Category Archives: latenight

To Ha’Malabia, With Love

I heard about Ha’Malabia from a friend, who mentioned that there was a place a stones throw from my front door that served only beer and rosewater pudding desserts.  Cool concept, I thought, but I think I’ll pass, I hate it when my food tastes like soap.  Rosewater, which is made from distilling and pressing fresh rose petals, just isn’t my thing. For once, I wasn’t too sad that there was another place without an option for me.  But then my boyfriend came back one afternoon, having accompanied aforementioned friend to said beer and desserts place, and uttered the words “I think you could eat it!”

Game changing words.  Who cares if it tastes like soap?  I’ve got to at least try.

The first bite, my eyes lit up, and I giggled. Giggled. (My boyfriend raised an eyebrow at me, ‘That good, eh?’).  But after my second bite, I resigned myself to gaining ten-pudding-pounds. This stuff is just that good.  Generally speaking, I’m not a gelatinous dessert kind of person.  I hate flan, I’ve never eaten a Creme Brule that I liked, and in my eyes, Jello is a perfect vessel for alcohol and nothing else.  But there was something about this cup of heaven that worked for me.

Before I go much further, I suppose I should pause here explain what a Malabi actually is.  Traditionally, Malabi is a milk based pudding flavored or topped with rosewater, although the other accoutrement vary by location.  Malabi is an extremely popular dish across the Middle East, and in Israel, it’s common to see it as a street food or in upscale restaurants alike.  The Malabi base consists of sugar, milk, and cornstarch, though of course different spices and extracts can be used on top of that.  The traditional recipe calls for rice flour instead of cornstarch, but nowadays the corn starch is said to yeild a smoother texture (Ha Malabia uses corn starch).

This wasn’t going to be my first Malabi – somewhere along the way during our Birthright trip, someone identified the white and pink jello desserts as containg rosewater – but all my previous experiences with Malabi had ranged from “Super Soapy” to “Reminiscent of Soap,” so I went into this experience expecting to come out with a rosey fresh mouth.

Boy, were my preconceptions wrong.

Ha’Malabia is a little place off of Allenby near the entrance to the Shuk, but it’s in a bit of a hard to describe location since it’s on a “side street” that you don’t drive on.  It’s a small, nondescript building with a glassed in front and a long picnic table outside.  The best way to find it is to look for the two nearly identical businesses that are completely packed (If you know the bar Minzar, it’s next door) just off Allenby north of the entrance to the Shuk.  Glance at the picnic table.  Are there any plates on it?  Nope, only glasses?  Then you’re in the right place. Once you’ve found it, head inside and press through the throng of locals to find your way to the front.

Now you have a few choices to make! First up – Vegan (made with Soy milk and Coconut Cream), or Regular? I chose regular, although I would have loved to try the vegan too (I hear it’s great), but I’m also allergic to Soy.  I know, I know, enough about my long list of allergies already, so let’s dive into your second choice (and this is the hardest one!) – Which syrup?  Ha Malabia offers four different flavors: Original (Pomegranate and Rosemary – he told me Rosemary, but I wondered if he meant that or Rosewater…), Vanilla and Cinnamon, Lemon and Cardamom, or Caramel.

Yeah, just sit on that decision for a second.  I know it’s a tough one.

I chose Cinnamon and Vanilla for my first Malabi, since that’s what our friend had recommended. (Uh, I was not disappointed).  But then came the harder choice for me – rosewater?  At first I said no, but then I doubled back.  “Do I really need it?” I asked the clerk, who told me yes, so I consented to “Just a little, then.”

And finally, the end was in sight and it was time for my last choice – the toppings!  This was an easy choice for me as I was allergic to 3 out of the 4, but I love coconut so I was very happy to have it.  The other things they offer are peanuts, carmelized peanuts, and “Ido’s Mom’s Cookies,” (obviously not Gluten Free!). So with my Malabi in one hand and the tiny coffee that comes with it in the other, we now get to travel back to that moment where I took my first bite.

So. Good.

Slightly thicker than a straight pudding, but not creepily chunky, the base was delicious, aided textually with the toppings. The coconut was a perfect paring, and I can only imagine that nuts would add another layer to the texture. The “just a little” bit of rosewater was perfect for my tastes – giving it a hint of something unique and  floral in the undertones, but not overpowering the other flavors. Not only is it just plain delicious, but there is something truly different about it. I am always searching for that special something in a dish that takes it above and beyond just a Gluten Free copy of something and launches it into the realm of just plain amazing. For me, this Malabi definitely was in that category.

However, there are three things that scare me about Ha’Malabia:

1) I have 3 more flavors I need to try.

2) It’s less than a 5 minute walk from where I live.

3) It only costs 10 shekels per Malabi.

So I guess that’s one shekel for every pudding-pound I’m going to gain?

Sounds about right.

Run – don’t walk – to Ha’Malabia. You can thank me later.

Ha’Malabia – המלביה – Allenby 60

Hamalabia can also be found in Shuk Hapishpashim and in Shuk Allenby Rothschild

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This blog post was written by a very close friend of the blog, Zoë of Gluten FreeTLV. Zoë lives and works in Tel Aviv. You can find her on instagram eating @glutenfreetlv and exploring @travelswithzoe. In her free time she’ll be on a horse or singing along to musicals.

 

The Absolute Best Fries in Tel Aviv

If it’s served with a hamburger, schnitzel, a pint of beer or with hummus, French Fries made to perfection, can steal the show. Tel Aviv last year was rewarded with a new wave of restaurants whose sole purpose is to fulfill people’s craving of fries. Although they tend to be a simple dish which is served alongside a main course, if not cooked with the correct texture and crispness, they can ruin a whole meal. Here are my five favorite places to order fries in Tel Aviv:

Vitrina- The Best

Some people say they come to Vitrina for their famous burger which has recently been anointed as the best burger in the white city. They are famous for its variety of delicious handmade sausages, but what is the main reason they is so popular? It is their 50/50 fries! They serve a large portion of fries – a mix of potatoes and sweet potato fries seasoned with garlic, salt and lemon zest. Hands down they are the best fries you can find in Tel Aviv.

Price: Small – 12 NIS  Large- 18 NIS

Location: lilienblum 40

Patat- Newest addition

Patat recently opened their doors on King George Street in the heart of the city. Unlike most restaurants in Tel Aviv, they leave the potato peel on their fries adding texture and a crispier bite. Before cooking the fries, they cut each potato into slices, refrigerate them for half a day, and then cook them. Once cooked, they provided another dose of oil before being served to the customer. The real surprise is the variety of sauces they offer – made fresh every morning with some being extremely spicy. Among the sauces available are a warm goose cream sauce, pepperoni, four cheese and peanut butter.

Price: Small- 12 NIS Large 18- NIS

Location: King George 30

Zakaim- Vegan Friendly

When people think of fries the first things that come to mind is a hamburger. Zakaim helps you forget that illusion; offering some of best vegan friendly fries found in Tel Aviv. Their chips are like no other. First, they shred the potatoes and then soak them in water before cooking. The results of this process are a semi cracked potato fry which is a bit sweet and hot inside. Their fries are so good that for them alone, it’s worth the trip to Zakaim.

Price: 36 NIS (served with vegan friendly mayonnaise made from organic soy milk)

Location: Simtat Beit HaSho’eva 20

Brasserie M&R – 24/7

The fries served at Brasserie are a great side dish alongside their signature dishes. Brassiere is known for their burgers and very elegant dishes, but I recommend keeping your order simple. Brasserie is open 24/7, so you can order your beloved newspaper wrapped fries anytime, no matter the occasion. Due to their popularity, it’s recommended to make a reservation ahead of time.

Price: 24 NIS

Location: Ibn Gabirol 70

ChipStar- Belgium Style

Chipstar, originally from Amsterdam, is a worldwide brand of French Fries shops offered throughout Europe. The only item on the menu is French Fries, cut crisp once a day offered with 15 unique types of sauces! My favorites are mayonnaise and ketchup, a Greek sauce, a Mexican zesty sauce, and in light of the fact that it’s in Israel, a hummus sauce.

KOSHER

Price: Small- 15 NIS Medium- 20 NIS Large- 25 NIS

Location: Ibn Gabirol 90

Mezcal- The Oldest and Best Mexican Food in the White City

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Mexican food is a relatively new phenomenon in Tel Aviv over the past 5 years, yet is a natural development generated by a rising Mexican and American ex-pat community. In this promising realm of cuisine, it is Mezcal, owned by of Ziv and Esther Erlich, which claims the culinary throne. Unlike the standard restaurant that caters clearly to the local restaurant crowd, Mezcal seeks to shed light onto the authentic flavors and manners of cooking that have differentiated the Mexican kitchen from its regional counterparts.

Mezcal is located in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv. For non locals, this is basically Tel Aviv’s hipster neighborhood. It’s full of art studios, tattoo parlors and some very cool restaurants and bars. The inside of Mezcal is awesome in its own right, featuring bright Mexican artwork, colorful high-top tables, a huge bar, and upbeat Latin music.

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The menu recommends ordering two or three dishes each and sharing. We went with 2 orders of enchiladas (verdes and rojas (32-34 NIS), supreme nachos (42 NIS), the chimichanga (32 NIS), the burrito (46 NIS), and the fish tacos (35 NIS). The food came out as it was prepared, so we had the nachos first and then after finishing up our delicious margaritas, the rest of our order came out.

Unlike most Mexican restaurants around Tel Aviv, Mezcal cooks their own toasted tortilla chips which provide an authentic taste. Despite the size of nachos which tend to be smaller than most nachos you find in Tel Aviv, they are much richer in flavor. The nachos supreme is made with homemade tortilla chips and black beans, melted cheddar cheese,’ pico-de-gallo, pickled jalapeno, guacamole and sour cream. This dish is a great starter with Mezcal’s famous margaritas.

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Speaking of margaritas, Mezcal features the most extensive selection of imported Mexican tequila anywhere in Tel Aviv, serving over thirty varieties. They also serve a number of imported Mexican beers including San Miguel, Modelo, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, and Corona. Between 5-8 pm Sunday through Thursday they offer a happy hour deal which includes 1+1 for draught beers and 50% for cocktails when sitting by the bar.

At night time the bar turns into one of the biggest party spots in Florentine; with young people packed onto the sidewalk enjoying delicious tequila with a unique Mexican experience. The average crowd at Mezcal tends to be people in their later twenties or early thirties. Now back to the food…

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The enchiladas rojas and verdes were covered in a creamy hot sauce, queso fresca, sour cream, and red onions, and stuffed full of shredded chicken, beef or mushrooms for those looking for a vegetarian option. Overall, as a self labeled enchilada enthusiasts, I’d say these were the best enchiladas in Tel Aviv – the sauce had the right amount of chipotle flavor, and the creaminess was super generous.

The first thing I noticed when the tacos came out was the guacamole. Most Mexican places in Tel Aviv use the prepackaged kind of guac, you know, the kind they have at fast-food places that tastes nothing like fresh avocado. The fish tacos came in pairs, perfect for two diners since you can have one of each. I am not going to beat around the bush here but the tacos are small, so I recommend ordering a few different tacos or order it as a starter. Mezcal offers 4 kinds of tacos: fish, shrimp, slow cooked beef stew and shredded chicken. I recommend ordering a few plates of tacos as they won’t last long on your table.

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For those like me who love burritos, Mezcal might be worth the trek just for their burritos. Unlike the majority of Tel Aviv’s Mexican establishments, they provide a filling burrito that is stuffed with rice, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled jalapenos and your choice of barbecue (slow cooked beef), chicken tinga or sautéed mushrooms.  If you aren’t drooling yet, I saved the best for last. Mezecal’s chimichangas are stuffed tortillas filled with chicken/beef or peppers, mixed with beans, cheese and rice.  They are fried to a crispy golden brown which is topped with fresh sour cream, and mild salsa.

After years of hearing great things about Mezcal from my close friends, I wish I paid visit years ago. While new Mexican places will come and go, sometimes it’s best to return to the original Mexican restaurant in Tel Aviv. In summary, Mezcal offers Mexican food enthusiasts the most unique and authentic Mexican experience in Tel Aviv. Don’t forget to order the margaritas and the fish tacos – you won’t regret it.

NOT KOSHER

Address: 2 Vital Street

Hours:  Sunday-Saturday 12PM-1AM

Vito Romono- It’s All About the Grilled Cheese- CLOSED

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In the past year or so, the Dizengoff square area has become the center of fine dining in Tel Aviv. With the success of Truck Deluxe, a new grilled cheese sandwich restaurant offering a unique twist has blessed Ben Ami street with another fine option to dine.

Vito Romono opened their doors in April in the heart of town, right next to Dizengoff Square. After a year of planning and designing the perfect architecture and the exact recipe for each sandwich, they opened the first grilled cheese sandwich bar in Tel Aviv. While it’s a café during the day, at night it becomes a thriving bar with an option for some late night delectables.

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Vito Romano’s original grilled cheese sandwiches main ingredients are a mixture of melted cheese (mozzarella, gouda and cheddar) with a small amounts of tomato sauce and basil, and served on a sourdough bread (35 NIS) or focaccia bread (44 NIS), with the option of fries or salad. They offer 5 different grilled cheese sandwiches that are influenced from different cuisines from around the globe. The “French” is a grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions and different cheeses that will challenge your senses. The most eye-catching sandwich on their menu is the “American”, this grilled cheese sandwich is served with mac n’ cheese and bacon inside the sandwich itself. The “Italian” grilled cheese sandwich is served with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. The “Greek” sandwich is served with bitter but tasty feta cheese and fresh olives. Last but not least is the “Mexican “grilled cheese, which is served with chipotle and jalapeño which provide plenty of spicy flavors that you won’t find in the other sandwiches they offer. If that’s not enough for you, you can add asparagus, ham, a poached egg, a boiled egg, mushrooms and more. Each specialty grilled cheese sandwich costs 44 NIS( sourdough bread) or 53 NIS( focaccia bread)

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The most popular sandwich is the American which provides patriots a glimpse of what they have been missing back home. This sandwich is contains generous servings of cheese, a good amount of mac n cheese, and small pieces of bacon that provide a unique taste all in one sandwich. For those looking for a more healthy choice they provide your typical Tel Aviv café options; but I recommend you stick to the grilled cheese sandwiches.

SUPER NOT KOSHER

Address: 13 Ben Ami

Hours: Sunday- Saturday 10AM-2AM

Safta- Not Your Typical Grandma Homemade Deli Sandwich

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Is it just me or has the Rabin Square area transformed into a land of delicious sandwich restaurants?? Among them is Hamosad, with their unique pulled beef meat sandwich, and many more sandwich restaurants to choose from. For close to a year, Safta has blessed the residents of Ibn Gabirol with unique freshly made, baked in-house sandwiches served on fresh rolls.

Safta’s menu is relatively simple and includes a variety of sandwiches;  each is served in a unique handmade soft bun, a combination of a challah roll and a chocolate bun. Before the staff starts to fill the bun with delicious meats and vegetables, they roast the bun just to make sure it’s a little crispy (for those who are looking for a healthier bread choice they offer rye bread). All ingredients in each of their sandwiches are prepared on site, including the sauces and salads. One of the staff’s favorite sandwiches is the turkey sandwich; prepared with mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, turkey, roasted peppers, tomatoes and lettuce on rye (30 NIS). My favorite sandwich is the roast beef sirloin. The roast beef sirloin sandwich is made with homemade mayonnaise, fried onions, hardboiled egg, mustard, tomato, and lettuce (42 NIS). Another sandwich which I recommend is the grilled sausage sandwich. This Italian salami and sandwich is cooked with BBQ and curry sauce with spicy tomato (32 NIS). For those who are vegetarians or vegan, they offer a mushroom sandwich made on a vegan roll. The mushroom sandwich is served with onions, peppers, guacamole, tahini, walnut pesto, tomato and arugula (NIS 30).

In the busy sandwich area of Ibn Gabirol, there any many options where to dine. However, if you are looking for a quality and affordable sandwich, Safta is the place to try.

Address: Ibn Gabirol 65

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10AM-11:30PM, Friday 10 AM-4PM and Saturday 6PM-11PM

Joseph N Sons- Newest Fish N Chips Stand to hit Tel Aviv

The man behind the successful Tel Aviv restaurants Goocha and The Diner had a dream of expanding his culinary wings. After thoughtfully research, he opened a traditional fish and chips restaurant right across from Rabin Square. This new street food stand provides authentic taste and experience to those missing their British fish and chips and a pint of cold draft beer. A bonus is the affordable price  for a tasty plate of fish and chips and a cold beer on a hot Tel Aviv day.

You ever recognize that taste of something that is so necessary for the local culinary and wonder how it is that it just came to town? When people think of Tel Aviv street food they think of hummus, falafel and shawarma, but fish and chips is a distant thought in the street food community. The owners of Joseph N Sons want to change that for good.

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The owner’s inspiration came straight from London –they longed for a fish and chips stand and wanted to bring a local feel to their new restaurant. It’s a hot Tel Aviv summer day what is on your mind? First thing first, what beers do they offer?  English ale straight from the barrel served in a pint or half-pint. A pint (560 ml) is sold for 29 NIS and a half-pint (280 ml) is 17 NIS. Now, what dishes do they offer? Six different fish based dishes, including different variations of fish and chips, and two grilled fresh fish dishes. Alongside traditional fish and chips, you can try their crunchy Panko version of their version of falafel and fries. Each of the dishes cost 39 NIS, but, if you want to try their delicious Calamari Crispy Shrimp dish, the price is 49 NIS. The sauces they offer are tartar, and chipotle aioli basket verde. They prepare home fries from scratch which provide a thick and crunchy taste that is served with different spices.

For those looking for non-fried dishes, they offer two health-oriented fish dishes: Salmon (39 NIS) or Denis (49 NIS), served with salad, green beans with almonds and cranberries. For those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth, they offer an English sweet pudding (19NiS).

We highly recommend you to try the newest street food vendor to open their doors in Tel Aviv. In the next few months, we will see if this new trend of street food will join in the talks of falafel and hummus as the King of Tel Aviv street food.

Not Kosher

Address: Malkhei Yisra’el St 10,

Hours: Sunday-Saturday 12PM-2AM

Shenkin 50- It’s Game Night Every Night-CLOSED

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When people think of Tel Aviv nightlife, the first thing that pops into their heads are the fabulous beach bars and the exciting night clubs found in the city. Over the past few years, the more relaxing bar theme has exploded throughout Tel Aviv. A few weeks ago a new and unique bar opened, a first in Israel that provides many board games of your choosing while enjoying a great drink.

Shenkin 50, the newest addition to the bar scene, has brought some life to the café filled streets of Shenkin. While during the day it is your typical café, at night it provides a bar experience like no other in the white city. Jon Abel, one of the owners, explain how this idea came along, “The idea for the bar came out of the need for a local bar in the Shenkin area, the street that used to be one of the best in Israel has become dead over time. We felt a bar on Shenkin was needed, but also one where people can relax and enjoy themselves. We wanted to provide people with a different experience than they could find anywhere else in Tel Aviv and knew offering board games would be a fitting option”.

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When you first walk into the Shenkin 50, the first thing you see is the mountain of board games that are available. Among them are Cards Against Humanity, Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Risk and Jenga. Practically any board game that you can think of is at your choosing. On the weekends, the bar tends to fill up with groups of gamers, so I recommend you reserve ahead of time for your favorite game.

Other than the board games, they have a very interesting alcohol and bar food selection. On draft they offer two different beers – Jems 8.8 and Taybeh. The owners explained why they chose these beers, “Jems is a great company, offer great beers and the 8.8 appeals to the type of crowd were aiming for. Taybeh was a more obscure choice but on taste alone, it’s one of the best brewed golden ales. Taybeh is unpasteurized so the consumer is not getting any of the chemicals and preservatives that your typical beers will have while remaining very smooth and tasty”. Both beers on tap are offered in 1/3 of a liter and ½ liter. They also offer different offerings of Jems beer by the bottle.

For those looking for stronger drinks, I recommend you try their espresso martini. It’s made with fresh coffee, grounded on location. Other delicious cocktails are a cosmopolitan and, the local favorite, Jerusalem Arak and grapefruit Juice.

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They provide different interesting bar food as well. My favorite is their nachos, unlike most bars which offer Israel nachos (typically Doritos tortilla chips and salsa) they put their heart and soul in each plate of nachos. Shenkin 50’s nachos are made with fresh corn tortilla chips with melted cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, black beans, onion and avocado. One of the more unique food items that they offer is a Herring sandwich; I recommend you drink a glass of Singleton whisky along with the herring sandwich.

Overall, if you are looking for a nice relaxing night out with your friends or looking for something different, Shenkin 50 is the newest and the place to go to.

Address: Shenkin 50

Hours: Thursday-Saturday 7PM- 1AM

Truck De Luxe- Not Your Average Food Truck

toppictureIn the exciting restaurant scene in Tel Aviv, people tend to get bored very easily. In previous posts we have offered the more common cafes and restaurants. However, we are always looking for new and exciting food venues that will get us foodies excited.

Close to a year ago, Truck De Luxe opened their doors (of their food truck) with many mouthwatering dishes we could only dream of. Located on Ben Ami street right next to Dizengoff square, this food truck is the more exciting smaller brother of Pundak Deluxe which is located in Jaffe. Unlike the Jaffe location, the prices are more affordable and present amazing food imagery for all you Instagram foodies. If you are a vegetarian, you might want to look elsewhere.

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This is not your typical food truck- despite the kitchen being in a truck this a very fun and exciting restaurant with tables and a great atmosphere in the heart of Tel Aviv. Here you will see mashups of foods you have only fantasized about. Similar to Pundak Deluxe, you order different meat dishes by weight, but unlike the Jaffa restaurant, they offer different combos and mixes of different food that you won’t find anywhere else in town. Now onto their delicious and eye watering dishes

Their menu consists of 15 main courses, five side dishes, five first courses, 12 cuts of meat and four different desserts. The menu consists of dishes that range from 10 NIS to 50 NIS. Each dish is served fresh daily and the staff will recommend different side dishes that perfectly complement each main course. If you are looking for a tasty and simple choice, we recommend you try the Trailer Trash Bacon Burger (47 NIS). This simple burger is cooked with cheddar cheese on top and brioche. The perfect side is the mac and cheese (12 NIS). Despite thinking that a mac and cheese with a burger was a weird choice, I was totally wrong. The dish is very gentle and fun, and the top has crunchy crumbs that add a special flavor the dish. For those looking to add French fries with their burger, this is an option as well.

3rdFor those wanting a chicken dish, we recommend you try the chicken breast sandwich (39 NIS). Similar to the burger, the staff recommends we order the French bean stew (14 NIS) with the chicken entrée. This meat stew consists of two different types of meats and beans. It’s less of a stew but more of a side of meat.

 

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The most extreme dish is their pancakes (44 NIS). These are not your typical pancakes; this dish is for extreme eaters. The pancakes are presented as a 3 layer tower with disassembled pork shoulder meat topped with sweet syrup. This dessert presents an unlikely but delicious mashup of food. For those who like to experiment with different types of foods, this is the dish you have been waiting for. For those who need a side dish with their pancakes, the staff recommends the mac and cheese with bacon sprinkles (16nis). A side dish I recommend ordering is their jack cheese fries (18 NIS).

For those who somehow have room to eat at the end of their meal, you must try their American ice cream which is served with caramel (15 NIS). They offer the option of adding bacon chips to the ice cream for a small charge. In summary, Truck Deluxe offers some of the most non-kosher interesting dishes you will find in Tel Aviv. You will spend less than 100 NIS, but it will keep you full all day long.

SUPER NOT KOSHER

Address: Ben Ami 13

Hours: Sunday- Thursday 5:30PM-Midnight and Friday-Saturday 10AM-Midnight

 

 

 

Top 5 Burgers in Tel Aviv

In the past few years, Tel Aviv has become a mecca for lovers of fine food. People used to argue about who has the best hummus, but now, all the rage is who has the best burgers in town.  My list of the best burgers in town are listed below. The majority of the places are not cheap, but they are worth the extra cost. Each has made the list for a  specific reason.

The Best – Vitrina

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Not just a sausage place, now one of the best burgers in town.

Vitrina, which opened two years ago, has done the sausage a great service by restoring it’s lost honor and elevating it to gourmet status. Not many loyal customers are aware that Vitrina was originally meant to be a hamburger place. After months of urging by the owners father, who noticed that there were way too many hamburger places in Tel Aviv, owner Nati Menashe  finally listened to his father and devoted the restaurant and bar to sausages. Menashe has always honored his original vision of Vitrina by serving hamburgers as well, even when they weren’t on the menu. After noticing the success of his hamburger, Menashe made the hamburger a mainstay of the menu.

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With the hamburger now having a spot on the menu, it is identified only by the name “Butler”. When you take a look at the Butler, it might not look like anything special; however, looks can be deceiving.  Delivered on a first-rate bun, it embraces a thick patty (220 grams) made of smoked neck meat and a bit of roast beef and black pepper. Arugula is used in the place of romaine lettuce, the pickles are homemade and the onions are cooked perfectly. People may come for the sausages, but they stay for the hamburger.

During the peak hours of lunch and dinner, Vitrina tends to have a short line, but it is worth the wait. The staff is very hip and friendly and their service is top notch. The waiting time at most will be 10 minutes but, trust me, it is worth every second for this delicious burger.

What to order with your burger:   The fries are some of the best fries I have tasted. Called “50/50”, they are made with two different kinds of potatoes: half white and half sweet. Their amazing taste can be credited to the lemon zest and parsley toppings.

Average price per person: 40 NIS-60 NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: 54 Ibn Gabirol Street

Hours: Sunday- Thursday 12:30PM-12AM

The New Comer- Gourmet 26 Burger

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Gourmet 26 Burger is located in the upcoming trendy street of Mikveh Israel which is just west of Rothschild Street. Gourmet 26  Burger opened their doors almost over a year ago and recently has joined the best burger in Tel Aviv competition. The restaurant was opened by two new French immigrants from the south of France and they bring the famous French “blend” to the hamburgers here in Tel Aviv. The restaurants has a few chairs and tables outside, but inside, if you sit by the bar, there is a great view of the kitchen where you can see the cooks make their masterpieces up close. While indulging in your juicy hamburger, you will be listening to new music from artists which gives this place the perfect ambiance.

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Unlike other Tel Aviv hamburger locations, Gourmet 26 doesn’t offer too many different types of hamburger for you to choose from. They offer three regular weekly burgers and one vegetarian burger. Forget all the other French style culinary burger options that came with the recent wave of French immigrants that caused the Tel Aviv beach area to be flooded with overpriced kosher food options. This is not the story here; each burger here is more sinful than the next. The meat is prepared on location, the fresh and tasty cheeses are imported from France, and all the sweet brioche buns are baked in a local pastry shop each morning. Their “Classic” burger is the standard option which is a classic beef burger with melted emmental cheese, bacon and fried onions. Alongside the “Classic” (NIS 55) you have the side dish option of fries or a small salad. In addition, one has the option of deciding between different sauces, including  blue cheese or Swiss raclette cheese. Even the vegetarian option, mozzarella cheese steak grilled with sundried tomatoes and pesto can also tickle the taste buds of a devoted carnivore. It hard to recommend any specific burger here but trust me any choice you make you won’t regret.

Average price per person: 50-70NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: Mikveh Israel St 26

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30AM-12AM, Friday 11:30AM- 6PM and Saturday 11:30AM-12AM

The Best Deal- The Diner

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The Diner, by Goocha, is located in the southern section of the food friendly street of Ibn Gabirol. The Diner is an American retro style diner that serves hamburgers, steaks, fish, sea food, desserts and alcohol. The prices on the menu are not the cheapest, but if you come between 16:00-19:00, prices are 33% off. By far, they offer the best burger deal in the city. From Sunday to Thursday, they offer all day 1+1 for their delicious and juicy hamburgers. Unlike other places around Tel Aviv that offer 1+1 deals, The Diner hamburgers are still some of the best burgers you will find in town. The restaurant has the feel of an American diner with a very helpful staff and full bar of tasty cocktails and many draft beers.

The Diner offers ten different kinds of hamburgers to choose from. Like most gourmet hamburger locations around the city,  their hamburgers are not kosher friendly. Each burger is made with fresh beef prepared on location and served with a fresh bun and different vegetables of choice. The only question you need to ask yourself which two delicious burgers I want to order. Some of the best burgers are the “Lots of Onions Burger”  which is a delicious burger served with fried onions and chili, and the “Brisket Burger” which is smoked brisket with a fried egg. Honestly you can’t go wrong with any of the burgers available at the Diner..

Average price per person: 60-100 NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: Ibn Gabirol 14

Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 12:00 PM-12:30AM, Thursday 12:00 PM-2:00AM, Friday 11AM-2AM and Saturday 11AM-12:30AM

Best Dirty Burger- Ad Haetzem Express

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Ad HeZtem Express opened their doors in 2013, and since their opening of their two branches ( Ibn Gabirol and King George) they have been a local and tourist favorite for those seeking a delicious burger. What brings people back is both the juiciness of their burgers and the atmosphere. The atmosphere is like no other, you know immediately that you came to the right place if you love burgers. The staff tends to be young and sometimes not the most helpful, but they are overall friendly and if they make mistakes you usually get rewarded with free fries.

Unlike the trendy “gourmet burgers” that have taken over Tel Aviv in recent years, they offer more of a fast food style burger at an affordable price.  They offer three sizes of burgers, each patty is 120 grams but you have the option to order from one to three patties. If you are looking for a great deal, the 120 gram burger is only 25NIS. Each juicy burger is presented on a soft bun, lettuce, tomatoes and different sauces. You can order additional toppings for a small fee.

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Ad HeZtem Express offers different meal specials as well. Each of these meals come with a side of crispy french fries, fried to perfection, and unlimited soft drinks (this is the only restaurant I found in Tel Aviv that has fountain soda). They offer the 120 gram lunch meal at the cost of 42NIS. The 240 gram burger lunch meal costs 49NIS. Last, but not least, the biggest lunch meal, the 360 gram burger, costs 57 NIS. I recommend if you are hungry to get a meal, it will satisfy.

Price: 25NIS-57NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: Ibn Gabirol 21 and King George 77

Hours: Sunday-Saturday 12PM-4AM

Best Kosher Burger- Magic Burger

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Magic Burger is located in the heart of the city right across the street from Rabin Square on Ibn Gabirol Street. Unlike the previous entries on the list, Magic Burger is kosher. The trend in Tel Aviv is that a lot of restaurants are going kosher, but it is happening slowly.  Even with this recent trend, kosher eaters in Tel Aviv have available tasty and quality burgers. The design of  the restaurant is very straight forward – it looks like a typical burger restaurant in the U.S. Their menu includes the typical options such as hamburgers, lamb burgers and chicken sandwiches.

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Similar to most burger restaurants found in and  around the city, Magic Burger offer theirs burgers in the size of 200 grams (you can stack them together if you are in the mood for a larger burger). Each burger is served on a fresh hamburger bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a side of potato slices. Their burgers are cooked to perfection which will bring you back for more. They offer different deals when you order a meal (which can be a bit spendy), but otherwise their burgers are very affordable. Unlike other Tel Aviv burger location, Magic Burger provides you the simple kosher burger experience you grew up on.

Price per person:30-50NIS

KOSHER

Address: IBN Gabirol 64

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12PM-3AM, Saturday 8:30PM-3AM

Ruben- one of best deli sandwiches you will find in the Middle East

Growing up in America, I had the picking of great deli sandwiches. In Tel Aviv there are so many sandwiches spots that don’t present the same experience. Almost after every sandwich restaurant that I try,  I have to ask myself “where’s the beef?”  In the case of Ruben it reminds me of the great deli sandwiches I experienced growing up.

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Ruben, located in the heart of Tel Aviv on the corner of Yehuda Halevi right off Ibn Gabirol Street, is decorated in a welcoming atmosphere with many wooden shelves and vintage accessories of an old deli in New York. For seating, you can either sit on the counter inside or choose to sit outside for those who like the summer heat of Tel Aviv. The amazing warm smell of smoking meat and the Tel Aviv atmosphere gives it a homey feel. The counter is managed with usually 2-3 workers each with a different role in the sandwich making.

When it’s time to order, you have the option of deciding between the corned beef ,hot pastrami and turkey, choosing 200-400 grams to be made into your perfect deli sandwich, served in either white or brown bread. In addition,, customers can choose to add lettuce, tomato and onion. Unlike most delis, they offer a tasty option of combining white horseradish mustard and sauerkraut. Once your masterpiece is ready to be eaten, a staff member wraps your dish in white paper and cuts it into 2 halves and adds a tasty homemade pickle.

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In addition, they also offer cold and refreshing Kaiser Beer on Tap. If you’re in the middle of your busy day or it’s the end of a long day, there is nothing better than a delicious mouth watering sandwich with a cold refreshing beer.

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Order: the 300 gram mixed meat sandwich. You will get a delicious sandwich packed with turkey and corn beef on an amazing fresh rye bread.

Average price:35-50NIS

Address: Yehuda Halevi 112

Hours: SundayWednesday 11:30AM-1AM, Thursday 11:30AM-2AM, Friday 11:30AM-6PM and Saturday 6PM-1AM