Everyone in the Western Galilee knows Miriam Hadad of the El Rabia Restaurant in Miilia. She is a kind of an icon in the Western Galilee food scene. Due to her touching life story Miriam is a symbol of women power, but more than that she is a unique cook who preserves the tradition of the Lebanese cuisine and manages to differentiate her cooking and stand out among the many restaurants in the area.
Immediately upon entering the restaurant located in the Sonol gas station complex at the entrance to Miilia, a beautiful Christian village between the Kabri intersection and Ma’alot, guests will encounter Miriam’s smile as she invites them to sit down. From this moment on, they are welcome to feel free, snoop around the kitchen and look into the pots brewing for their sake.
In Miriam’s restaurant everything is fresh, seasonal and mainly delicious; Period. Not for nothing does she have permanent customers from all around the country. “We started together, me and my husband, 18 years ago as a Hummus and Ful (fava bean) restaurant”, she says. “After a year my husband suddenly died. I was 25 years old and a mother of three small children. Contrary to our society’s customs, I decided to continue managing the restaurant. Over the years I added everything I have here today and enlarged the place. Now everyone is encouraging.”
Miriam defines her restaurant as Authentic Lebanese: “I learned to cook from my grandmother. She came to Miilia from Lebanon when she got married. In my grandmother’s time it was customary to eat vegetarian food on ordinary days. Meat was only served on holidays. Burghul was ground from wheat that was cooked and dried on the roof for a week.
“Over the years I combined many Lebanese delicacies in the restaurant, such as Shulbato (Burghul with tomatoes and zucchini cocked over a paraffin stove), Majadera, stuffed vine leaves and zucchini, Kube, Sambusak, Mansaf and chicken breast stuffed with rice and meat, a special Christmas dish that I make all year. On the grill I make Kebab, Saniya, superb mutton Shish Kebabs, and fish. The Maklube”, she smiles and continues, “I bring to the table and turn the pot upside down in front of the guests. My desserts are Baklava and Salep”.
When Miriam talks about her food, her eyes sparkle; not so much because of the food as much as because of the people eating it; it is very important for her that people like her food. So please tell her. After all, she cooks it just for the people most important to her: her three children… and you.