The idea behind Café Louise is that healthy food can be tasty food, and I think they have accomplished all that, and more! Traveling to a different country, where there is another language spoken could pose a problem for people who have allergies and special food requests. Imagine trying to communicate with someone who’s first language isn’t the same as yours to make sure there aren’t cross contamination issues with nuts! Cafe Louise confirmed in advance that they could accommodate vegan, gluten-free and our family’s nut allergy, and they more than followed through with even more than that, so much so that we ate at their Rothschild location in Tel Aviv twice and once in Haifa, too.
It wasn’t the warmest night in Tel Aviv, but coming from freezing cold Canada, we decided to brave the “cool” and sit on their front patio outside for our first family dinner out. To our complete delight, there were outdoor heaters that kept us warm and happy and in the fresh air. All of us were smiling!
Our server came over and was so incredibly nice, and very able to answer all of our questions, including understanding vegan and allergies! They even have a dedicated vegan menu (insert really happy mother here)!
To start some of us shared a dish called Apples and Goats, a large, fresh salad with seasoned goat cheese (local and fresh), apple, carrot, cranberries, lemon juice, black pepper, olive oil, and hot paprika. It was simple, and super delicious. My sister and mother shared a tomato and white bean soup, that came with a side of fresh sourdough bread (they also brought a gluten-free bun) and this whipped spread, which was made from garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. We immediately ordered a second bowl, since one was clearly not going to be enough.
My mother ordered something called “Bean Eggplant”, which I think doesn’t sounds as pretty or as great as this dish really was. It was a large serving of grilled eggplant with sundried tomatoes, topped with plenty of black lentils and organic tahini and garnished with fresh sprouts and parsley. If you could have seen my mother’s smile, you would be immediately ordering this dish. She proceeded to include this as part of her meal all 3 times we dined at Cafe Louise and I suspect she will be trying to duplicate this dish at home in the near future.
My mother and sister are often very pleased with fresh, organic, vegan dishes, but my little brother on the other hand is much harder to please. For a kid who eat raw beet, black beans, lentils and microgreens with a little oil and vinegar at home, he isn’t great ordering off many menus. He ordered a whole wheat sourdough pizza with simple tomato, goat cheese and onions and a “Purple” juice with beets, celery, and apple and loved both, which us all happy and able to enjoy our meals.
My father ordered the Vegan Paella which was made up of wild rice, whole-grain red rice, azuki beans, pea, ginger, mushrooms, yam cubes, tofu, in coconut milk, brewers’ yeast, coriander, and chili peppers. I knew he loved it a ton, when off of their extensive menu, he decided to order it all 3 times we visited. In Haifa, he tried to order something else, but the waiter told him that the paella was the best, so it went with it! I tried it, and would recommend it to anyone. It was also plated beautifully, as was everything they served hot in a cast iron pot.
I absolutely ordered the Tofu Sandwich they served. It was huge and layered with a rainbow of stir-fried tofu strips, onions, mushrooms, soy and date honey, lettuce, tomato and garlic spread. The accompanying shredded salad wasn’t my favourite, only because it was mainly carrot, but everyone else loved it – it did taste fresh and light.
We also tried various soups, which were incredible, the spirulina smoothie, which my mother loved, and our guide Avishai stared at with a perplexed look since it looked like a big green smoothie. Everyone loved their “Mother Earth Salad” made up of black lentils, fresh goat cheese, beetroot cubes, carrot, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, sunflower sprouts and mint in a lemony dressing. You can’t imagine the size of these salads – they are made for someone with a super-hearty appetite.
Our server insisted that we try dessert (in the nicest way!), and my brother loved his fruit sorbet and we all shared a vegan coconut milk, tapioca and fruit parfait. It was delicious and super fresh, as well.
You should really check out their menu if you are in Israel as they serve something, or many things for everyone. Their menu is designed by lots of people, including nutritionists, although the portion sizes are huge and everything was super delicious.
If I lived in Israel, I would have bought their whipped garlic spread and preserves being sold in their retail area in glass jars. It’s great that they sell so many of their favourites for people to enjoy at home.
Cafe Louise offered the best service we had in all of Israel, and even topped most places in Toronto. Special thanks to Maayan who served us our first night in Tel Aviv, who was so accommodating and welcoming, and was even kind enough to give us other restaurant recommendations that were vegan. I will be reviewing one of her recommendations too, which turned out to be one of our favourite family restaurant meals ever!
It is possible to eat good food anywhere in the world, and when you do, you meet great people and get to try new things, so it can be a real treat!