(photo credit: PR)
It’s not always easy to find restaurants that serve kosher Moroccan food in the Tel Aviv area.
However, the search is over. Situated in the picturesque quarter of Neveh Tzedek, the newly opened Ewa Safi caters to anyone seeking authentic home-style Moroccan cuisine at its finest.
Approaching the restaurant, we knew immediately that we were in for a treat. Greeted by a charming outdoor seating area, my dining partner and I sat down to enjoy a final moment of anticipation before beginning what was guaranteed to be a gratifying culinary experience.
Ewa Safi (meaning “Leave me alone with your nonsense” or, in short, “Move on” in Moroccan slang) is owned by siblings Miko and Shimon Barak. They decided to open the restaurant in honor of their mother in order to convey the tastes, aromas and colors of the food they had experienced during their childhood.
To that end, their mother, Suleika, has been enlisted to train the restaurant’s team of cooks.
The atmosphere is warm, cozy and welcoming, with beautiful Moroccan decorations around the restaurant.
The best way to experience Ewa Safi is with a large group, as the dishes are too varied and too delicious to order just one or two.
As we sat down, our enthusiastic waiter began to bring us a selection of salads and dips. As well as the usual eggplant dips, tehina and chopped salad, there were some interesting tomato and pepper matbuha salads, a traditional beet salad and spicy carrots.
We wiped the plates clean with some delicious homemade Moroccan farina bread. While we could have easily filled up on the flavorful spreads and salads, we made an executive decision to stop and leave room for the next course.
We began with the meat cigars (NIS 42) stuffed with slow-cooked beef ribs blended with traditional Moroccan spices. Served with tehina, the cigars were crispy and crunchy on the outside, while the meat inside was juicy and tender. This was comfort food at its best.
Being South African and having grown up with traditional sweet meat dishes such as Babotie, I was pleasantly surprised by the Moroccan pastille (NIS 56). It consisted of a sweet, crispy filo pastry envelope filled with chunks of spring chicken, slowcooked shoulder of lamb, nuts, toasted almonds and caramelized dried fruit. The blend of sweet and spicy ingredients was perfectly balanced, making it a delicious reminder of home.
In between, we were treated to some deliciously sweet and spicy cocktails, such as the Berber Cosmo, consisting of vodka citron, lemon Cointreau, cranberry and beetroot.
The next dish consisted of slowcooked veal cheek (NIS 48) served with whole chickpeas, tehina and green salad. The veal came in generous chunks and was soft and succulent. My dining partner and I savored every last bite.
We then split the lamb tagine (NIS 118), which proved to be a big winner. It had this wonderful saltysweet combo of onions, caramelized prunes and cinnamon that went really well with the gamey lamb, which was tender and falling off the bone. The sweet components balanced the savory taste far better than I ever could have hoped. The dish was accompanied by vegetable couscous and pumpkin confit.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were presented with char grilled shoulder of beef (NIS 54) served with Moroccan fries. Sliced in thin strips, the beef was all that we had dreamt of and more. The seasoning was just right, not too much salt or spices.
We ended the meal with an assortment of delicious Moroccan cookies and some mint tea.
In my opinion, Ewa Safi is a great new addition to the kosher Tel Aviv dining scene. As it has just opened, I can imagine that every aspect of this already fabulous restaurant will only get better and stronger.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
8 Hashachar Street, Tel Aviv