The humble sausage: a food so traditional, so warm and comforting. A simple package wrapped in a bun, topped with a little bit of sweet and tangy, the sausage is the ultimate street food. So how did it get such a bad reputation?
In Tel Aviv, a city set on scaling up even the folksiest of street fare, the sausage has reached a new standard of quality. In the White City, you can gorge on shrimp in a pita, wrapped in paper instead of on a plate (at Eyal Shani's fine North Abraxis restaurant) – so why not try a gourmet hot dog?
The sausage is also a favorite snack for late night partiers, and it goes excellently with beer. Luckily, there are no lack of options in Tel Aviv for a good sausage – check out the five best, as chosen by the experts at City Mouse Online and Haaretz travel.
Vitrina: Where quality counts
Vitrina opened its doors in early 2011, and quickly gained a name for itself as the elite hot dog joint in town. You can find fourteen kinds of sausages here (and one type of hamburger, for the unconverted), each more unique and enticing than the last. This is not a place for the indecisive diner, nor for the oil-phobic – some of the most loyal Vitrina customers come here solely for the top-notch French fries served alongside the dogs.
Our choice: What do you choose when there's so much to choose from? We went with the combination, the "deal on a plate", which cut our indecisiveness by some and gave us two plump sausages at a killer price.
Whether you decide to take yours on a soft bun (topped with caramelized onion and relish) or on a plate, don't miss out on these two flavors:
First off, the Tex Mex: a beef dog, dipped in chili con carne. Second, the Louisiana: beef dog in steak sauce, topped with Roquefort cheese. Every dog, a new surprise!
The price: NIS 28 in a bun (with two sides) or NIS 45 on a plate for two dogs and homemade French fries (really the best in town, a mix of sweet potato and regular, thin crisp, flavored with parsley and lemon zest.
The location: 54 Ibn Givrol, Tel Aviv
Salim and Danny: The well-kept secret
You can walk up and down Kedem Street in Jaffa and still not find Salim and Danny's un-marked hot-dog stand (also known as The Barberie)– but if you give up looking, you'll really be missing out on a special treat. So do yourself a favor, and ask a local for directions.
The décor here is simple, just one table and a couple of plastic chairs, but the meat is no less than gourmet. Take your sausage in a fat pita, standing at the counter - the fabulous ocean view just a stone's throw away is included in the price. They make amazing kebabs here, too, so get one to go for a snack later.
Our choice: The sausage. Danny pulls a long link straight out of the fridge, and cuts your dog to order. The meat is a mix of beef and lamb, strongly and pleasantly spiced. The dog is cut down the middle and one the sides, and then tossed on the grill until it's cooked exactly as you like. Add tahini, green salad, SOME AMBA and extra spice to your pita for a filling and tasty meal.
The price: NIS 24
The location: Kedem 60, Jaffa
Wine Bar: The charcuterie
This little wine bar, which opened not long ago, serves surprisingly simple yet delicious food, prepared by the young chef, Hadas Frankel. They somehow know here exactly when the mood calls for a sausage, and when the dish of honor emerges from the kitchen, the smell permeates the air and suddenly, everyone wants one.
The recipe for the Wine Bar's sausage was designed by Alan Talmon, one of the top charcuterie experts in Israel and an honored meat supplier for many a restaurant and bar in Tel Aviv (he's going to open his own little stall at the Tel Aviv Port market, soon).
Our choice: The bratwurst sausage with a side of potatoes. The sausage is nothing less than perfect – it's a hot dog made with passion. It's grilled on the plancha with a ton of butter and served with slow-cooked stew of cabbage and bacon, as well as a heap of crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside potatoes, for the ultimate winter flavor.
The price: NIS 51 for one sausage, NIS 67 for two
The location: Nachlat Binyamin 36, Tel Aviv
Adora: The surprise
Avi Biton's Adora restaurant is already a veteran eatery in this city, offering a premier culinary experience without ripping a hole in your pocket. Adora is a Mediterranean bistro in every sense of style, so it's always a surprise to find delights here like Moroccan cigars next to a Coquille St. Jacque. The sausage, which most would agree is probably the spiciest in town, is also one of the best items on the menu.
Our choice: The Moroccan sauage. Veal mixed with pork, infused with strong Moroccan spices. The meat is coarsely ground, with none of the pasty texture you find in so many hot-dogs around town, and the deep spices burst out in every bite. Served alongside smoked kraut and velvety mashed potatoes, this meal is irresistible.The bad news: they only serve this on the afternoon menu.
The price: NIS 65 on the afternoon meal special, along with a first course.
The location: Ben Yehuda 226, Tel Aviv
Porter and Sons: The foreigner
The beer lovers in this city will claim, every chance they get, that their fermented beverage pairs much better with food than does wine. At Porter and Sons, you can find 50 brews on tap and another 80 or so bottled varieties, next to some serious meat dishes. The beet, the food and the décor here makes a diner feel like he stepped out of the humid Tel Aviv air, and into foggy London, or an old-time American diner, or a little neighborhood joint in Eastern Europe. So if you come here on a cold winter's night, you really have no choice but to order the house specials and pretend you're sitting in Prague.
Our choice: The house sausage. If ever a dish was created for beer, it has to be this sausage. As you sip your beer, the waiter will bring you a large white platter, stacked with three fat sausages (330g total), each with a different flavor: the first is gentle, a mix of pork, saint mor cheese and coriander seeds; the second is a little more dominant, a little spicier, with chipotle pepper mixed into the beed; and the third is a classic German frankfurter, a combination of beef and pork with fried onion, that gives it just the right sweetness. Take your sausages on top of the house stew of white bean with bacon and root vegetables. A little tip: seat yourself on one of the couches, because it's easy to fall asleep after a meal like this.
The price: NIS 69 on the afternoon special, along with a first course
The location: 14 Ha'arbaa Street, Tel Aviv
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