason for 3.5 hours, given the dishes that we had and that the restaurant was not busy. I believe that service was stretched out to induce us to buy more alcohol and bread in order to fill in the time. We had no more alcohol, but having waited so long and becoming increasingly hungry, I accepted two more plates of bread. Each plate of three little “sticks” turned out to cost NIS14. Much more about the bread later.

I will write mostly about my family’s three meals. We keep kosher “lite” and had the same meal except for the appetizer.
All item descriptions are the Google translations. I corrected a few words.

1.The lemonade was gelded; too sweet and sleepy-smooth. The lemonade set the aesthetic for the rest of the meal. It does take skill to establish and maintain this aesthetic, but I don’t like it. We squeezed a few slices of lemon into the lemonade to perk it up.

2. The two cocktails, wild berries with vodka, were sent because there was little discernible zip from the vodka. They came back but were sent back again for the same reason. They were accepted on the third attempt.
I was surprised that the person who ordered the drinks sent them back. He is most unlikely to make a fuss. He is not what you would call a drinker, he is older, very much a gentleman from the American South and inclined to refrain because he was our guest.

3 . The “Macchiato Cream of roasted onions with truffle and basil oil” (onion soup) was pretty good but no triumph. It is tough to do bad with onions and cream.

4. “Tapas a surprise from the chef” (ameuse bouche) were two tortellini (kreplach) in the shape of horns. The dough wrapper was heavy and hard; a real chew and the texture was not pleasing. It overwhelmed the small amount of mushroom filling, which was gentle. The tortellini were on top of a bit of quite refined pea cream sauce. I looked to the sauce to help out with taste and to lubricate, but there wasn’t enough sauce, it was too gentle and it also was overwhelmed. I think that the tortellini were entirely misconceived.

5. Choice of appetizers
(a)(mine) The “Jordan mushrooms, an unnamed egg, spinach cream and parmesan”. (Slivered mushrooms in a heavy and ample cream sauce, close to a soup. The spinach was MIA.) The dish was OK, but I thought it was a bit clumsy, perhaps too salty and undifferentiated. The list of ingredients is great; I think that something much nicer can be made from it.
(b) “Salad of artichokes, hearts of lettuce, arugula, radish, caramelized almonds and parmesan” (Chosen at my right).This was very good and a generous serving. The best dish of the night. It had a light and gentle dressing.
(c) “Two-color quinoa, beetroot carpaccio, eggplant jam and ginger- vegan” (my wife’s choice) The quinoa had zip and was good. A pretty plate. The beetroot carpaccio was thinly sliced beetroot, barely softened, folded over to look like ruffles. The beets tasted, as they especially do when not cooked- of dirt. I‘m Polish, I like beets a lot and I do know that the taste of dirt is in fashion, but dirt taste is not for me. An unfavourable opinion about the beets was not volunteered elsewhere.

5.”Burri fillet in the Panko-Tafnad crust, ragu saum, pea cream and citrus-fennel salad”. (high-class MickeyD fillet-o’- fish) A small, thin fillet of crumbed mullet, sitting on a bit of pea cream. I don’t know what a Tafnad or ragu saum is. Whatever these may be, there wasn’t enough of them to make an impression on me.

All three kosher lite diners and one guest chose the mullet. Two guests chose meat, a lamb shank (described as osso buco) and sliced beef fillet in a sauce. These were opined to be good; they looked good from across the table. The last guest chose his whole meal treif- as- the- night and I didn’t ask.

The hanko-pankoed fish was, (a) mine, a complete bore that cried out for some sort of sauce or salsa to give it any character other than gritty from the crumbing, which overwhelmed the fish. Good for introducing children to fish, particularly if the child likes ketchup, which will moderate the grit.
(b) to my right, the report was, overcooked and boring,
(c) to my left, the report was, good, but this diner is my wife, and not reliable. (I have much better taste than my wife- look whom we married.)

The sauce on which the fish sat was too gentle and there wasn’t enough of it to do anything good, particularly because of the crumb shell.

The citrus-fennel salad was very good. It was steamed or sauteed and finished or the like. But it was gentle and it didn’t stand up against the crumbed fish. Indeed, the crumbing overwhelmed it as it did the fish and the crumb grit ruined it. The veg would have been excellent as a ”salat” (Arabic tapas) if the meal were harmonious.

NIS118 on the menu and mullet is the cheapest fish going. At full price I would have been angry and not just disappointed.

6. Dessert. Three small pots of
(a) “Chocolate ganache Nougat’’
(b) “Shanti cream, milk chocolate and banana taffy” (?,sp)
(c) “Mousse mascarpone and berries”
I don’t know what “shanti” is. Whatever the nougat might be, there was no trace of it, but this is OK, All three were basically puddings (in the American sense of pudding), but the French have a specialized vocabulary.
The puddings were good. The chocolate was probably the best of the three; the shanti cream was too complicated in too small a space for my taste. However Dessert was spoiled by “too much”. A three pudding dessert was like putting too many things on a buffet plate. One pot would have been enough, and if the kitchen wanted a bit of excess, it could have increased the size by 25% and stuck in a “cookie”. But for some diners the three pot dessert would have been ideal. For them, everything before is just preliminary; the main thing is dessert; enough is good, too much is better, way too muc is best.

Now the bread story. Hereof also of “service”. Bread was part of our Groupon. “Grisini Rosemary - 2 pieces - with dips of smoked eggplant (viz., mush) and crushed tomato (viz., concasse)”
In the early years of Hanamal24, bread was complimentary as was any extra bread. Then there was a small charge, first for only the extra, then the charge was increased and then it was applied to the first serving as well. By the time of our last visit, three grissini were NIS14 from the menu.
The grissini here are about the length and shape of small cigars. In the past they had been excellent. What we got now was as if produced by a North American chain supermarket bakery. Crustless, puffy, doughy little cylinders, and without rosemary notwithstanding that the menu listed it. I needed a spread to make it go down.
The dips. There had been three kinds and they were skilled. Now we got two dips, they weren’t bad, but they were so simple and ordinary as to be beneath the chef.

I had forgotten that there was a charge for extra bread when I accepted the waitress’ offer of more. I had reverted to thinking, as I had years ago before I had learned, that at NIS14 for 3 cigars from the menu, extra bread was included. At our Groupon meal, I thought that there would be no charge for a bit more bread in the course of a supposedly grand set meal. I was wrong.

Ordinarily, I would have let the charge for bread pass, but
(a) I was not in such a good mood. I had been up since 2am and the meal had taken 3.5 hours to 11:10pm. Dinner was a disappointing bore. I thought that a good part of the slow pace was deliberate in order to sell extras -alcohol and bread.
(b) I thought that complimentary extra bread is part of the ordinary expectation of most diners. Other diners must have remarked about the surprise of an extra charge. I know that I did years ago. The waitress gave no indication. She did nothing more than offer bread; I noticed that the waitress had a fast and pat answer for me when I queried the charge at the end.
(c) NIS14 for the bread is reaching even if the bread were good
(d) All this would have been swallowed, but the bread was not good, and not good in a low way.

I complained to the waitress. The floor manager overheard, asserted authority and took over the conversation. He was belligerent- loud, angry, aggressive and sarcastic. (We were the only guests left so he could permit himself to be free.) The floor manager was staff. Only an owner is entitled to carry on as he did; the business is his to risk.

I didn’t put up much of an argument. I am considered “nice English” here. I was predisposed to like the place. I was tired and surprised by the blitzkrieg. I was with guests and didn’t want to create a scene in front of them. When the customer is the sort (stupid American) that is polite (or at least civil) and staff recognizes this (only English was spoken at the table), the customer is at a disadvantage when staff bullies. Staff knows this. I knew this too. So I shut up and paid and left.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank ezbozo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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