A healthy meal

A small place off the flea market in Jaffa offers wonderfully cooked health food that is actually tasty.

Nelly's Kitchen (photo credit: Courtesy)
Nelly's Kitchen
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Chef Nelly Karpner is not your usual Tel Aviv cook. She says she decided she wanted to cook for a living when she was first exposed to health food, feeling she just had to do it. “I am addicted to health food. I love showing people that it is such good and tasty food. I just love handling the ingredients and thinking of ways to cook good, healthful food in new ways,” she says.
Karpner studied in New York where she worked in a raw food restaurant.
She later started giving workshops in various cooking schools (she still does) until she decided to open a place of her own in the outskirts of the Flea Market in Jaffa.
Her place is small, looking more like a local hangout than a restaurant, yet many of her clients travel here from Tel Aviv and the general area for a meal and take-out.
All the dished are prepared from fresh, mostly organic produce, and many of the dishes are vegetarian, some vegan, but also meat, mostly chicken (Teva) and fish.
We started with two soups (NIS 36), one lentil with vegetables and one red bean with chili. Both were excellent, served with house bread and homemade spreads. We asked and got a few slices of fairly good glutenfree bread, a wonderful surprise.
There are many salads and sandwiches but we took Nelly’s advice and ordered the chicken meatballs in tomato-basil sauce served over red quinoa (NIS 48), which was excellent. The meat was mixed with nuts for crunchiness and with whole rice instead of bread crumbs, and the tomato sauce was made from real fresh tomatoes rather than canned ones. The whole dish was light and different. We liked it.
The other main dish was recommended by the attentive waiter: a plate of chicken livers and onion chutney served over potato and sweet potato puree. A classic dish which is very filling and not something you’d expect at a health food place (NIS 48).
There are many vegetarian dishes, such as baked lentil patties with antipasti, baked zucchini and ricotta patties and many more such dishes which attract vegans to the place.
There are a few desserts, such as natural almond ice cream, malabi ice cream and chocolate pralines, an assortment of homemade cakes and cookies, and more. We tasted a few of the cookies together with excellent organic coffee, and left with a smile feeling that we were good to ourselves.
Nelly’s is also a delicatessen and when we were there she was very busy preparing food for Passover for her clients. The prices range between NIS 10-13 per 100 gr., of the meat dishes; NIS 8.5 for stuffed vegetables, antipasti and salads; and about NIS 30 per serving for quiches.
There are also items such as organic granola, cookies, chutney and salsa and even homemade jams and organic coffee.
NOT Kosher
Nelly’s Kitchen 28 Mergoza Street Jaffa (03) 6813802 open Sunday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. (soon will open for dinner too).