Eating has always been the pinnacle of enjoyment for Dylan Stein. Eating good food is an essential and indispensable part of Dylan's life. Living as a student, unfortunately, prevented his culinary adventures from being as lavish as he would have hoped and he had to ask himself, " How can I stretch each dollar? He finds himself again in Tel Aviv asking himself the same question and he's finding the places to eat that will make his stomach AND wallet happy... The Hungry Canadian is happy to share these thrifty and delicious finds with us... Welcome to "Cheap Eats Tel Aviv"
Terribly hungry after a long day in the office I was wandering in the Florentine district and stumbled upon perhaps the best local eatery so far in eratz yiseral.
Located on number two Vital Street I was drawn in by warm yellow walls decorated with a giant peppershaker and olive oil mural.
Walking into Shmaya I immediately wanted to raise my arms and declare, “win.” My nostrils where greeted with delicious aromas and my eyes perceived a large open stove top covered in scrumptious looking dishes. Solidifying the feeling that I had found someplace good a smiling miniature Venus de Milo greeted me when I walked into the washroom.
No English menu was available but one of the co-owners helpfully explained the situation: you can choose either a 28 shek plate and get one meat choice or a 38 shek plate and get two meat choices. Both include a starter of hummus and pita.
The menu stays roughly the same every day. There is a variation of chicken, fish or beef selection which is added to a bed of veggies and rice. The owners of this restaurant hail from a family of 9 children and all the recipes were passed down from their mother.
The most popular dish today was chicken, slow roasted with dates and anise however the lunch crowed, when Shmaya is most bumpin, had quickly gobbled this up.
I went with the two choice plate with meat balls and musaka with green beans, eggplant, sweet potatoes, peas, beets and rice. The home-cooked goodness permeated every bite.
Even though I was as hungry as Samson after a workout I could not get through this whole plate and because it was the end of the day my take-away container was topped up with extra meatballs and veggies (win).
Shmaya encapsulates the connection between Judaism and food and gives one the sense that they are getting a dose of Israeli family love.
Do not sleep on this, get up and go.
Chew cheaply and smile on.