What Israeli food is and where to try it in Tel Aviv
Three men, from Italy, Turkey, and Israel, go to a bar. The first orders some uova in purgatorio; the second, menemen; and the third, shakshuka. The waiter comes back and… They are all the same dish! Don’t be surprised. How to make eggs in bell pepper and tomato sauce is not the only page cookbooks have in common.
Israeli cuisine has many Mediterranean influences. This means that, just like the sea, flavors and techniques are shared by several countries in the region. At the numerous restaurants in Tel Aviv, this type of cuisine is known as sefardita, a Hebrew term that refers to Iberian origins. 'It’s a rich cuisine, with a profusion of colors and flavors,' says Breno Lerner, researcher and author of books on this kind of food. 'They use ingredients like couscous, chickpea, and olive oils.'
Therefore, the same gastronomic pot unites several peoples. After all, food is better when shared.
Seafood is the specialty here. So there’s nothing more fitting than a view of the Mediterranean waters. Some fish are caught there, at the beach in Jaffa, and served with grapes and tabbouleh. It’s also worth trying their tuna fillet or shrimp and squid served with goat cheese and fig sauce.
At the market in Jaffa, you’ll find a café where the stars of the menu are Mediterranean vegetables. Order some fried cauliflower and the vegetarian moussaka, a dish shared with Greeks, which here is made with quinoa and feta cheese in béchamel sauce.
Veganism is very popular in Tel Aviv and this café serves a menu with no ingredient of animal origin. This choice gives an opportunity to creations like shakshuka, which replaces eggs with polenta or tofu.
Fame is no stranger to chef Haim Cohen, and his restaurant also deserves recognition. The comprehensive contemporary menu includes dishes like seared tuna with orange and avocado cream.