Category Archives: International

Taqueria- A Mexican Oasis in the Heart of the Desert

Nachos

With summer around the corner, beach days just beg for authentic tacos and margaritas. Tel Aviv is filled with bustling cafes, restaurants and falafel stands, but there seems to be a shortage of authentic Mexican and Asian foods. This is where Taqueria comes in; a Mexican restaurant in the heart of Tel Aviv.

You can choose to sit either outside or inside, which is an intimate space with colorful chairs that match the collage on the wall. Color is scattered artistically throughout the restaurant, highlighted with various pots of cacti and succulents. High wooden ceilings with paneling, ceiling fans and a combination of low hanging light bulbs and deck chairs (hanging over the first-floor balcony) all add to its sleek, modern-contemporary design. The specials of the day are written on a large chalkboard on the wall, take note and give them a try! The atmosphere buzzes in the evening, when it comes alive with its dimmed lighting and cool beats, a great place to sit, drink and eat with friends. We recommend giving yourself at least 20 minutes ahead of time as there is always a queue. They don’t provide the option of making reservations ahead of time, except on Fridays.

Nachos have been hard to find here in Tel Aviv. Usually, they just come as chips and salsa. Anyone from abroad will tell you that chips and salsa are surely no replacement for the wonder of real nachos; fresh melted cheese on hand-made corn tortilla chips, topped with an assortment of guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, salsa, cilantro, and green onions. Taqueria’s nachos (39 NIS) do not disappoint.

When it comes to ordering the main course, people first think about burritos and tacos, I recommend trying their quesadillas for a change.  Taqueria offers four different types of quesadillas: Classico (cheese, cilantro, spring onions and jalapenos -28 NIS), Pollo Plancha ( chipotle marinated chicken breasts, cheese, cilantro, spring onions and japenos-34 NIS), Camrones ( Adobo marinated shrimp, cheese, cilantro, spring onions and japenos-36 NIS) and the vegan quesadillas.

Despite mainly ordering burritos at Taqueria for years, after being recommended, I tried the less heavy and delicious fish or carne asada tacos. The Pescado Frito (fish) Tacos were the first to grab my attention; beer-battered cod served with fresh guacamole, salsa verde, tartare, cilantro and cabbage. Unlike other Mexican restaurants in Tel Aviv, when you order tacos at Taqueria, you can decide between either a corn or flour soft tortilla. These were perfected sprits of lime and a bit of Taqueria’s smoky salsa. The fish was delightfully moist and appetizing and the guacamole was dazzling and fresh, a creamy additional delight to the crispy fried fish.

Taqueria’s beloved burritos are served in a tightly wrapped foil and then cut in half. Prepare yourself to make a mess with the foil as there is no way to keep this neat presentation an art piece. Each burrito is generously packed with the choice of vegan option/ vegetarian option/marinated steak/ pulled roasted marinated chicken/slow cooked pork/marinated shrimp in lime and tequila, filled with rice, black beans, lettuce, Salsa Roja, cheese and sour cream. Each burrito is worth the price of 39 NIS.

Whatever dish you try, again, have it with a frozen margarita – they are strong and flavorful and incredibly refreshing. Besides the beers that they also offer, you’ll find a variety of Tequilas. Their desserts vary, but they always have the popular Churros, fried Oreos, chocolate mousse and Paleta hand-made ice-cream popsicles.

NOT KOSHER

Address: Levontin 28

Hours: Sunday-Tuesday 12PM-Midnights and Wednesday-Saturday 12PM-1AM

Poke- A Taste of Hawaii in the Heart of Tel Aviv

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Over the past year, Ibn Gabirol Street has become the culinary center of Tel Aviv.  Among its gems are Chef Eyal Shani’s masterpiece Miznon, the best burger in town Vitrina  and the most recent, Joseph n Sons  Fish n’Chips. The newest street food addition to Ibn Gabirol is Poke, who made aliyah all the way from Hawaii.

Meet the dish that had taken over the world this past year. Around the world, from LA, NYC and all the way to Australia, there are over 65 Poke-themed restaurants. Now, Tel Aviv has been added to this list! Poke, located on Ibn Gabirol, features a dish originally from Hawaii which is a delicious bowl of rice (white or whole wheat) with your choice of fresh fish or tofu, vegetables ,and sauces, with the main ingredient being a type of protein presented in small cubes. The restaurant has only been open for a few weeks, but already has a strong following. The service is a bit slow, but I believe over time they will speed up the process.

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Upon entering the restaurant, the staff will ask which rice you prefer – I recommend the whole wheat. Next, you decide which seasoned vegetables you want in your Poke, the trendy choice is broccoli or kale. You then choose the type of fish- white fish ( 40 NIS ) , tuna ( 44 NIS ) or salmon ( 38 NIS) , or a vegan option – tofu ( 34 NIS ) or Portobello mushrooms ( 34 NIS ) . I recommend for those who like fish that you order a mixed fish where you can select two different kinds of fish ( 45 NIS).

Then you move on to the vegetables that will be added to the dish , including broccoli , green beans , soybeans , avocados , fruit in season , wakame seaweed and many others. The dish is completed with the house dressing as well as a variety of sauces such as spicy mayo , chimichurri , and citrus vinaigrette , mango chili , wasabi avocado and more. The final step is adding the topping to the dish – I recommend the black sesame and peanuts toppings. Some of the other toppings available are tobiko , black/white sesame, nori powder , chia seeds , peanuts and more. They also offer fresh juices they make in house.

Overall, the dish is filling and very affordable and, with time, the speed of delivery will improve. For people looking for a unique healthy lunch or a light dinner, Poke is a great option

NOT KOSHER

Address: Ibn Gabirol 20

Hours:  Sunday-Thursday 10AM-Midnight, Friday 10AM-3PM and Saturday 3PM-Midnight

 

Totuma- A Taste of South America in Tel Aviv

Totuma

The trend of authentic Mexican food has dominated the Tel Aviv culinary scene over the past few years. However, now it’s time to make room for representatives from South America – this time from Venezuela. Totumi is a Venezuelan street food restaurant created by Dalia Alhadef, who competed in the TV show Master Chef two years ago. Now he has fulfilled his dream and opened the restaurant he has always wanted in Tel Aviv. Totumi (a species of tree that grows in America) is bringing the Latin Venezuelan kitchen with additional influences from South and Central America.

The main ingredient in many of the dishes coming from the Totuma spicy kitchen is the Arepa, a gluten-free pita bread made of cornmeal, and is one of the cornerstones of Venezuelan kitchens.  The owners dreams that all types of palates can come and enjoy this new and exciting food genre that most locals haven’t seen before- “I want everyone to find themselves in my restaurant – first of all, most of the dishes are gluten-free, which both also worried vegetarians, who feel that they want to eat something as well. I want everyone to enjoy here.”

Totuma

The appetizer menu offers the following – Takinios, which are salty cheese sticks wrapped in dough of wheat flour with passion fruit sauce spicy mango (32 NIS), Casa Limniyah- Peruvian dish consisting of layers of mashed potatoes, shrimp, tomato, egg, avocado and sauce tartar (32 NIS), the Venezuelan empanadas filled with cheese, corn flour / chicken / vegan ( 24-28 NIS), and Katz’afh- corn pancakes stuffed with cheese salted with the addition of sour cream (NIS 31) and more.

The dish we all will be asking for is the beloved Arepas which you can choose to stud with 8 different fillings. Pabelion- beef pepper sauce, tomato and onion with black beans, cheese, salted and Flantiin (38 NIS). Reina Peplada- chicken salad and avocado (36 NIS), Asado Negro – beef marinated vegetables and wine, blackened sugar cane and cooked in cooking long with salty cheese (42 NIS), Los Muchachos- burger Dalia, melted cheese, avocado, tomato and lettuce (47 NIS), Costa- fish fillets coated with quinoa and braised with tomato salad and onion sour, brother spicy and tartar sauce (42 NIS), Kariba -Spicy shrimp served with Indian curry sauce (NIS 44) and more.

Totuma

Totuma provides the atmosphere to sip on a few cold beers or to sample from various tropical cocktails. There is a respectable assortment of cold beers from Mexico and Argentina, as well as the well-known domestic brands. But the house cocktails looked just too appealing, and the staff recommended trying the Pura Vida: a frozen rum mixture made with pineapple, banana, coconut, ginger and lime. Another rum-based drink we recommend you to try is the Caribbean Ginger Beer: Rum with Totuma’s homemade ginger honey, lime and ginger beer, topped off with a slice of ginger. It was a enjoyable strong drink, perfect for fans of ginger.

Totuma may have the design, experience and prices of a local street food restaurant, but the excellence of the food lines up there with the nearby pricey Dizengoff restaurant.

NOT KOSHER

Address: Dizengoff 265

Hours: Sunday- Monday 12PM-11PM and Friday 12PM-5PM

Changos-CLOSED

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When people think of the trendy Florentine neighborhood in Tel Aviv, the first thing that comes to mind is it being a center for Tel Aviv’s “hipsters”. From the funky cafés to the eclectic bars, Florentine has become one of the trendiest places in Tel Aviv. Mexican food has been a recent arrival to Florentine, but none have generated much excitement. However, last summer Changos opened their doors and has provided an enjoyable and tasty Mexican eating experience.

Located on Washington Boulevard, Changos displays unique artwork throughout the restaurant which meshes perfectly with the Florentine feel. The seating options are however limited, with the majority seating indoors and a few tables outside. Once you sit down and order, you know that you have arrived at the Mexican restaurant that you have been searching for.
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Picture taken by @mankochka

Like most Mexican restaurants, you can start your meal with a tasty margarita. They offer delicious frozen margaritas (very strong!) in different flavors, such as lime, pineapple and strawberry.

Over the years,I’ve told my friends here in Israel that they have no idea what real nachos are. Most places give you Doritos chips and salsa that has no zest and some guacamole. Changos offers nachos, made with homemade tortillas chips with refried beans, different kinds of salsa, sour cream guacamole and of course melted cheese 28 NIS.

Moving on to entrees, they offer different kinds of tacos (Fish, Beef, Chicken and vegetarian), which are made to perfection. I recommend ordering the beef taco, marinated with veal, cooked on the grill with onions, coriander and salsa. Each taco costs 15NIS or if you live life dangerously,  3 for 40 NIS. For those looking for a non-meat taco try the mushroom taco, made with portobello and champion mushroom cooked on the grill with tomatoes and seasoned with fresh pepper. Each taco costs 13 NIS or 3 tacos for 34 NIS.
Picture Taken by @mankochka

Now onto my favorite part of their menu, Burritos! They offer possibly the best chicken burrito found  in the Middle East. The chicken is cooked on the grill with rice, beans, onions, coriander, salsa and last, but not least, pineapples. The combination of the sweetness of the pineapple and the spiced chicken make a perfect burrito.

For those looking for something different and who have tough stomachs, try their tasty chili relleno which includes jalapenos, cheese, fried pepper and onions, costing. 30 NIS. They also offer different traditional Mexican desserts.

Overall you can’t go wrong with any dish on their menu. After experiencing Changos,  you will be sure to make the trek back to the Florentine area more often,

NOT KOSHER

Average Price: Up to 50 NIS

Address: Washington Avenue

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-Midnight, Friday-Saturday 9AM-Last customer

Bunny Chow- The First South African Restaurant in Israel

After HaShomer 1 and Arepas, the Carmel Market offers some of the newest and best street food available in Tel Aviv. Bunny Chow, which presents a tasty mix of Indian and South African curry, is all the talk at the moment in the exciting street food community of Tel Aviv.

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Bunny Chow is located in the heart of the exciting Carmel Market. Recently opened by a South African who immigrated to Israel and lived with his wife in Britain, they had the dream of opening a tasty South African restaurant in Tel Aviv. After returning to Israel, they looked into the street food market in Tel Aviv and decided on the South African-Indian curry street food.

When ordering you have the option of three types of dishes, one vegan (27 NIS), based on sweet potatoes, chickpeas and carrots, one with beef (34 NIS) and one with chicken (34 NIS), each is different and has different spices. Each Bunny Traditional Chow is served in a fresh roll from the market and a extra spicy carrot salad.

With the location having hardly the space to fit a few workers in the kitchen, the staff at Bunny Chow makes delicious and authentic dishes. In the past month, Bunny Chow has been the entire rave, so during the lunch hour you might have a short line. Even with the busy lunch crowd, the owner and his staff are super friendly. This meal is a quick and affordable option for anyone looking for a spicy meal.

NOT KOSHER

Average Price: 30-40

Address:   Hacarmel 13

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11AM-5PM. Friday 11AM-Entrance of Shabbat

Beatrice- The First and Only Dutch Delicatessen in Israel

In recent years, Tel Aviv has joined the list of top culinary cities of the world. When dining at different restaurants in the city you will see many different food cultures in one seating. Unlike the recent and trendy Chef restaurants, I am highlighting the lesser known gems in the city. One of the cultures you rarely seem to find around Tel Aviv is the Dutch. Beatrice offers some of the best Dutch style sandwiches and products in Israel which will remind you of your travels in Amsterdam.biatris20150916_5171250_0.Beatrice is located in the heart of Tel Aviv on Rashi Street. This veteran Dutch deli is somewhat hidden, but once you try their tasty sandwiches you won’t forget this tiny deli. In this little shop you can find almost any kind of food that would make you longing for that trip in Amsterdam. They offer different items ranging from sweets, syrups, waffles, fresh cheeses, pickled fish and even mayonnaise, as only the Dutch know how to prepare.

I recommend ordering their Fish Sandwich which cost 25 shekels. Their classic sandwich is a perfect combination of classic of Soused Herring with sour cream. This delicious sandwich is served in a fresh  baguette bun smeared  with a nice layer of Dutch butter, topped with sliced and arranged of fresh Soused Herring, fresh tomatoes, red onion and sour cream. This sandwich presents you the Amsterdam street food you have been craving.

If pickled fish isn’t your thing, they also offer a delicious cheese sandwich which is loaded with great Dutch goodies. Another sandwich I recommend ordering is their sausage sandwich which filled with many of authentic fine Dutch sausages, and easily provides an authentic Dutch experience.

NOT KOSHER

Price: 20-35NIS

Address:  Rashi 19

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10AM-8PM and Friday 9AM-4PM