Great burger, skip the fries

Agadir opened a kosher branch in Jerusalem

Agadir (photo credit: TAMUZ RACHMAN)
(photo credit: TAMUZ RACHMAN)
Jerusalem has no shortage of burger restaurants. Most are casual places you might drop into on the way home from work, or to bring the kids on a hot summer day when you’re too sweaty to cook. You order, eat and are finished within a half-hour.
Agadir is not that type of restaurant. It starts with a choice of six unique cocktails, each for a reasonable 28 NIS. I tried the strawberry HP, a blend of rum, strawberries and lemonade, topped with fresh mint leaves. My companion (my 18-year-old son Netanel, who in an “only in Israel” employment situation, works as a bartender), was impressed with his Agadir Cup with vodka, lemon juice, pineapple, grapefruit nectar and bright red juju-berries.
Agadir opened three months ago in Cinema City, and is the second kosher version of this chain, after one in Bnei Brak. It took over the space that used to be a kosher branch of Moses Burger. The décor is sleek and modern, with black chairs and tables, and funky light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
“We have clients who have eaten at the non-kosher branches, and then come here and tell us ours is better,” owner Maurice Haziza, who is himself religious, told me. “We have the same menu, although of course no cheese on the burgers.”
He says he even avoids ingredients that are kosher, but look non-kosher, like vegan cheese or soy milk in coffee. The meat is delivered fresh every day from Adom Adom in the Golan Heights and ground in-house. The meat all has the “mahpoud” kosher certification, one of the strictest.
On a recent Monday evening, the restaurant was about two-thirds full, with a nice mix of families and young people. About half wore kippot, others had tattoos.
“Our doors are open to everybody – secular, religious, black, white, young, old,” Haziza, who speaks seven languages says. “We have people coming from all over the world, and I love that!”
His daughter Eden, who manages the restaurant, seemed to be everywhere at once. Our waitress Rina was friendly and knew the menu well. Service was excellent, not only at our table, where they knew we were writing a review, but at the other tables as well. I watched as both Rina and Eden stopped to chat with a father with two young sons, and make sure their order was to their liking.
Now for the food. We ordered meat cigars and spicy chicken wings as starters. The meat cigars were two thick cigars stuffed with lamb and beef, with a tehina dip. They were good, although not exceptional. The other appetizer, spicy chicken wings, was excellent. It was a large portion of deep-fried chicken wings with a hint of heat.
What about the burgers? At the entrance there is a large red neon sign saying, “one of the ten best burgers in the world.” I have no way to testify to the truth of that statement, but it is certainly one of the best burgers I’ve had.
At Rina’s suggestion, I ordered the special Black Angus burger (NIS 89), made from Angus beef from a black cow and topped with grilled tomato and onion. My companion ordered the Diana burger (69 NIS), a mixture of beef and lamb, with aioli, tomato and preserved lemon. Both 250-gram burgers were very, very good as they should be at this price.
The Black Angus burger came with a side dish. I chose the Agadir fries, and was unfortunately disappointed. The fries were supposed to be potato wedges but came from frozen chips and did not have much taste. The table next to us offered me one of their sweet potato chips, which were made fresh and were excellent.
We also tried the entrecote steak, a 330-gram steak with a bone, (139 NIS) which was also very good. It came with a side order of green beans which were delicious with a smoky flavor.
I hardly ever order dessert in meat restaurants, as pareve desserts usually aren’t worth the calories. But as I was with my son who has a sweet tooth, I let him choose. We shared a “fudge chocolate” with salty caramel and vanilla ice cream (NIS 39). It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, and quickly superseded my vow to have “just one bite to taste.”
There are also special business lunch deals, as well as late-night menus, perfect for a post-movie dinner.
Agadir Burger
Kosher Kashrut: Rabbanut and Mahpoud meat
Cinema City, Sderot Yitzhak Rabin 10
Phone: *5690
The writer was a guest of the restaurant