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Finer Things: R.Deli Delicatessen & Wine Bar

As great as local fare can be, especially in Israel, those who enjoy the finer things in life know that you have to branch out.

Rani Daas had this concept in mind when he brought R.Deli Delicatessen & Wine Bar to downtown Jerusalem in November 2015 after 4 years in the liquor business at R&R Wine & Spirits. That’s why you’ll find imported and imported goods, cheese and meat and wine and gin.

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Photo: Courtesy of R.Deli

“We have a liquor store down the street and we wanted to integrate cheese and meat, so we decided to open up a whole different store,” says Daas. “We picked up the finer things in the country, imported cheeses, added pork products and brought delicacies from Italy and Spain.”

Daas’s idea of the “finer things” is on display inside R.Deli’s refrigerator that features around 100 cheeses from all over Europe, with an emphasis on those from Italy, France, Switzerland, Denmark and England, and its meat counter with 30 different types of cured and smoked meats all made locally in Nazareth, just a few hours north of Jerusalem. You can enjoy it all alongside a variety of pickled vegetables and olives either on a platter or in one of R.Deli’s generous sandwiches.

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Photo: Courtesy of R.Deli

Daas has a strong background in food and hospitality. He studied at the hotel management school in Herzlya and has worked in and managed hotels from Jerusalem to Eilat, so it’s no surprise that he knows nothing goes better with good cheese and meat than a glass fine wine.

“We have a dozen wines, I personally picked, from Italy, France, Argentina, Spain and one local wine made in Jish (a town in the Upper galilee, on the northeastern slops of Mount Meron just north of Safed.),” he says.

In his endeavor to make R.Deli a one-stop-shop for the finer things, however, Daas added another dimension — gin bar.

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Photo: Courtesy of R.Deli

“I like gin, so I decided we would prepare a gin and tonic,” Daas says. However, it’s not just any gin and tonic. “We have four types of tonic and 30-odd types of gin, and a gin trolley with spices used with gin. Gin and tonic doesn’t get its deserved respect. In this country, it’s a misunderstood drink.

“It deserves more than it gets. We give it life.”

Perhaps the coup de grace is the atmosphere, which can best be described as cozy and charming. Between the earthy wooden pallet walls and shelves lined with various delicacies, the checkered table cloths and impeccably warm service, it conjures up a feeling that you could just as easily be in a French or Italian delicatessen as in Jerusalem — the perfect way to unwind after a long day or week.