J17 Vegan Home Kitchen: Good enough for non-vegans - review

The restaurant is situated on Yirmeyahu Street in an area that used to house several of the early Israel fashion houses

 J17 Vegan Home Kitchen (photo credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)
J17 Vegan Home Kitchen
(photo credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)

Perhaps a measure of how good a vegan restaurant can be is when non-vegans crowd in there as well.

On a recent visit to J17 Vegan Home Kitchen I met a family of brothers, all professionals, who are not vegan but often have their lunch there.

“The food is good, the atmosphere warm and inviting, and it’s very convenient,” they said.

“The food is good, the atmosphere warm and inviting, and it’s very convenient.”

Non-vegan brothers

My vegan son parked the car nearby while I, faced with the need to somehow get the digital menu on my phone, patiently waited for him. I’m about as low-tech as it’s possible to be, and hadn’t the faintest idea how to proceed. Michal, the assistant to owner Assaf Ingber, dug out a printed menu but warned me it was out of date.

The restaurant is situated on Yirmeyahu Street in an area that used to house several of the early Israel fashion houses. Today the area is Bohemian, casual and has many good eating places.

 J17 Vegan Home Kitchen (credit: DAVID DEUTSCH) J17 Vegan Home Kitchen (credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)

Owner Assaf speaks good English and made us feel very welcome.

What's on the menu?

The restaurant has a covered pavement patio full of healthy-looking plants, but we opted to sit inside, and began our meal with a hot soup and stuffed vegetables.

The soup was a consommé brimming with a mixture of roughly cut up vegetables – kohlrabi, courgettes (zucchini), carrots, pumpkin and even turnips, which are not that easy to find in Israel. It was nicely hot and just the thing for a winter’s day (NIS 35).

The stuffed vegetables were cabbage, onion and vine leaves filled with rice and topped with tehina. I liked the fact that they were not sweet but spicy and made for a satisfying starter (NIS 35).

For our main courses Assaf brought us hraime and a dish of artichokes and peas.

Hraime is the spicy fish starter beloved of Sephardim and the alternative to gefilte fish. This version was a very spicy “burger” made from tofu in a rich tomato sauce. The chef had cleverly added some seaweed for a fishy flavor to give the illusion that real fish had been used in the dish (NIS 52).

The artichoke hearts could have been of the frozen variety, but the dish with the peas was also well flavored and tasty.

The place has a well-stocked bar, but as Assaf brought us a large jug of iced water, it seemed churlish to ask for anything else.

We ended this interesting meal with chocolate crunch cake (NIS 30) and Indian Bhagsu cake made from caramel, chocolate and crushed biscuits (NIS 32). Both were excellent.

On Friday, between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Assaf serves up a very popular and varied brunch.

My son summed up the meal very well when he described it as “a good balance between the healthy and the yummy.”

J17 Vegan Home Kitchen17 Yirmeyahu StreetTel AvivTel: (03) 944-2773Open: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.