Sunday, June 21, 2015

Savida Seafood in Akko

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were spending our Father's Day Sunday in the ancient city of Akko. After spending the morning strolling through the market area within the old city streets and along the waterfront, we were all more than ready to have a delicious lunch.

Being a seaside city, we were anxious to have some fresh local seafood. As you may know, salmon is quite popular here in Israel, but that's obviously not as fresh as the Mediterranean fish. We were definitely looking for a restaurant that reminded us of the delicious meals we enjoyed in Greece last year.

Per the usual, my father spent some time doing some Akko restaurant research on TripAdvisor. While he found the restaurant Uri Buri to be ranked #1, my mother didn't find the photos of their dishes to be all that appealing. See here for some candid examples posted by tourists (not the restaurant):

While we shouldn't always judge a meal by how it looks, my father says it's hard to ignore poor visuals when a significant portion of the restaurant experience is the presentation. But I just think my father's a snob who watches too much Master Chef reality shows.

Nevertheless, we decided to go have lunch at Savida instead. Based on the #3 TripAdvisor ranking, more modest setting, and more photogenic dishes, we thought it would be a better fit for my family.

The "fun" part was that there was no menu at all. You would just be brought out whatever was freshly caught that day. Chances are, it would be the same thing most days, but not having a choice was part of the allure for my father. My mother just wanted somewhere that looked clean.

So after we found the long hallway that made the Turkish Bazaar, we walked past the vendors selling their goods, passing each "door" looking for our lunch.

If you're not looking for Sevida, you can probably miss it as there are a few restaurants in that hallway, but there was an exit to an outdoor patio area, so that's how we knew we found Savida.

We were the first to arrive at 12PM for lunch, so we had our choice of seats, though to be honest, the seats were all pretty much the same. Our server told us there would be 2 servings of fish for each person along with a big variety of starter salads and bread.

Arabic salads are a lot more comprehensive than "American salads." It was much more comparable to the Korean banchan that my family knew all too well. While my father enjoyed the variety, my grandparents thought everything was "just OK" given they could make most of these things at home. Oh, you have to love Jewish grandparents.

Soon thereafter, our grilled fish came out, perfectly cooked and delightfully tender. We forgot to ask what the fish was, but it looked like perhaps branzino (called levrak in Hebrew)? The freshness could be observed as the meat was falling off the bone and forks. My father taught my mother how to de-bone her fish, and we were off to the races.

Soon after finishing the first entree of fish, four filleted pieces of mullet (called buri in Hebrew) in an amba sauce (a tangy mango pickle sauce) came out. This fish was even better than the first one. Unfortunately, my grandparents weren't big fans of fish (which made sense since Uzbekistan is a land locked country). So my father enjoyed their portions as well.

After our leisurely lunch, my mother and grandmother enjoyed some strong Arabic coffee to finish the meal off.

The bill came out to about 510 NIS (or about $133 USD) for the four of us, including the outrageous 18% tax! Definitely not a "$$" meal as TripAdvisor advertised, but that was probably more for their modest ambiance and decor rather than their $$$ prices.

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