Tucked into an inconspicuous corner of Deer Park is a tiny tour de force of Israeli and pan-Mediterranean flavors prepared to one of the strictest codes in town.
Cincinnati is home to very few sit-down kosher restaurants, and when Avner and Karen Chriqui opened Kinneret Café in 2009, they sought to fill that void for the Hasidic Jewish community. The Chriquis have seen a steady stream of health-conscious diners ever since. While Kinneret is technically pescatarian (try the tuna panini!) most of the menu is vegetarian. For the ultimate experience, opt for the Mediterranean platter. At $9.95, it’s a steal for five herby falafel globules, generous scoops of hummus and baba ghanoush, two briny stuffed grape leaves, chopped Israeli salad, and the accompanying basket of warm pita.
The vegan shawarma plate—made with deftly spiced (think curry and cumin) seitan—is served atop a giant schmear of house-made hummus. It may not be the most colorful plate on Plainfield Road, but it’s undoubtedly one of the tastiest. And don’t pass on the shakshuka: three eggs poached in blistering hot tomato sauce with sautéed peppers is a comforting way to break the mid-day fast.
Kinneret Café, 8316 Plainfield Rd., Deer Park, (513) 791-1777, kinneretcafe.com. Lunch Fri, lunch and dinner Sun–Thurs.