Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids

 

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids PIN

When traveling to a new country, whether one is adult or child, the best way to learn about your vacation locale is through its cuisine. With Israel being a melting pot of cultures brought about not only by immigrants from around the world in the last century and a half but also by locals who have been there for decades; one finds a rich history and broad influence of flavors from European, Ottoman, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern to name a few. For those planning to visit Israel here are our Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids salad

 

Salads

One of the things that Israel is renowned for is its fruit and vegetables. From the fruit of the land, amazing salads are produced, and Tel Aviv is fast becoming the go-to place for vegans. Also, the salads can double up as dips, side dishes or even be a meal on their own. Rich in vibrant color and flavor; each dish is a culinary adventure in its own right.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids chopped

Travelers can enjoy garbanzo bean hummus paste with the ground sesame seed tahini, or the roasted red and yellow bell peppers in their marinade to the finely diced, or a simple Israeli salad of cucumber and tomato and a drizzle of vinegar and olive-oil dressing which is almost a national dish.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids dip

There are dozens of ways to prepare eggplant from smoked, to oven-baked or deep-fried; mixed with mayonnaise or garlic and lemon; the options are endless, and the same goes for cauliflower. A top favorite is Tabouleh with its finely chopped parsley, and mint and travelers shouldn’ forget the olives and pickles. Lots of olive oil, herbs, and garlic are used in the making of the salads, and they can make the most hardened carnivore enjoy their meal.

 

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids dishes

Falafel and Schnitzel

Israel’s version of the German-Viennese veal or pork dish is the Schnitzel – a thin preparation of chicken breast; breaded and fried, served with chips or in a pita with salads, hummus, and tahini. This dish is a staple in the local diet. You can buy it from street vendors or order it in restaurants, bought frozen and ready to heat and eat. It is not uncommon for Schnitzel to be on a typical Israeli family’s menu at least once a week.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids pita

Not to be outdone, the vegetarian counterpart made from the very versatile chickpea is the renowned falafel. Specially prepared chickpeas are shaped into little spheres and deep fried. Containing Mediterranean herbs and Middle Eastern spices this dip bursts with flavor. Also served in a pita with chips, hummus, and salads, it is Israel’s top street food.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids falafel

Shipudim

Known as kebabs and kebobs in other parts of the world, in Israel, they are called Shipudim – cubes of meat – typically chicken thigh meat, beef or lamb -skewered onto sticks of wood or metal and barbecued on an open fire. In the open-air markets or restaurants and from street-food vendors, Shipudim combine Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture. One can get Shipudim served with salads and pita bread as a substantial midday or evening meal.
Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids meat

Bourekas

Found at most social gatherings, making easy school lunches, served at picnics, parties, and other events; Bourekas are a street food and make great travel food too! These pockets made with phyllo pastry layers and filled with potato, spinach, cheese or mushrooms, more than likely have their origin in Turkey. Interestingly, their various geometric shapes and sesame or poppy seed toppings indicate their filling. Triangles with poppy typically mean mushroom. Round with sesame are filled with white Bulgarian cheese, and the cylindrical ones are stuffed with potato. The spinach comes in a tube spiral, and a pizza flavor roll-up became available in the last decade and is a favorite for many.
Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids burekas

Huevos Haminados

The very name is a giveaway as to its Spanish origins; a simple yet beautiful preparation of hard boiled eggs traditionally served at Passover or on the Sabbath introduced to Israel by Sephardic Jews. Boiled in tea leaf and coffee-ground infused water, the shells take on a dark purple-brown hue and the egg white a creamy-beige. Cooked for that many hours, the proteins and sugars in the egg change structure and the egg becomes nutty in flavor and soft in texture. It is traditionally served with bourekas described above.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids egg

 

Shakshuka

A signature dish of Israel, eaten traditionally for breakfast, lunch or dinner is a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, all-in-one-pan meal. Shakshuka consists of eggs poached in a stewed sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and Middle Eastern spices. In addition, some chefs add spinach for a variation on the theme. One typically eats Shakshuka with cheeses, salads, and fresh-baked bread or pita.
Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids shakshuka

 Sabih

Pronounced with a guttural ‘h’ at the back of the throat, the Sabih is basically a Middle Eastern sandwich consisting of hummus, fried eggplant and sliced hard-boiled egg. It can be served between two slices of bread of your choice, or a pita pocket or in a wrap. Also, one can add ther toppings like a sour cream or spicy harissa, and it makes a very filling and tasty vegetarian meal.
Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids sabih

 Za’atar bagel

Take a bagel, add Za’atar and what do you have? A very traditional Israeli staple found in bakeries, sold on the streets and open-air markets as well as in the grocery stores. Za’atar is a typically Middle Eastern plant, sometimes known as hyssop and a herb from the oregano family. The name Za’atar is also used to describe a mixture of herbs with sesame seeds and other spices used not only in baking but also in meat dishes. If you are looking for an inexpensive snack, get a za’atar bagel! This savory ringed bread dough-based treat is baked and then topped with olive oil and the green and fragrant spice mix.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids lunch

 Hanukkah donuts

Unlike in the USA where there are donut shops, it is rare to find sweet deep-fried treats for sale. However, a few weeks before Hanukkah (which falls anywhere between November to December according to the calendar of Judaism) there are donuts in abundance. The sufganiyot come in ring form topped with chocolate, and different colored frostings; plain and decorated with sprinkles. But more commonly associated with this religious holiday are the jelly-filled ones with powdered sugar on top. In recent years the fillings have become more creative and exotic. Fillings range from dulce-de-leche, chocolate and vanilla cream to cappuccino!
Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids jelly

 Liquid refreshments

Even in the colder and wetter season in Israel, being in the Middle East and Mediterranean means that most of the year is hot. Therefore, Israelis have come up with some delightful liquid refreshments for hydration and enjoyment, apart from very necessary water. Served at restaurants and bought from street vendors or in grocery stores you will find a few of these healthy and refreshing treats.

First off, there is a drink called ‘Lemo-nana’ which is lemonade with ‘nana’ which is mint. Extremely thirst-quenching on a hot day, don’t leave Israel without trying it. Also, you can try freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices available in the markets, from street vendors and drink bars in shopping malls.

Whether you like carrot and beetroot or grapefruit and orange or a combination of them all, you can mix and match your drinks and enjoy them for a very reasonable price.
Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids drink

Another very refreshing drink to try is Almond water, a sweet cordial which has its influence in northern Africa. With added rosewater, the flavor of almonds shines through.

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids bottles

At the southern tip of Israel is a kibbutz called Yotvata. This location is famous for providing the whole country with something called “Choco,” from the Hebrew word for chocolate. It is a little sachet with a cup volume of chocolate milk! With just the right amount of sweet and the right amount of chocolate, taken straight out of the fridge, it is the perfect drink on a hot day and has been satisfying locals and tourists for six decades!

Ten Must-Try Israeli Foods for Families with Kids dessert

 

Family Dining at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant

 

Family Dining at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant Hong Kong

 

At the Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong, guests can enjoy fine dining in a beautiful environment. As you dine on fresh, delicious seafood, you can see the lavish sights inside the building as well as the city from across the harbor.

In what is known as the Typhoon Shelter of Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbor, you will find one of the world’s largest floating restaurant complexes in the form of the amazing Jumbo Kingdom. Established over four decades ago, it has been in operation ever since, except for a hiatus for a few years after a severe fire.

Recently it underwent a multimillion dollar upgrade and transformation. It is remarkably pretty to look at and an interesting place to eat, offering sightseeing, shopping, and a unique dining experience off of dry land.

Location

Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant

Even though it is called “floating,” the entire Jumbo Kingdom is not entirely bobbing out on the bay, as it has a stable concrete foundation in most parts. Nevertheless, the only way to get to it is by a swift boat or ferry ride from the promenade. One approaches the jetty on old-fashioned ramp-steps which segue to wooden planks on a deck.

There, while you wait for the complimentary vessel that takes you to the Jumbo Kingdom, you can admire the size and design of the colossal creation from afar. It is breathtaking at night with the façade resembling a great circus tent and magnificent imperial palace or fairytale castle.

Decoration and Dining

Family Dining at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant

 

The Dragon Court restaurant is known for its fine dining and is so large it can cater to well over 1500 guests. It is divided into various large rooms and banquet halls, all decorated with garish colors, oriental statuettes and of course, enormous golden dragons. Adorning the walls are portraits and photos of the many celebrities and royalty who have eaten here over the decades.

Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant

There are beautiful aquariums full of lovely-looking inhabitants for display, not eating. Since this restaurant specializes in seafood, there are other aquariums and tanks with live fish also on display outside of the dining area.

Diners can take a tour of the tanks, surrounded by moving conveyor belts. In this way, a guest can see that the facilities and sea creatures are clean, that the guests can see what they will be eating and that guests have respect for what they will be eating, as this is culturally significant. There are marine mollusks and crustaceans, a myriad of shellfish and a vast assortment of live seafood as well as crates in water and conveyor belts transporting buckets containing freshly dressed oysters, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, squid and more!

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After the tour, there are steps up to the Dragon Court on the first deck, and there are quite beautiful mosaics on the wall, the décor depicting the Ming Dynasty as well as more contemporary artwork too. For a small price, there is the possibility of dressing up as the King and Queen in Imperial robes. It’s perfect for photos!

As mentioned before, the Jumbo Kingdom is vast, and the whole complex can hold 4500 people. In some spots, you can look out of the window and see the pier and the  Hong Kong skyline.

They prepared the Cantonese cuisine near our table, and we were able to watch the chefs prepare the meal while we waited. We had the first course of sautéed shrimp with green pepper followed by the cooking of “Drunk Shrimp” over an open flame; done as a flambé, which is still on fire when set on your plate. The menu is diverse, and the experience is a novelty.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are many stairs and uneven ramps in the Jumbo Kingdom complex. Getting to the restaurant and up to the top deck, as well as the tour of the tanks involves climbing. It is not easily accessible for those needing the use of wheelchairs.
  • The tour of the tanks with all the sea creatures can be an unpleasant and overwhelming sensation for those who are sensitive to smell.
  • It can be crowded, and the noise level can be high, so make sure to reserve a place before peak time.

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  • We preferred to take an organized tour for safety reasons and to see the city at night.
  • In general, bathroom hygiene is of a lesser grade than in the US, and you can expect in some places traditional bathrooms which you cannot sit on.
  • There are very few accommodations for special diets. There is a language barrier, and in a best case scenario you’ll get a menu with a picture of the food, but there’s no way to verify ingredients.

 

 

 

Dining at Jaffa’s Itzik Hagadol Restaurant


We first visited Itzik Hagadol in Jaffa, Israel back in 2011.
We were walking back to our beachfront hotel – the David Intercontinental, after spending the afternoon in the famous Jaffa flea market. We loved the restaurant so much that we’ve since made going back there a family tradition of sorts.


Dining at Jaffa's Itzik Hagadol Restaurant salads

 

As you come up David Raziel Street from Tel Aviv’s beachfront, you will find the restaurant in a nondescript old building dating from the turn of the previous century. The display of different meats in the window reminds you that this is mainly a steak house.

Dining at Jaffa's Itzik Hagadol Restaurant mosaic
Decor

The two rooms are decorated sparsely with long dark wood tables close to each other for a cozy atmosphere. Patrons who are a mixture of tourists and locals all know to come here for the food rather than the ambiance.
Unless you have made a prior booking, service is first to come first served. Often there are long lines of people waiting for a table. If you or your child are unable to wait for a long time, it is recommended that you call ahead to reserve a place since it does tend to get crowded in the evenings and weekends.

The Food

Even though the restaurant prides itself on its meat, we go there for the 20 or more salad selections (many vegetarian and gluten free) on the menu.
They have a superb appetizer platter that includes tahini, carrot salad, eggplant made three ways, falafel, Israeli chopped salad, cabbage salad, egg salad and an assortment of tomato salads.
Our favorites are the spicy Moroccan, the cold minced chicken liver salad and the roasted eggplant salads that never cease to leave us craving for more.

The refillable salad spread (that you can get as your main course or as an accompaniment to any of their meat dishes) comes with a Laffa – flat bread, fresh and hot out of the stone oven. We wash the meal down with a pitcher of nana (mint) lemonade that they squeeze and prepare daily on the premises.

The menu selection is long and varied, and it usually takes my son several minutes to choose and…come to the same decision each time; he likes their mixed grill skewer platter, which features a combination of chicken, beef and lamb.
I usually order the Romanian kebabs unless I feel adventurous (yes, I know the calories…) and order the grilled goose liver.

Dining at Jaffa's Itzik Hagadol Restaurant lemonade
They do offer ribs and steak as well as cooked fish, but this is a place that most come to for the excellent meat skewers.

If you still have space for dessert, which you probably never will – don’t leave without trying their Malabi, a light and creamy rosewater pudding with a refreshing and delicate flavor.

Over the years, we’ve found the servers to be courteous and friendly; they even remember our son by his name.
Last time we were there and, as usual, couldn’t have any dessert the server packed a malabi to go for us to enjoy in our hotel room later.

The Jaffa restaurant originally opened in 1996 by a father and son duo with a space that accommodated less than 60 people. Since then, it has expanded to two larger dining rooms that can seat many more guests.

Because of its reputation and success, in recent years, the family has opened a second location in Encino California too.

When you visit Itzik Hagadol (Translated as ‘Big Itzik’) it is recommended that you walk to the restaurant or catch a taxi as parking is not easy to come by, particularly in the busiest times since Jaffa is a bustling city and space is a commodity.

Autism Travel Tips

  •  For any sensory issues, this place is best enjoyed off hours when the noise level is reduced.
  • If your child is sensitive to the smell of cooking, ask for a table away from the kitchen, which shouldn’t be a problem.
  •  If your child gets antsy while waiting for their food, you can take them to the front of the restaurant and let them watch how the Laffas  bread area  is freshly baked.

 

Address

3 David Raziel St, Jaffa,Israel

Phone

057-943-8970

Dining at Bucharest’s Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant

 

Caru’ Cu Bere, translated as “the beer wagon”, is a German style beer house restaurant on Stavropoleos Street in the Lipscani district of Bucharest.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant street seating
The Restaurant

Originally opened in a different location, it moved to this venue in 1899. The Gothic Revival style building is famous for its Art Nouveau dark wood panels, vaulted ceilings and stained glass window interior, and it has been a staple landmark in the Romanian capital for over a century.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant menu

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant woodworkDuring our last visit to Bucharest, we decided to stop there for an early dinner after touring the city’s  Old Town. The elaborate restaurant menu boasts over 100 dishes, and as it is very popular with tourists and locals, one usually needs reservations. Luckily for us, on that day they weren’t too busy and we scored a table within a few minutes.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant glasswork

The evening we came in they had musicians and dancers performing folk music and it was quite loud in the main dining area. Also, Romania still allows smoking in restaurants, which is a challenge for our son who suffers from asthma. Luckily but the hostess was very understanding and accommodated our request to get a table in the non-smoking area and away from the noise.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant musicians
We brought the i-Pad along for our son which was beneficial, as the restaurant had WiFi and it helped occupy him during the relatively long wait for our order.

One of the features my husband and son appreciated since they don’t read Romanian, was the fact that the servers all spoke English, and they even had an English menu describing all the different foods and ingredients, so they didn’t have to keep asking.

Reading through the extensive list was a somewhat lengthy process, and we took our time deciding what dishes to try while munching on the peasant bread and drinking the Romanian Ursus beer (us), and a freshly squeezed glass of apple juice ( our son.)

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant inside roomThe Food

We finally ordered three salads; the fish-egg Icre, the roasted eggplant Vinete, and roasted pepper Ardei grasi.
The eggplant salad was thick but smooth, and we liked the Icre (fish egg salad) since it wasn’t too oily.

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant decor

Next we sampled their Ciorba soup which is similar to Serbian bean soup, and we each had a mini kebab mititel with mustard.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant appetizers

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant ciorba
We decided to share four main dishes so we can all get a taste of the different cooking styles of the region. We ordered Dovlegi Umpluti, which is stuffed squash, Tocanitza, which is a beef stew, Sarmale, the Romanian version of stuffed grape leaves, and slow roasted pork cutlet. They all were served with a side of Mamaliga, a stove-top boiled polenta. We unanimously found everything delicious but slightly salty.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant sausage

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant dolmasThough the portions were on the large side and we were full, we felt that we couldn’t leave without trying their famous Papnasi.,The stuffed fried Romanian dessert. These cheese fried donuts were fresh, fluffy and topped with the best black cherry we’ve tasted in years.
Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant stew

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant apple drink

Autism Travel Tips

*Make sure to call ahead and make a reservation for evening dining, especially on weekends.
*Plan to dine early if your child is noise sensitive. The restaurant is famous and hosts large groups at times adding to the decibel level.
*The restaurant offers an extensive variety of Romanian dishes but doesn’t really cater to special needs diets.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant dessert

 

 

Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant Jaffa, Israel

The saying goes that when you are a tourist but want to eat like a local you ask a cab driver where they go for lunch. And that’s exactly what I did last month when I was visiting Tel Aviv. He recommended a spot that I had not seen in any of my travel guide books or hotel concierge recommendations called Guetta in Jaffa.
Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel RESTAURANT

The story behind it

While driving there, he told me the place is a successful of mother-son collaboration. The story was the son had tried to launch a French and then Italian restaurant in that same location unsuccessfully before mom Leah suggested they open a Tripolitanian home style one based on her ‘secret recipes’. It turns out mom was right! Word spread fast about the tasty food and excellent service at Guetta‘s, and people started coming.

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel SEATING

The Atmosphere

Located a few blocks east of the Clock Tower in Jaffa, The first thing you notice when you enter the restaurant is the long counter displaying all the fresh homemade salads the place offers. Right behind it, you get a glimpse of the ’kitchen’ large old fashioned pots containing the food on today’s menu sitting warm on the stove top. ‘We are not your run of the mill restaurant with multiple page menus’ explains the owner ’ we offer a limited selection of dishes since everything is made from scratch .’

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel POTS

The ambiance is casual and non-assuming: basic wooden bistro chairs with paper covered tables with a few family heirloom old photographs hanging on the wall. “Patrons come here for the food” the owner confides in me “you’ll find out-; It is quite addictive.'”

 

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel RICE
After my sampler lunch accompanied by loads of Chirashi (totally addictive) Raffi the owner, makes me an offer I can’t refuse. No, it isn’t dessert ( a semolina pickled dates cake drizzled with honey and rose water) but a  tour of the kitchen area for my visual and olfactory  Grande Finale.

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel DESSERT

But it is all about the food!

Two large pans on the stove immediately attract my attention: one with Bastils  (fried mashed potato and meat patty ) that smell so inviting I’m tempted to pick one right off the pan.The second is filled with  Mafrums ( ground meat pastries )that is being fried fresh to order.

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel STEW
His helper, Hamoudy lifts the lid off the stuffed cabbage pot, and I notice it’s already about three-quarters empty.’ We run out of those fast especially with the takeout crowd’ explains the owner.’ We continue to the next pot filled with a tangy smell vegetable soup made from Colorado, Celery, and Carrots.

 

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel SOUP
But, it is the restaurant’s Tbechas (mix of meats, vegetables, and oats stewed for several hours and then served with fluffy couscous that most patrons can’t get enough of. The restaurant offers   Belkamun(cumin, tomato and bean stew), BelKara (chickpeas and pumpkin) and Belsalk Tbechas (beans and green beets).

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel ENTREES

We turn to the counter displaying some colorful salad choices as Rafi points out the specialty salads: Massier (Libyan pickles.) Chirashi (mashed spicy mashed pumpkin), Pepper Chum (spicy peppers), and his prized pickled lemons that take over a year to reach the correct texture and taste.

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel SALADS
Before leaving, I glance at their interesting Arak (anise-flavored alcoholic drink) collection that includes Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Bubble Gum flavors and finish off my chilled glass of refreshing almond water.

 

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel OUZO

The restaurant is kosher, very kid friendly (yes, they have fried chicken schnitzels) with budget-friendly prices.Those not familiar with Libyan specialties should try the restaurant’s  sampler tasting menu for two that includes a variety of salads and spreads, choice of fish Hreime or stuffed vegetables as an appetizer, Mafroum and steamed couscous with three stews of your choice for 127 NIS.  (Equivalent to 40 US dollars)

Sampling Tripolitanian Cuisine at Guetta restaurant in Jaffa,Israel MENU
Autism travel tips

 

It is better to arrive after the lunch crowd around 2 pm or before 6 pm for a quieter atmosphere and a more personal service.The restaurant provides take-out service so you can enjoy the food at your hotel or one of the many nearby parks for a picnic.If your child is a picky eater, ask Rafi to prepare a plate of simple spaghetti or chicken pieces.

 

 

Dining at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze, London

One of our family’s favorite things to do when traveling around the world is discovering and sampling new foods and locales. Over the years, we have created our own short list of ‘the best ‘, as well as less nice lists of the worst of and never again counterparts.However, what started as an educational attempt on our part to expose our kids to cultural diversity took a life of its own in today’s world bombarded by chef reality TV and demonstration cooking shows.

When the boys grew older, they started insisting on compiling their restaurant bucket list; like Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons in Savannah or Emeril in NOLA. Since as our autistic son eloquently put it; if they have a TV show they must have cooked something good in their lifetime. So, it seemed quite natural, on our latest visit to London, to focus on ‘Hell’s kitchen’s maestro himself, Gordon Ramsey.

We chose to stay at the centrally located converted Victorian townhouse, Grosvenor Square Marriott, not for it’s well-appointed and quiet family rooms, but because of the hotel’s Ramsey owned restaurants, the Michelin-starred Maze started in 2005, and the more relaxed Maze Grill launched in 2008.

The restaurant

After sampling and thoroughly enjoying the Maze Grill’s different steaks along with freshly made salads and pasta, we decided it was time to upgrade and dine in the hotel’s main restaurant Maze.We made a reservation for a laid back late Sunday afternoon lunch when we were told there would be fewer patrons present.Upon arrival, we were allocated ample time to admire the modern looking leather and wood decor as the restaurant had effectively lost our reservation even after I showed the manager, the hostess’ handwritten confirmation card, clearly stating our reservation date and time. With that finally sorted out, I still had to have a lengthy unpleasant ‘chat’ with him to reiterate multiple times the medical reasons why my special needs son could not abide by the restaurant’s required attire.

Upon arrival, we were allocated ample time to admire the modern looking leather and wood decor as the restaurant had effectively lost our reservation even after I showed the manager, the hostess’ handwritten confirmation card, clearly stating our reservation date and time. With that finally sorted out, I still had to have a lengthy unpleasant ‘chat’ with him to reiterate multiple times the medical reasons why my special needs son could not abide by the restaurant’s required attire.

Once seated, it took another half hour to place the orders, and when one of us asked about a particular ingredient in a specific dish, the server just muttered she’ll be back soon and vanished for an unspecified period. Matters did not improve any during our meal, as orders were confused, served out of sync and the staff did a poor job verbally presenting the dishes that did arrive at our table.

Dining at Gordon Ramsey's Maze,London APPETIZER

 

Dining at Gordon Ramsey's Maze,London salad

Luckily we were seated in proximity to the large glass enclosed kitchen and managed to entertain ourselves by watching the kitchen staff turn the different miniature plates into detailed edible works of art.
The dishes we sampled, four each were adequately prepared, except my duck dish that felt like it had drowned in a bucket of salt.

Dining at Gordon Ramsey's Maze,London entree

Dining at Gordon Ramsey's Maze,London meat dish

By the time, I did manage to flag down our elusive server and complain, my family members had already completed their dessert and left.
A redone duck was eventually brought back to my table with no attempt at an apology for the lack of quality or extra wait.

Dining at Gordon Ramsey's Maze,London dessert

Dining at Gordon Ramsey's Maze,London ice cream

Naturally, the staff’s rude behavior affected and impacted our meal, but whether that was connected or not in any way to my pre-lunch encounter with the manager, we’ll never know.
Maze is clearly not the place to come hungry and leave happy with their bite-size portions and sporadic service, but more of a see and be seen the type of hyped place.

Nevertheless, Jeff, when asked, was glad to have been able to scratch it off his bucket list.
His only noteworthy comment about the experience was, ’ Ramsey must have needed staff hired fast for this restaurant and did not train them as well as he does to his subordinates on TV’, a thought I concur with. His recommendation as well as mine, for a good meal, do try Maze’s more unassuming sibling -The Maze Grill.

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