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KAPISH is the Word


Tired of the same old restaurant routine? Are you at the point where you keep going to that same mediocre café with the just “okay” food and subpar atmosphere? You know, that place where you already know you are going to have a not-so personable server with a name along the lines of Sally or Joe but you keep going back because your sweet tooth is craving a little something after dinner? Well, I’m sure you’ve just about exhausted your patience at those Ma and Pa cafés.

If you’re looking for a dining experience far beyond anything your mind has ever conceived, then an evening at Café Kapish must be penciled in to your agenda right this second. Café Kapish, located by the water at Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv, Israel, is so fresh, so novel, and so avant-garde that the experience is not only humbling but also literally deafening.

When I say deafening, I do mean it, but by all means I do not mean loud. In fact, I’d use any word but loud to describe Café Kapish. In addition to the fact that Café Kapish waiters have charm, elegance, and a sense of humor, they also have one other major difference from Sally and Joe; they are all deaf. Every single waiter at Café Kapish is deaf. If you’re tired of the lifeless waiters at your local pubs like me, I guarantee you will feel rejuvenated by the presence of the waiters at Café Kapish.

Now before you start regurgitating your lunch in confusion of how you place an order at Café Kapish, just relax. Two words: sign language. I know, I know, chances are you aren’t Anne Sullivan, which means that you probably aren’t fluent in sign language. But I will say this, there’s a reason why babies are now being taught sign language before English. Sign language is the language of the future! I mean let’s face it, when there is an extraterrestrial attack someday I’d say there’s a better chance of the aliens knowing sign language than English. So if you are interested in not only a completely unoriginal dining experience but also in learning the language of the future, I really do suggest you get out that calendar or agenda book if you haven’t already. Anyway, it is entirely irrelevant that you do not know sign language at this time. At Café Kapish, at the top of every hour there is a presentation. The skit consists of the Café Kapish staff standing on a mini stage and teaching you sign language. They hold up cards that say words like “I love you” then they act out how to say, “I love you” in sign language. Along with learning how to say: “I love you,” “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Please,” and all the other basics, they also teach you how to order your meal. If you can’t remember everything they said or walked in just after a presentation ended, no worries because at your seat you have a graphic place mat that shows you how to say all the words in sign language. Additionally, on the menu next to each food listed there is a miniature picture of how to act it out. Of course you could always just point to the item on the menu if you have some weird hand motion anxiety, but then again, if that’s the case then this restaurant probably isn’t for you.

What makes Café Kapish a truly remarkable restaurant is that you would never know it was run and operated by deaf waiters. It is one of those restaurants where you instantly become uplifted just by looking around the room. There are smiles on everyone’s faces as they raise their hands and wiggle their fingers to applaud the skits; everyone is laughing and beaming as they try to converse and order solely with their bodies. Also, the décor is rustic yet sophisticated which makes the atmosphere relaxed and classy at the same time. While the restaurant looks dapper enough to be a full out dining restaurant, it is primarily a café meaning the menu consists mostly of desserts and drinks. If you’re always looking for an entertaining post-dinner place to chill and have a homey dessert like I am, then you definitely want to check out Café Kapish.

Personally, I hate restaurants that have lengthy menus with pages of amateur dishes that make it hard to distinguish the one or two quality ones. If you’re the same way, then you’ll appreciate the beauty of Café Kapish’s simple and concise menu. The menu only consists of trustworthy dishes; you can’t go wrong. When I dined at Café Kapish, I went with a group of twenty people. I highly recommend going with a big group because they are very accommodating of large parties, and the best part is: you are able to order many desserts on the menu thus get a general taste of everything.

The menu solely contains desserts, soft drinks, hot drinks, and alcohol. In addition to the typical drinks such as soda, wine and beer, there is espresso, cappuccino, tea, and more. For drinks, I started with the hot apple cider and concluded with the hot chocolate. The hot apple cider was the perfect blend of cinnamon and apple heated to just the right temperature. Sure it’s hard to screw up apple cider but this was more than regular apple cider. It was sweet yet tart and came with a thick cinnamon stick. Similarly, the hot chocolate was as ideal as any hot chocolate can get. Along with being the most fun sign language signal to perform for ordering (wiggling your fingers in front of your mouth), the hot chocolate was rich, covered in a mountain of snowy whip cream, and made me feel as if I was sitting by a cozy fire in a ski lodge.

While enjoying the refreshments, we feasted on the baked cheesecake, apple pie, and homemade brownies. The cheesecake was arguably the biggest hit of the night; it was creamy and delicate, while topped with a mesmerizingly zesty strawberry sauce. The cake and sauce were literally made for each other. Next came the apple pie and boy was I glad to have a hot apple cider. The cinnamon apple cider with the cinnamon apple pie brought a savory taste to my mouth. The apple pie had a flawless cinnamon to piecrust to apple ratio. The homemade brownies came last. The brownies were fudgy, warm, and topped with a sweet dulce de leche (butterscotch) ice cream. Now I am no fan of butterscotch but let me tell you, it would be an understatement to call the brownie-dulce de leche combination magical. The truly remarkable fact about all the desserts is that they are very reasonable; you get a gourmet meal for practically a fast food price. Many restaurants try to rip off American tourists but Café Kapish is certainly a refreshing exception. The menu may be limited to just desserts and beverages but as proved by Café Kapish, a reliable and affordable menu prospers over a copious and pricey one.

If you value the concentrated and finer tastes in dessert, along with an unconventional and innovative way of dining, then Café Kapish was practically made for you. It is positively enthralling to see such adept and jovial deaf waiters and managers conduct such a high class and delightful restaurant. So brush up on your sign language, call up your friends, and book your reservation right away. You will be enchanted to see how gratifying, easy, and scrumptious communicating without words can be!




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