I was walking around Tel Aviv looking for something authentically local to eat. I can only find “innovative” cafes and bistros around the Tel Aviv Port area and decided to move further inland, until I come before Abu Zaki.
It proclaimed loudly “Authentic Arab Food”, there’s no foreigner in this one, so I walked in. Once again, I was very early for dinner – it’s only 7pm, and I am the only one there.
They can see that I am struggling with their menu because the English translation was horrible (thanks, Google Translate, no help at all). So they started to suggest a few things. Hummus? Sure. Falafel? Definitely. Kebab? OK, I am starting to get worried about the portion size. Big? I asked. It’s alright. Came back the answer. When a Middle Eastern man tells you it’s alright, it is often NOT alright.
Once you finished the ordering, the meze plates started coming. Five small plates with picked carrots, chopped herbs with tahini, pickles, and a spicy green mash that I am not familiar but tasted like jalapeño.
Their hummus is very nice and large, one plate is enough for two persons. The falafel is freshly made and crispy, amazing, again enough for two to share. And you will need the lemonade to wash down everything and build the appetite for the main. Yes, so far it’s just starters.
The mixed grill consisted of two types of meat – a lamb shawarma and chicken shawarma. The meat is well seasoned and prepared and served on pita bread. It also comes with a side, and for some reason, I got a serving of rice cooked in spices like nasi kuning. Perfect!
So far everything was great. They have coffee and a sweet at the end on the house. The service is really good here, very friendly and helpful staff. Then I asked for the bill. USD 55. Not cheap.
Abu Zaki אבו זאקי
Ben Yehuda St 113, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Tel : +972 3-522-3306
Date Visited : Nov 2014
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