(photo credit: PR)
Situated in the heart of the Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk Hapishpishim), Onza is the kind of restaurant that everyone wants in their neighborhood. Chef Itay Shitrit combines the finest in locally sourced ingredients for a gastronomic sensation that, together with a stylish, relaxed atmosphere, makes a visit there an appealing dining experience.
Upon entering, one is immediately struck by the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the restaurant. There is a large bar in the center – that is packed on weekend nights – and seating areas inside and on the sidewalk.
Sitting at the bar, my dining companion and I were immediately served delicious cocktails to start, setting the tone for an evening of fine food.
Having eaten at Onza before, I was looking forward to once again sampling the egg by Kitchen Market (NIS 35) – the restaurant’s signature dish – which consists of seared mushrooms, brioche, Parmesan foam and truffle oil. It did not disappoint. Really rich and smooth. Loved every bite of this truffle goodness! This was followed by the beet tortellini (NIS 62) with blue cheese cream, Turkish spinach, zucchini and tomatoes. The tortellini was light, delicious and somewhat sweet. The beets had a beef-like flavor that brought my taste buds to a new level. I was overjoyed with this dish and would certainly order it again. Along with it, we ripped away at the tasty house bread.
After a bit of a breather and two more cocktails, it was on to the main dishes. First up was the shwarma Goliath (NIS 68), which consisted of lamb and chicken shwarma served on a flatbread with greens salad, herb aioli and drizzled with yogurt. The meat was made to perfection, moist, juicy, well seasoned, with every ingredient playing off each other like a chamber ensemble. It looked like the shwarma was going to be difficult to eat and I was worried I’d end up dripping it all over myself, but it was much easier to eat than it looked.
This was followed by the lamb knafeh (NIS 79). Knafeh is normally served as a dessert, but this savory rendition consisted of a crunchy fresh kadaif filled with lamb smothered in yogurt and topped with pistachios. It was simply out of this world! We were also served a side of polenta and Parmesan (NIS 18). The polenta was cooked perfectly and was very hearty and flavorful.
After sipping on some espresso, it was on to dessert, which consisted of malabi. While my companion and I are usually not fans of this Middle Eastern milk pudding, we decided to give it a try and were not disappointed. It was very light and refreshing, and the rosewater did not overpower the dish as it so often does. This was followed by a decadently delightful dark chocolate mousse.
Overall, it was a delicious dinner.
Everything we had was fresh, flavorful and prepared to come off simply with just the right amount of ingredients.
Service was exceptional. The wait staff were constantly attentive to filling our water glasses, and when a dish was finished, the plate was whisked off the table. A wonderful place for an intimate date or a large, lively group.The writer was a guest of the restaurant. Onza Not kosher 3 Rabbi Hanina, Jaffa (03) 648-6060