'Mikimaya': Another Israeli claim to fame - review

Vegans in Israel have a large choice of good places at which to eat. For Netanya residents, we have a marvelous vegan restaurant almost on our doorstep in the shape of Mikimaya, in Moshav Tzur Moshe.

 Mikimaya (photo credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)
(photo credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)

Did you know that Israel is now the vegan capital of the world, with more people eating vegan per capita than any other nation?

The reasons for this are not at all clear, but the hypotheses continue to be put forward: it’s an extension of kashrut and concern for animal welfare; it’s a reaction to all that chicken soup; it’s healthier, cheaper, more ethical.

Whatever the reason, vegans in Israel have a large choice of good places at which to eat, from the basic to the truly elegant.

Most are in Tel Aviv, but you don’t have to travel that far. For Netanya residents, like us, we have a marvelous vegan restaurant almost on our doorstep in the shape of Mikimaya, in Moshav Tzur Moshe.

As my usual companion was busy working, I was accompanied by my son David, who has been vegan for many years for the last reason listed.

 Mikimaya (credit: DAVID DEUTSCH) Mikimaya (credit: DAVID DEUTSCH)

Miki and Maya: The Israeli couple who run the vegan restaurant Mikimaya

Miki and Maya, who own and run the restaurant, are also a couple raising two children, a boy and a girl, from the same donor. They met through their work – Miki used to be a singer; Maya worked the bar at various functions. Today they live as a family in the moshav and work until four when they close up and go home to their children.

We visited one bright sunny day recently, and sat in the cheerful little restaurant, enjoying the friendly ambience.

Our meal began with a shared dish of stuffed mushrooms (NIS 42). They were served on a bed of leaves, including my favorite, rocket (arugula). The filling was a creamy sauce with pine nuts, almonds and a sesame seed crusty topping. Quite a delicacy and a great start to our meal.

The first main dish to appear was “Sova.” This was a tasty concoction of Japanese buckwheat thin noodles, mixed with roasted cauliflower, sliced scallions and nuts. The noodles were nicely al dente, and the dish was topped with an Asiatic peanut sauce. There was so much left from the very generous helping that my son was able to take half home for another meal (NIS 70).

I chose a “shwarma,” and this was very good. The pieces of soya, masquerading as meat, were indistinguishable from the real thing. Plenty of fried onion clearly added to the flavor. The green sauce on the side was a bit oversharp, even for my jaded palate (NIS 60).

I drank a glass of very good Cabernet Sauvignon from Arad’s Midbar Winery (NIS 28), served at the right temperature, and David made do with nature’s wine (H2O), as he was driving.

Neither of us really felt like a dessert, but duty calls, and we shared an excellent piece of “cheese” cake made from cashew nuts in a good caramel sauce.

Although vegan, the restaurant was always under kashrut supervision, and the owners are working hard to find a replacement for the previous rabbi, who left.

“We do a lot of events, and for those we have to have supervision,” they say.

We left Mikimaya with full stomachs and a warm feeling of having partaken of a very special meal.

Mikimaya16 Ha’arava StreetTzur MosheTel: (09) 740-4140Sun.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.