Tag Archives: tel aviv

Who Doesn’t Love Fried Eggplant in a Pita- Top 5 Sabich in Tel Aviv

In Israel, when people think of street food, the first things that come in mind are falafel, shawarma and hummus. One of the more affordable and tastier dishes you are forgetting about is Sabich. Throughout Tel Aviv, there are many places that offer Sabich. This dish consists of fried eggplant, an egg, and amba with hummus and tahina. Here are our top 5 Sabich locations in Tel Aviv for under 20 NIS.

Sabich Tchernichovsky

This hole-in-the-wall Sabich restaurant makes a delicious sabich that you will keep you coming back for. Despite the long lines, the staff takes their time creating each and every Sabich sandwich (18 NIS).  Each ingredient is prepared cleverly in the fresh and tasty pita, providing the ideal blend of flavors in every bite.  The delicious eggplant is thin and crispy, providing an appetizing kick with its exceptional and unidentifiable seasoning.  It mixes well with the soft and creaminess of the boiled egg and pickled flavored sauce known as “amba”.  Sabich Tchernichovsky also includes red cabbage, a astonishingly crunchy addition to the stuffed pita. On the wall behind the staff, a sign that reads in Hebrew, “No sale of sabich without eggplant”, showing how serious they are about their Sabich with a taste of their Israeli humor.

2 Tchernichovsky Street

Hakosem

Truth, the falafel here is great, as is the shakshouka and shawarma, but note the best dish at Hakosem is the Sabich (18 NIS). It starts with a pita baked on site, warm and fresh, full of strongly flavored tahini equipped with lemon and excellent hummus (also prepared on site). From there the eggplant steals the show: lovely thick slices, floured and fried, giving the portion an addictive crunch and flavor. The boiled potato comes as a salad with parsley, olive oil and black pepper. For the egg they use a special knife that spreads and distributes it to all parts of the pita. Is it any wonder that the result is no less than excellent?

1 Shlomo Hamelech Street,

Sabich Deluxe

From the Tel Aviv culinary scene, this was a very controversial Sabich. First of all, the key word here is cumin and other seasonings. Some people will be less indulged by the seasoning, but Tel Aviv locals love it. Without a doubt this is one of the more unique and tasty Sabich sandwiches I have encountered in Tel Aviv. This is all thanks to the delicious fresh pita, which did a brilliant job of soaking up all the sauce and the eggplant slices provided a perfect crispy but not oily taste.

1 Mikveh Israel Street

Sabich Frishman

Rather than deep fried chickpeas, Sabich Frishman fills your pita with eggplant, egg, and potato. In addition to this are the familiar accompaniments of hummus, tehina, tomato, parsley, cucumber, purple cabbage and onion, which are all loaded on generously. The mango based, spicy, and rich in flavor sauce called amba makes this dish a game changer. The combination of egg and hummus is a very interesting and creates a satisfying interplay of flavors that will leave your taste buds yearning for another bite. Be sure to stock up at the salad bar with portions of pickled cabbage, peppers and carrots. It also should be noted that the sharp flavor of vinegar contrasts and enhances the flavors in the Sabich.

42 Frishman Street

Sabich Hasharon

If this name sounds familiar to you, you have apparently seen it on the streets of Hod Hasharon or Ramat Gan. The secret of the Sabich here lies in two factors:  First, the fresh handmade pita; and then the heavenly fried eggplant. The slices of eggplant are doused in the fryer till they rich a golden crispness which provides a crunchy but smooth taste in the pita. Alongside the eggplant is a small fried potato, hummus, brown egg, salad, onion and parsley. I noticed right away that cumin was missing in the Sabich which was a bit shocking. This Sabich is for the extraordinary eggplant enthusiasts who want to go the distance.

68 Nahalat Binyamin

Beer Bazaar- It’s always Israeli Craft Beer’oclock

The hallmark of a good craft beer is the distinctive local flavor it adds to the base of grain, hops, yeast and water. Israeli craft beer, virtually nonexistent until a decade ago, now is available in more than 100 styles. The taste of Israel inside each bottle hints of locally sourced herbs and fruits such as mint, rosemary, date, passionfruit, mango or citron.

In 2013, Beer Bazaar opened their doors for the entire craft beer enthusiast community. Originally opening a small hut in the middle of the exciting Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem and Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, their goal was to provide three local drafts on tap and a place to find local beers by the bottle. Over the past two years, they have expanded to four Tel Aviv locations.

My favorite Beer Bazaar is located on Yishkon street next to the Carmel market. This Beer Bazaar branch serves over 7 drafts on tap featuring a few house brews made off-premises and an assortment of local beers. Their drafts cost 23 NIS for a third of a liter and 29 NIS for half a liter.

With over 100 beers from dozens of Israeli microbreweries to choose from, there’s something for everyone who likes beer and wants to try one they can’t find elsewhere. Since many Israeli microbrews are sold close to the breweries, it may be more difficult to find a Jerusalem brew like Shapiro’s Stout in Tel Aviv, so a central location to sample Israeli beers is a nice way to drink your way around the country without spending hours on the road. You can drink Bazelet from the Golan or some passion fruit infused brew from the Negev without leaving the same barstool. All bottles at the bar cost 26 NIS, a fair price compared to other local bars.

Recently, Beer Bazaar implemented a new Happy Hour at all their locations. Between 5PM-8PM, when you order a draft beer you receive a bottle of one of the 6 crafted beers brewed by Beer Bazaar. While I tend to prefer to enjoy a 1+1 happy hour deal, I also enjoy having craft beers at home which would be tough to find at your local supermarket.

For those looking for some food while drinking your beers, Beer Bazaar provides different Israeli theme bar food options. Their menu consists of fish entrees, pizza, meat sandwiches and healthier options such as grilled eggplant. While their food is tasty, I come here for the craft beer.

Whether you are trying o take a break from the craziness of the market or enlighten friends with the advancement of Israeli craft beer, Beer Bazaar is a great place to knock back a few beers during the day or at night.

Locations:

BeerBazaar Machane Yehuda :Etz Hayyim St 3 Jerusalem ( KOSHER)

BeerBazaar Yishkon: 36 Yishkon Tel Aviv

BeerBazaar Levinsky 13 Zvulun Street Tel Aviv

BeerBazaar Basta Rambam 1 Tel Aviv

BeerBazaar Rothschild Rothschild Boulevard 142 Tel Aviv

Hours: Sunday- Thursday : 10AM-12AM and Friday 10AM-7PM

Saluf and Sons- A Nostalgic Yemenite Experience in the White City

One of the special and unique experiences that Tel Aviv and Israel provides are the varied cultures. In Israel you can find Jews from Morocco, Russia, Ethiopia, Belgium, the United States, pretty much from every corner of the Jewish world. One of the oldest Jewish communities is the Yemenite community. If you want to enjoy delicious and affordable Yemenite food, music and culture, Saluf and Sons creates an exciting Yemenite culinary experience.

Located on Nahalat Binyamin street, Saluf and Sons is located at the halfway point between the Carmel shuk and the trendy Florentine neighborhood. While there is many other home cooking “style” restaurants in the area, Saluf and Sons kitchen offers unique and delicious entrees that are the perfect mix of fresh and spice.

The Yemenite meat soup is the most expensive dish on the menu, costing 35 NIS. This delicious dish comes with rice and a secret sauce made on location. Their most famous dish is jachnun, which is served with tomato sauce and a spicy hard boiled egg costing a 21 NIS. Another very popular dish is the malawah, offered in two different styles. The Yemenite, which is served with fresh tahini, tomato sauce and a hard boiled egg, and the Eastern style which is accompanied with delicious hummus, tomato sauce and spicy pickles. Each Malawah dish costs only 21 NIS.

Other dishes include the Yemenite kubah, spicy soups, couscous and rice based dishes. The majority of dishes are available either with meat or vegetarian. For those who can’t make it for lunch, they offer a happy hour special where all the dishes are half price.

For those looking to have a drink with their meal, they offer three different sizes of  Goldstar draft beers; a small beer costs 11 NIS, a half-liter is and 25 NIS and a liter is 52 NIS. Don’t be shocked while indulging in these delicious Yemenite dishes to receive free arak shots.

While most of Tel Aviv’s culinary scene is increasing in prices, Saluf and Sons reminds you that sometimes it’s best to go back to your roots.

NOT KOSHER

Address: Nahalat Binyamin St 80

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-11PM, Friday 11AM-PM

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

https://www.facebook.com/hamalabiya/?fref=photo

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.

 

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

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

Top 5 Vegan Restaurants in Tel Aviv

During the past few years, a new trend has hit Tel Aviv and is taking over the White City. Organic vegan food is the new “it” food in Tel Aviv.   Even though there have been many vegan options in Tel Aviv, only recently are we seeing this trend at its full force. Here are my five best favorite vegan restaurants (in no particular order) in Tel Aviv:

Anastasia

Anastasia is the most well-known vegan café in Tel Aviv. Located in the heart of the city, it offers a vibrant urban atmosphere serving delicious, healthy and unusual vegan dishes.

Anastasia was the first vegan cafe in Israel. Offering coffee and smoothies made from fresh almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk, along with a wide variety of fruit shakes and vegetable juices. You have the option of replacing their delicious coffee with natural, caffeine free coffee substitutes: palm kernel powder, cocoa powder and roasted carob powder. Their full menu includes gluten-free options and raw food deserts.

Hours: Saturday- Thursday 8AM-11PM and Friday 8AM-5PM

Address: Frishman 54

Market

Located on King George Street, Market opened their doors a few years ago. This friendly vegan restaurant offers delicious hot soups and a variety of stews. Each dish is made fresh and is geared to the vegetarian and vegan communities of Tel Aviv. It will bring you back memories of your mothers cooking when you were child.

Their menu is seasonal and with every new visit you will find a few new dishes on their menu according to the time of year. The staff is very friendly and helpful – particularly for those customers new to vegan selections.

Address: 31 King George Street

Hours: Sunday-Thursday:10AM-Midnight, Friday:10AM-4:30AM and Saturday 5:30PM-Midnight

Dosa Bar

Dosa Bar, an Indian street food restaurant, opened shop about 9 months ago and the Tel Aviv vegan community hasn’t stopped raving about their delicious and affordable vegan-friendly menu. The creation of Dosa Bar was the result of a conflict between the owners of an Indian restaurant and Israeli Top Chef participant Jonathan Roshfeld.

Dosa Bar offers four types of dosas. Those who have visited India are familiar with dosas. This is a street food characteristic of southern India and available worldwide. Dosa is a rice crepe made with black mung beans which is both vegan and gluten-free. Dosa comes in four varieties – yellow with potatoes, onions, carrots and spices (38 NIS), orange with sweet potato, carrot, onion, Indian spice and green onions (40 NIS), green with swiss chard, squash, onions and Ag’oan (44 NIS) and dosa mediterranean (46 NIS). All dosas come with sambar – a lentil soup, salton of cabbage and carrots and chutney coconut dip. You can also find desserts that are more on the sweet side such as spirulina cream, peanut butter crème and more.

Address: Ben Yehuda 188

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12PM-11PM and Friday 12PM-4PM

Nanuchka

Nanuchka Bar & Restaurant is a lively and colorful Georgian cuisine establishment with a magical atmosphere. The second you walk in you feel you came to the right place – with their welcoming attitude with a mix of tasty vegan food. Their décor brings you back to the time of the Russian Revolution.

Nanuchka is located in a beautiful building from the 1930s located on Lilinblum street in the center of Tel Aviv.  On the first floor you can enjoy the colorful and elegant restaurant, which leads to an enchanting courtyard. The second floor has a bar with over 1,500 books with a counter overlooking the action in the lower bar. At Nanuchka, the Georgian kitchen offers authentic Georgian dishes with local raw ingredients.

Address:  Lilienblum 30

Hours: Everyday 12PM-5AM

Meshek Barzilay

Meshek  Barzily joined the Tel Aviv vegan community, relocating from Moshav Yarkona to the lovely Neve Tzedek neighborhood. They specialize in providing vegan friendly, healthy dishes. Fresh vegan breads and cakes are made daily which are highly recommended.

Meshek  Barzily cooks with fresh, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables. The majority of dishes offer a grain of choice; quinoa, brown rice, millet, bulgur, or couscous. If you are looking for a cozy brunch or dinner ,Meshek Barzily is a great option. I recommend you reserve ahead of time and sit in the courtyard section.

Address: Ahad Haam 6

Hours: Monday- Saturday 8AM- 11PM andSunday 8AM-4PM

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

fishtacos.jpg

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.

enchilades

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.

Margarita

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…

Mezcal

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.

Mezcal1

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

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

poke 1

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

 

Vitrina Opens a New and Bigger Branch to Satisfy Burger Fans

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After years of providing delicious hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, and the endless line that everyone dreads, Vitrina has opened a new branch on Lilienblum Street here in Tel Aviv.

The new branch offers a beautiful bar with gilded chairs and round style American diner from the Sixties, with spacious interiors with a variety of elements in pink, gold and green. The internal space can hold up to 40 seats and, in addition, you will also find outdoor seating, which they provide chairs and tables overlooking the bustling street corner. Most important, the new branch blesses us with new Vitrina creations.

First and foremost are the tacos, served on a polenta tortilla filled with delicious short ribs and spicy salsa (40 NIS). The Chinese chicken salad and sesame sauce includes lettuce, carrots, rice noodles, and coriander. Sausages, so characteristic of the flagship store, have so far remained outside the menu.

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In addition, here’s a little glimpse a few more dishes at the new branch: Golden State Hamburger – veggie burger made from a pair of Portobello mushrooms which includes hot cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato while served on a fresh bun (55 NIS as part of a business meal with fries and drink ). Don’t worry their classic burger is still on the menu, but this time with the addition of jam juicy bacon, cheddar, lettuce and tomato (65 NIS as part of a business meal with fries and drink);

For those looking to indulge their sweet tooth, they offer chocolate tacos.  These crispy waffles are made from handmade tacos and are stuffed with vanilla ice cream and a thick coating of chocolate and walnuts (15 NIS). They also offer a giant chocolate chip cookie, which includes chips and chocolate peanut butter, oatmeal and pretzel (5 NIS).

NOT KOSHER

Address: Lilienblum 40

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