Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tanami Humus Bar - Ra'anana

With a very special visiting relative in town, we decided that a visit wouldn't be complete without an authentic Israeli humus experience.  Since I have already written about Abu Hassan and I wasn't entirely sure that it was the right place for this particular guest...we decided to try out Tanami Humus Bar in Ra'anana on Ahuza Street.

Tanami is a small but very popular humus bar.  Over the years we have been living in Ra'anana, we have often picked up humus to take home from Tanami but I have only sat down to eat here once or twice.

Tanami is Kosher and vegetarian.  It has a fairly limited menu featuring, as you might imagine, humus.  You can order it with an extra scoop of hot chick peas, hot grilled mushrooms, or fried eggpant.  With any of  these choices, it is prepared in a large bowl with fresh garlic, olive oil and parsley or coriander leaves.  The humus is served with a side of raw onions and some green olives.  You can order regular or whole wheat pita breads which are heated up on an open flame.  (Tanami does not usually have whole wheat pita bread on Fridays, for some reason).

The prices are quite reasonable.  A large bowl of humus, with one of the listed toppings, costs 27 N.I.S. (about $7).  Pitas are 1 N.I.S. each  You can also order Shakshuka (a middle eastern speciality made with tomatoes, red peppers and eggs), Hamshouka (a mixture of humus and shakshuka) or you can get falafel balls and french fries.  But most people are here to order one of the humus dishes with some pitas.  The humus serving is quite generous.  It seems to me that two people could easily share one of these dishes most of the time.

During the week, particularly around meal times, Tanami is extremely crowded.  On Fridays, the line-ups are out the door with people enjoying the patio, the friendly service and, of course, the humus.

Personally, I haven't totally figured out the attraction.  While Tanami makes great humus, it doesn't feel like a satisfying meal to me.  I haven't yet figured out how to enjoy a raw onion with my humus.  I've always thought of humus as an appetizer or part of a meal.  So I find it very interesting to watch people sitting around, enjoying a large bowl of creamy humus, as what seems to be their main course.  Nevertheless, compared to many other types of humus, Tanami humus is quite good.  Garlicky and reasonably thick, it has a unique and fresh taste.  I can't say that it is the best humus I have ever had but it is quite tasty.

Unlike Abu Hassan, there are reasonably comfortable tables and chairs - and napkins...
It is somewhat more orderly and certainly quite a bit cleaner.

I would call it a worthwhile experience for someone who wants to enjoy a bowl of humus as a social event and as a snack or appetizer.  Of course, it is quite easy to fill yourself up on fresh, hot pita breads and you could always order a few falafel balls if this is going to be your whole meal.

But as a meal experience - to me there is still something missing, though maybe not from the Tanami humus itself.  I suppose you can always complete the meal by heading off to Lavan for a frozen yogurt next door.

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