The Roast of the Town: Tel Aviv's New Best Shawarma

An unassuming meat bar that recently opened near Rabin Square turns out to serve some of the best shawarma you've ever had.

Eran Laor
Eran Laor
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Eran Laor
Eran Laor

A few months ago, I passed by a new shawarma place opposite Tel Aviv's Rabin Square and resolved to check it out sometime. As it turned out, I never got the chance. The place closed down within a month – record time even for Tel Aviv. The odds were always against it, located just 50 meters from the popular and crowded shawarma destination Dabush.

Then, two weeks ago, a restaurant called Ha'itliz opened at the same location. Based on its name, which translates as "The Butcher," I figured it would be just another meat bar, serving deli sandwiches with various kinds of spreads. As it turns out, Ha'itliz roasts various cuts of meat a la plancha, or grilled on a metal plate, and the selection is more extensive than at most other places.

On my first visit, my gaze was immediately drawn to a doner, or vertical spit, roasting deep brown, juicy meat in the corner of the restaurant. Noticing my curiosity, the young (and hunky) chef asked, “Do you eat kosher? Because if you don’t, you have to try this.” After I assured him I was up for it, he cut several thin slices of lamb meat off the spit and placed them, along with pine and pistachio nuts, into a hot piece of Moroccan frena bread (by now a staple of Tel Aviv street food). When I asked him what was unkosher about the dish, he explained that the spit was soaked in milk. That got my imagination going.

But let's set my fantasies aside and get down to business. You must have the doner meat at Ha’itliz. You must. Have it for lunch today. Don't wait. As of now, it's the best shawarma in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Yes, it's better than Shawarma Bino (the shawarma I liked best until I stepped into Ha’atliz). You know what? It’s even better than the best-known shawarma places in Haifa. Words can hardly do justice to its wonderful taste. The tender, juicy meat, with only a bit of excellent spicing, goes perfectly with the nuts, and is complemented by all the other ingredients on offer – including peppers, pickled lemon, top-notch amba sauce and pickled onion – even though they aren’t really necessary.

A portion of doner meat in a frena costs NIS 36 at Ha’itliz. True, it’s not very big and it’s not cheap, but there are quite a few shawarmas out there that cost more and are not nearly as good. Ha'itliz is the real deal. It's here to stay, and not just to hang around, but to become an enormous hit. As the chef offered slices of the the meat to customers and passersby, he half-apologetically explained that the restaurant was still in its trial run. Just think what it'll taste like by the time you get there.

Ha’itliz, 8 Malchei Yisrael Street, Tel Aviv

The restaurant.Credit: Oren Ziv
The sandwich.Credit: Oren Ziv

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott