Photo by Michael Persico, courtesy of Zahav

The One Who Keeps the BookPhiladelphia

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Into Zahav

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We don’t need to introduce you to Zahav, Philadelphia’s Israeli institution. Michael Solomonov and team just celebrated their 15th anniversary, a remarkable run that has seen numerous awards and accolades since opening in 2008, including a 2019 James Beard Award for the country’s Outstanding Restaurant.

What we would like to do, however, is introduce you to Zahav’s Assistant General Manager, Megan Hurley. After experiencing a solo diner at sister restaurant Laser Wolf, Hurley joined the team in fall 2021 as a server and quickly was fast-tracked to management. She’s here to help you snag that highly coveted Zahav table with some insider intel and pro tips. Right this way.

Megan Hurley. Photo courtesy of Zahav

How many seats are there at Zahav?

100.

When do reservations drop on Resy?

Reservations are released on the first of the month at 11 a.m. local time for the entire following month. [For example, reservations for the entire month of July will release on June 1 at 11 a.m. ET.]

How quickly do seats get booked out?

Typically within the first few minutes of being released. We recommend to guests who reach out ahead of time to have their credit card info already stored in Resy for a more seamless booking process.

Are any of the seats in the restaurant held for walk-ins?

Yes! Our bar and six-seat chef’s counter are held for guests walking in for our first seating at 5 pm, and we serve our tasting menu. Occasionally we can accommodate guests walking in later in the night, though we cannot guarantee and a reservation is recommended.

What time would you recommend stopping by to snag one of the walk-in seats?

Around 4:45 p.m. is typically best.

During peak time, what is the typical wait time for a walk-in?

We recommend that all guests looking to walk-in arrive in time for our 5 p.m. seating as we cannot guarantee availability later in the evening. Our sister restaurants, Abe Fisher and Laser Wolf Philly, welcome walk-ins at their bars all evening.

Photo by Jared Polin, courtesy of Zahav
Photo by Jared Polin, courtesy of Zahav

What are your busiest nights?

We are fortunate to have a full dining room Tuesday through Saturday nights.

How many covers do you do on your busiest night?

On a super busy night, we welcome around 270 guests.

How long is your Notify list on average?

Long, and we are extremely grateful.

If someone were to set a Notify for Zahav on Resy, is there a certain day or time they’d be most likely to get a reservation?

There isn’t. It depends on our cancellations in the moment. We do typically see cancellations closer to the date, so we recommend that guests stay on the Notify List until the evening of their preferred date.

Of all the places to sit in the restaurant, what do you think is the best seat in the house?

Chef’s counter is pretty top notch — peeking into the kitchen, seeing branzino grilling over the open flames, feeling the warmth of our taboon next to you.

There will be lamb. Photo by Alex Hawkins, courtesy of Zahav
There will be lamb. Photo by Alex Hawkins, courtesy of Zahav

It’s Friday night at 7 p.m. Can you set the scene for us?

The music is cranked up and our taboon is lit. The dining room is filled with florals — floral shirts, that is, a long-standing Friday uniform tradition for our team. We are welcoming guests to celebrate all of life’s special moments.

Speaking of music, what kind is played inside the restaurant?

Since Mike was effectively a DJ in a previous life, music has always been a part of the magic at our restaurant.  If our guests are bobbing heads and shoulder shimmying while spooning hummus, our team is doing our job.

For someone going to Zahav for the first time, what should they order?

Currently Zahav is solely offering our prix-fixe menu, which means you get to try all of our hits and remixes. We love that, especially for our first timers. And yes, we will have lamb.  Right now we’re looking forward to spring and summer’s produce from our amazing local purveyors.

Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.