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  • Janis Raisen

Almog's Gallery: A Lavish, Gourmet Buffet Surrounded by Art, Antiques, and Nostalgia

Tucked away on a tranquil moshav just minutes from Kfar Saba is Israel's most unique restaurant: Almog's Gallery. Located on Moshav Neve Yamin, the place is a true hidden gem, and a quiet escape from city life. It doubles as a beautiful restaurant, and as a gallery of antiques, art and collectibles that are dispersed throughout the entire place—and all of them are for sale.

Here is a glimpse of the kind of items you will see on the way to the dining area. Every corner is filled with vibrant and colorful items for sale ,from dishes, to furniture to decorative pieces and everything in between. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

More items for sale at Almog's Gallery that fill every corner of the front end of the building. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

Once you reach the dining area, you will see how the intricate decor frames the elegant and tasty buffet. There are salads galore, many delicious side dishes, lots of main courses such as fish and Italian food and many more, including vegan and vegetarian, options. Of course there is also a huge assortment of deserts. The food served comes from a kosher vendor, but the restaurant itself does not have official kosher certification.

One small section of the buffet is seen above. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

Some of the hot dishes and a few of the baked goods can be seen in this photo. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

The buffet is open from 0900-1500 Sunday - Friday. It costs 99 NIS during the week and 120 NIS on Fridays. The fantastic service, and the quality and amount of food make it all worth the price. Make sure you make reservations in advance.

Almog Rokach, owner and manager of Almog's Gallery (Photo: Janis Raisen)

What began as an art studio 19 years ago for Almog Rokach, Almog's Gallery owner and manager, has grown into the most fascinating gallery/restaurant combination. The full restaurant was incorporated 12 years ago, which transformed it completely into a unique day trip to browse, shop , and have the opportunity to indulge in a lavish brunch at the same time. It feels like eating inside an exclusive and private museum filled with antiques and art that exude warmth and nostalgia.

"I don't spend money on it [advertising]. I prefer that people say: 'You know, I've been there and you must go.' It's better. The right people come," explained Rokach.

This restaurant is the best kept secret among Israelis. It is cherished so much by the locals that some even travel to the gallery from as far away as Eilat—just to eat breakfast there, according to Rokach. This hidden gem is popular mainly among Israelis because it's not widely known as a tourist spot. Rokach has never advertised. All of the business comes from word of mouth.

"I don't spend money on it [advertising]. I prefer that people say: 'You know, I've been there and you must go.' It's better. The right people come," explained Rokach.

The luxurious and relaxing outdoor patio at Almog's Gallery. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

It's the kind of place where you can enjoy a special bonding moment with your grandmother, or get the girls together for a perfect afternoon tea atmosphere. It also makes for an intimate romantic meal with your significant other, and of course a great place for a family outing. It has even become a popular spot for groups of guys, according to Rokach. She explained that although Fridays tend to attract many couples, during the week the customer base was initially 70% female, but that number has evened out to a 50-50 split over the years.

This video highlights one of the cozy dining areas, and shows the paintings and warm decor.


The Secret Dining Twist at Almog's Gallery

As you grab your first plate from the buffet and look around at the eclectic decor with intricate designs, you will be surprised to learn that every item is integrated into the gallery theme. The items for sale at Almog's Gallery extend far beyond the pieces in the main gallery area.

A section of one of the dining rooms shows the many items that can be enjoyed not only for the ambience, but everything is available for purchase. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

One of the china mugs used to serve coffee. (Photo: Janis Raisen)

If you fancy the coffee cup you are drinking from, the plate you are eating off of, the chair you are sitting on, the table you are dining at, or a painting that takes your breath away, you can purchase it. You can purchase anything. Everything you see in the restaurant is for sale.

"You can even buy me," Rokach joked.

Almog Rokach is holding up one of the dresses that she sells in the clothing section. She designs a lot of clothing, but she also sells items made by 50 designers from France and Italy.

Nineteen years ago Almog Rokach established the foundation for this iconic gallery, and the restaurant part of the business has been in full operation for the past 12 years.

A clothing designer by trade, Rokach and her mom (also a clothing designer) owned two boutique shops, one in Ra'anana and the other in Kfar Saba. When her mother retired Rokach decided to donate the clothing from both stores and she quickly closed up shop to pursue her other love: art.

"I said to my husband that I love to paint and that I am going to study art."

When I went to see Shuk HaPishpeshim (Jaffa's Flea Market), I felt like an old soul, like from the 18th century."

She spent one year studying art privately, then asked her husband if she could use one of his greenhouses that he used to grow ornamental fish. He had two buildings on the property and she wanted to use one as a gallery space, so she could come with her friends and paint.

From Art Studio to Almog's Gallery

"When I went to see Shuk HaPishpeshim (Jaffa's Flea Market), I felt like an old soul, like from the 18th century. I bought a few paintings for the gallery and people started coming but I was only here two days a week."

She noticed that people would arrive in the morning and stay until the afternoon so she started serving cakes that she baked, along with her now famous house drink (fresh, red drink composed of grapes, lemon, and other fresh ingredients).

"People used to come and say, 'Wow this is beautiful. How much is this?' And I used to say that it wasn't for sale. So they would say, 'Can you order me one?' Over time people came and they wanted to buy. So I started looking for an agent in England and Belgium. That's how it started."

She also began sewing and designing clothing for a few of her female customers that knew about her previous clothing stores and her work as a fashion designer. The demand quickly grew so she started designing clothing again and added her clothing line to the gallery, then with more art, dishes, porcelain, furniture, jewelry, and more until it grew to become the gallery that it is now with an enormous amount of items for sale— thousands of pieces.

So how many people that come to eat actually buy something other than food? "Almost everybody buys something," Rokach said.

There is nothing ordinary about the gallery, the restaurant or Rokach's story, so what feeling does she want her customers to have when they visit Almog's Gallery?

"Like they are coming to my house. This is so private for me. When people are happy I am so happy. It's like a mother. When your mother makes food everyone is happy and that's what makes her happy. If people enjoy—wow—I love it."


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