May 07, 2019
Zahav was named the best restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation on Monday in a first for Philadelphia's restaurant community and Israeli chef Michael Solomonov.
Co-owners Solomonov and Steve Cook took home the biggest award of the night, winning the 2019 James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant at a ceremony held in Chicago. Several Philadelphia restaurants and chefs were finalists for various awards this year, but Zahav proved to be the only local restaurant to win.
Solomonov and Cook previously won the 2016 James Beard award for Cookbook of the Year for "Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking." Solomonov also was named Outstanding Chef in America in 2017, and has been nominated and won other James Beard Awards.
In 2018, Zahav's pastry chef Camille Cogsworth took home Philly's only honor in the Rising Star Chef category.
More than a dozen Philly restaurants like Monk's Cafe, Suraya, Laurel, Heirloom, Vedge, and South Philly Barbacoa were named semi-finalists this year, among categories like best chef, outstanding bar program, outstanding pastry chef, and best new restaurant. Heading into Monday night's award ceremony, the city had finalists in six categories.
This award comes on the tails of Solomonov's announcement that he and his team have three major projects in the works.