It’s all Greek to me

Jaffa’s Albi restaurant takes your taste buds on a trip to Greece.

Jaffa’s Albi restaurant takes your taste buds on a trip to Greece (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jaffa’s Albi restaurant takes your taste buds on a trip to Greece
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Greek cuisine is one of my favorite comfort foods. Albi is a great place to enjoy some authentic Greek dishes in a very relaxed atmosphere. Situated in the heart of Shuk Hapishpeshim (“the Jaffa Flea Market”), Albi is the vision of two childhood friends Shalom Levy and Lior Dori who grew up in the same neighborhood in Rishon Lezion.
Levy grew up in a Greek home where his childhood memories included his grandmother’s authentic cooking. His friend, Dori, learned the ways of the restaurant world from his friend. After years of individual successes in food ventures, they decided to open their own Greek restaurant.
Lior really wanted to make sure we had a good time, so he invited us to do shots of ouzo after each course. In the laid-back spirit of the place, he joined in for most of the rounds of shots. He then gave us some basic education in what dishes we should try if we wanted a true Greek food experience.
We tried the tzatziki (NIS 26) and the stuffed grape leaves (NIS 27) to start. Everything tasted incredibly fresh, and they kept the special imported souvlaki pita bread (NIS 23) coming.
Next up was a traditional Greek salad (NIS 54) that consisted of the most delicious feta cheese (from the Hameiri Dairy in Safed), olives and tomatoes and this wonderful blend of vinegar and olive oil with some spices. The salad was very fresh and light; it’s amazing that so much flavor can come from such simple ingredients.
This was followed by roasted red pepper (NIS 52) topped with Roquefort, Hameiri feta and Parmesan cheese that tantalized our taste buds.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were presented with the saganaki (NIS 41), a mouth watering must have for cheese lovers. I only could eat a few bites. It’s a giant platter of fried cheese, and while it was delicious and a gluttonous portion, more than a few bites would have done me in.
After a bit of a breather, a series of main dishes were served. I am not the biggest fan of moussaka (NIS 54), because I find it too heavy most of the time. However, this eggplant and meat moussaka was so much lighter than normal.
I liked that the portion size showed some restraint, making it satisfying enough without leaving you tired half-way through. It is precisely why I want to come back. It was so delicious.
The lamb kebab souvlaki (NIS 76) was flavorful, well cooked and perfectly seasoned, and there was just enough tomatoes and onions.
It was served with a side of Greek salad and some warm pita bread. I think the best way to eat it is to sandwich it in between the pita with a dab of tzatziki sauce.
Topping off the meal with a shot of espresso, my dining companion and I fought over bites of the amazingly flaky and nutty baklava (NIS 41), which comes in a generous portion. I appreciate that it wasn’t so sweet that it made my teeth hurt, which some baklavas tend to do.
Overall, a very enjoyable dinner.
I love that Albi sticks to making traditional, classic Greek dishes, just better than you would get them in most Greek restaurants.
Everything we got was fresh, delicious and prepared to come off simply with just the right amount of ingredients. Service was exceptional, a wonderful place for a date or a large group.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Albi 6 Olei Zion Street, Jaffa Not Kosher 077-441-7072