(photo credit: PR)
Ha’achim (The Brothers) on Tel Aviv’s bustling Ibn Gvirol Street is officially my new favorite casual neighborhood place. Lacking any pretense, it embodies everything I could ask for in a go-to spot: a simple yet diverse and well-executed menu, friendly service and a chill vibe.
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.
Once inside, the dim lights, intimate design (black-and-white photographs) and music all contributed to the special atmosphere of the place. On the way to our table, we whetted our appetites by feasting our eyes on the elaborate dishes being served to others.
Owned and operated by Assaf and Yotam Doktor, Ha’achim is best known for its wide variety of traditional charcoal-grilled meat, accompanied by a selection of homemade salads. The other major part of the menu is wine; Ha’achim has an extensive wine list and a fully stocked bar. A gracious gesture on the part of the Doktors is that they strive to serve alcohol at prices that are relatively cheaper than most other places.
While the menu is divided between firsts and mains, there is less variation in size among the courses due to Ha’achim’s philosophy: family-style dining with smaller than usual dishes for sharing and a wide variety of tastes and flavors. The best way to experience Ha’achim 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 waitress began to bring us a selection of salads and dips. We began with a beet salad with yogurt, a zucchini salad and masabacha (NIS 15 each).
All three were a delight; the ingredients were fresh and of high quality. We wiped the plates clean with some delicious toasted halla.
This was followed by a spicy tomato salad (NIS 31) that consisted of delicious feta cheese (from the Hameiri Safed Dairy) and a wonderful blend of coriander and garlic and other spices. The salad was very fresh and light. It’s amazing that so much flavor can come from such simple ingredients.
Next up were two of Ha’achim’s signature dishes. The first was fried artichoke (NIS 39) with labane. Thin pieces of artichoke with a crisp outside and soft inner filling, almost like a dense kind of crunchy mashed potato. It had a strong and salty flavor, which I really liked, but it might not be for everyone.
We were then presented with the lamb safiach (NIS 39), which consisted of small pita pockets filled with minced lamb, tehina, fresh herbs and tomatoes. This was so delicious and surprisingly not greasy, unlike what minced lamb often tends to be.
In between, my dining partner and I greatly enjoyed a bottle of Petit Castel, from the boutique Castel Winery in the Jerusalem Hills.
For the main course, we shared the fish patties (NIS 59) in spicy tomato sauce and tehina. The patties were nicely spiced and moist. Last was the lamb sinayah (NIS 67), served over grilled vegetables, tehina, almonds and parsley. This dish was flavorful, well cooked and perfectly seasoned.
Even though the meal was satisfying and we were rather full, we graciously accepted dessert – a cup of malabi, which was light and very refreshing following such a heavy meal.
Overall, Ha’achim has great service, attractive presentation and attention to detail. And, of course, flavorful food.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
12 Ibn Gvirol, Tel Aviv