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

The Top 4 Shawarma Stands in Tel Aviv

Lately shawarma has had a resurgence in interest among the street food community, resulting mainly in a significant improvement in quality and freshness of the meat and salads. As with falafel and hummus, everyone has a preference for the place and style. With each recommendation where to try fresh shawarma, the same questions come up: lamb or turkey? Served in a pita or a lafa or a beget? Add the local favorite flavored fat which is cooked on top of the meat or avoid it? Here are my top 4 shawarma stands in Tel Aviv.

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Hakosem
Hakosem originally opened its doors as a small falafel stand almost 15 years ago. Though they are famous for their falafel and hummus, you must try their shawarma as well.

I recommend you try the lamb shawarma, each serving includes extra crispy brown lamb meat, which provides amazing juicy flavors, thanks to the lamb fat which is dripping on the meat from above. Each shawarma is served in a handmade pita with fresh hummus , green salads , spicy onions, cucumbers , garlic and to top it off, they add their famous falafel balls on top of this tasty delight in a pita

Price: 30 NIS

Address: Shlomo ha-Melekh St

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Shawarma Bino

Almost seven years ago, the owner of famous shakshuka restaurant Dr Shakshuka, decided it was time to spread his creative wings and open a shawarma stand. This had been his dream for close to 40 years and he hasn’t looked. This veal shawarma is possibly the best shawarma in Jaffa and well worth the trek. When people ask which shawarma to order, it’s a no brainer that you go with the veal. This dish includes touches of beef and lamb fat, which makes it more delicate and a fragrance that will not leave you indifferent.  Each shawarma in a pita is served with such excellent quality meat there is no need to indulge in side dishes. They serve the shawarma with a few different spices and vegetables in fresh pita. This dish is so full of flavor and delicious you will never have to think what to order at this establishment again.

Price 28 NIS

Kosher

Address: David Razi’el St 26,

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Torek  Lahmajun
For years people would wait in line at Torek Lahmajun for shawarma. After years of waiting, they got their wish with a more central location next to Dizengoff Center. The lines are more reasonable now and if you have to wait in line don’t worry, it’s worth the wait. While waiting in line, you will see their trademarked three giant skewers of lamb, turkey and chicken.
I recommend you try the lamb shawarma; each lamb shawarma is sliced to perfection with a strong and juicy flavor which are cooked with endless amount of spices that give it the perfect flavor. Add to that a little onion and a little fat of the lamb which cooks on top of each skewer (which provides great flavor) and it is hard to surpass. Each dish is served in a fresh pita with generous amount of meat, tahini, onion and different types of vegetables.

Price 26 NIS

Kosher

Address: Nahalat Binyamin St 77 and King George 51

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Keter Mizrach

Keter Mizrach was established in 1952 based on recipes from their Syrian family recipe, and it is one of the oldest operating restaurants in Tel Aviv. With 64 years of experience, they continue to offer us a delicious kebab , schnitzel and meatballs , and shawarma . While eating at Keter Mizrach you have to try the turkey shawarma. Unlike other shawarma stands in Tel Aviv, you notice they use a special ingredient unlike no other – the use of pistachios in their shawarma skewer. The use of pistachios enhances the meat flavor and the fragrance, also it helps to keep its distinctive tastes as well as it’s juices. The downside of the shawarma is the relatively small size of the pita, but they make up for it with fries and fresh salads, which include something different – a unique onion salad with dill which provides great flavor for the whole shawarma.

Price 30 NIS

Kosher

Address: 115 Ibn Gabirol

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.”

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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.

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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

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

Hiro- The Newest Asian Cuisine Restaurant with the Magical Touch of Aharoni

Aharoni Raman

We’ve waited and it’s finally here: Aharoni, the king of Asian cuisine, developed the Hiro Ramen soups, which is located in the heart of the exciting Sarona Market.

Almost a year ago there was a rumor in the culinary world of Tel Aviv that native Israeli Aharoni is returning to the Asian cuisine business. For months before the opening of Sarona market, Hiro’s instagram account frequently posted appetizing pictures of steaming ramen soups, steamed Asian dumplings and salads, which brought enthusiasm among lovers of Asian cuisine and made the wait particularly difficult. Since the opening Hiro, Hiro Ramen soups has been all the rave of the Sarona market.

The concept of Hiro is focused and very limited. The main course only served at the bar (eating around the bar overlooking the chef or in a little cluster of tables around the podium) is ramen: You will find three kinds of soup, all with noodles developed by Aharoni himself after a research trip to the east and manufactured specifically for Hiro first plant marking.

Raman

Hiro offers three different kinds of Raman, but I will first talk about the meat flavored Raman. Ramen with chicken or beef is served with a huge bowl of fine grain noodles, soya,egg, pickled sprouts, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and scallions (52 NIS for chicken or 56NIS for beef). For the vegetarians, they offer a Raman with tofu, wakame seaweed, egg, bok choy, scallions, pickled daikon and shiitake mushrooms (44 NIS).

Ramen is served in the Far East in countless versions, one of which includes the popular version with bacon and ham soup.  Of course, the vegetarian variation has been based on fresh, local vegetables and soy. Unlike Ramen restaurants in the Far East where you are recommended to eat fresh on location, Hiro provides the option of take.

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Hiro’s small menu offers appetizers such as spinach filled vegan gyoza with pak choy and onions (5 for 28 NIS), Chicken filled gyoza with green onions and shiitake mushrooms ( 5 for 32 NIS). They also offer sweet Asian glazed grilled wings that is served with ginger,miso and soy shitake( 38 NIS) and other different Asian salads.  For those looking to add some drinks on their meal, they offer different types of sake and offer the imported beer of Singha.

Those looking for a different type of eating experience then your typical Tel Aviv café or meat restaurant, I highly recommend you try Aharoni’s Ramen. While you’re there, walk around and enjoy the almost endless variety of shops that the new Sarona Market offers.

Not Kosher

Address: Sarona Market

Hours: Sunday-Friday 12PM-10PM and Saturday 12PM-11PM

House of Hummus and Ful-The Hummus and the Experience

Since the establishment of the state of Israel or even before, the one question that has everyone wondering is “Where is the best hummus in Tel Aviv?” There so many options to choose from, but I have to say, House of Hummus offers one of the most underrated plates of hummus you will find in the white city.

The House of Hummus is not a new addition to the thriving hummus community in Tel Aviv. Located on the busy street of Chashmonaim, which is filled with many outdoor recreation stores and various restaurants, House of Hummus offers a tasty plate of hummus for a quick breakfast or a nice lunch break. The menu includes many non-hummus local dishes such as Malawach, chicken breast schnitzel, and a breakfast omelet. Each dish is served with a small plate of hummus – no matter the order. Equally important: the place is clean, the prices are affordable and the atmosphere is excellent.

Now for the hummus, they offer a delicious plate of Masabacha for only 16 NIS while their best dish is known as “The Triple”. This dish is both attractive and affordable, with a fresh plate of hummus and ful, a generous order of fries, and five falafel balls.  This dish is served with a small bowl of chopped salad, pickle plate, and puffy and tasty bread. The one downside might be the service, despite the waiters repeated explanation that each dish takes time, service was slower them most hummus joints around Tel Aviv. Overall if you don’t mind the slow service but you’re looking for a fresh, tasty plate of hummus which is also kosher, you have come to the right place.

KOSHER

Address: Chashmoanim 119

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8AM-5PM

Shukshuka

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When I first started this blog my intention was to highlight the many of my favorite Tel Aviv eating experiences that just happened to be located at or near the Carmel Market.  The Carmel Market has long been a culinary celebration, with a seemingly endless supply of new eateries that offer excellent quality food at great prices.  A more recent addition to the market is Shukshuka. This fun and exciting shakshuka bar offers no less than 9 variations of the Israeli well renowned breakfast.

Every time we think the Carmel Market already has everything a person needs, there seems to be room for additions to the lively market. Hashomer 1 is the local favorite,Bunny Chow surprised us with cool street food with flavors we haven’t seen before, and now the welcome addition of our local favorite breakfast .

Shukshuka opened their doors close to a year ago with much rave from the locals who were desperate to satisfy their shakshuka craving in the culinary heaven that we call the Carmel Market. The design of the shakshuka bar presents an outdoor pub ambience with seating only available at the bar. On the weekend, I recommend to make the trek early as the tourists and locals tend to flock early and in great numbers

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In the exciting atmosphere at Shukshuka, you will find a wide selection of different flavors of shakshuka suitable for breakfast or lunch. Their menu is simple – it’s Shakshuka time! Their menu, which is drawn on their wall, includes: shakshuka with goat cheese and basil (37 NIS), shakshuka Moroccan tuna (47 NIS), shakshuka Spanish with hummus, beef jerky and spinach (37 NIS), shakshuka with meatballs (45 NIS), shakshuka with chicken cutlets (45 NIS) and of course the classic shakshuka (32 shekels).  Each order of shakshuka has the option of additional side appetizers such as salad, herbs and chickpeas, spicy tomato salad, or finely chopped Israeli Salad. (8-12 NIS).

KOSHER

Address: 41 Simtat HaCarmel

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 9AM-6PM and Friday 8AM- Start of Shabbat

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

Café Xoho- Not Your Average Tel Avivi Brunch

 

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In vibrant Tel Aviv on the weekends, the toughest decision to make is “Where are we going to grab brunch?” When choosing, there are so many deciding factors that needs to be taken into consideration. What makes this café different than the one down the street? With Café Xoho’s unique menu, which is not found anywhere else in Tel Aviv, it’s a very easy choice where to grab your beloved weekend brunch.

Café Xoho, located on Gordon Street, is conveniently located a block from the beach. They opened their doors 7 years ago, opened by  a new immigrant from Hong Kong with Canadian parents.  Before, we dig into their tasty and unique menu, what’s unique about Xoho? First, their staff is all female and super friendly. To makes things easier for the non-Hebrew speakers, they all speak fluent English. They provide top notch service that most customers coming from abroad are accustomed to. For those who grew up on the west coast, the atmosphere reminds you of a very hip and relaxed café. On Fridays they shut down the Wi-Fi, but every other day of the week it is a great place to work from.

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Unlike most Tel Aviv cafés, their menu is filled with breakfast dishes that you grew up on and/or dishes not available in Israel.  First thing first, they offer fresh grounded coffee which they make fresh and it will start your day right no matter what the rest of the day offers. When looking at their vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the Mexican breakfast dishes. As a Mexican food enthusiast, this got me excited.   My Mexican dish of choice was the breakfast burrito, which is filled with an omelet, chipotle cream sauce, pico de gallo, labneh and black beans (40 NIS).  Other Mexican options are a tasty Mexican salad and Quesadillas.

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Despite my love for Mexican food, what keep bringing locals back is their delicious bagels. Some will say they offer the best bagels in the Middle East.  For those Americans who miss their Sunday bagels with some shmear, you have come to the right place. They offer three different delicious dishes on a bagel.  The classic salmon is a favorite, served on a fresh, warmly toasted bagel with the perfect amount of cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers and fresh salmon (42Nis). Two other bagel dishes I recommend are their Tuna Melt and Pizza bagel, for those looking for their American bagel nostalgic breakfast memories.

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For those who are looking for vegan dishes, Xoho has you covered. I recommend you try the Xoho Veggie Burger, even if you aren’t a vegan you will enjoy this dish. If you still have room, you must try their homemade cookies and cake. Ask any of the many friendly waiters or have a look for yourself which daily desserts they are offering as they change their desserts daily.

Café Xoho presents brunch goers with a unique and tasty food experience. Just don’t forget that you can’t make reservations, so on the weekend try to get there before midday to avoid waiting in line.

Not Kosher (Open on Saturday)

Address: Gordon 17

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 7:30AM-6PM, Friday 7:30AM-6PM, Saturday 10AM-^PM and Sunday 7:30AM-6PM