After hearing so much praise of Ayana, a 100% vegan restaurant in Israel (in Petach Tikva), I couldn’t wait to to land in Israel to try it! I went there twice because my tummy doesn’t have the capacity to accommodate in one go, all the foods I wanted to show you here on this blog post.  I dined with my mum the first time and the second time I went with Jon.

What I was most excited about, apart from being giddy knowing I’ll be eating amazing food, was the welcoming atmosphere and the hospitality and kindness we received from the staff, especially from Yehuda, the owner of this gem.  Since I was eager to ask him a dozen questions about the founding of Ayana and what’s made it so successful in such a short amount of time, the nosy parker that I am, I used my charm to make it clear I was interested in talking and then we sat down for a fun chat together. Only after we’d been fed of course!

Find Ayana on Happy Cow

Chatting With Yehuda

yehuda and I ayana veganoga

 Photo by Hagar Edry (mummy)

What is Ayana? What’s the meaning of the name and why did you choose it?

The origins of the name can be found in several cultures; Ethiopian, native American and Hindu. It means ‘a beautiful flower’, ‘eternal blossom’ and ‘innocence’ and the restaurant is named after my eldest daughter.

When was the restaurant founded?

November 2015

How did you come up with the idea of creating Ayana?

I come from a background of 15 years of experience in the restaurant business and a few years ago I wanted to combine my values and my actions in my business. I had been helping a friend promote his business by offering a few of the vegan recipes I’d created inspired by Gali Lupo Altaratz. There I met my now-wife and my eldest daughter. We realised then and there that we’d get married and I promised to open a restaurant named after her.

That’s how the idea for Ayana came to pass. Ayana is the manifestation of a vision I had where the work we do doesn’t harm other beings. And feeding ourselves on plant-based foods, that aren’t the result of suffering and pain also resonates on a spiritual level.

Wow! It seems like you’ve really built an empire here!

(Yehuda smiles. Well… smiles even wider because he’s in a constant state of smiling). Thanks! But this place is what it is thanks to you, the people who come here and believe in us and in the path we’ve chosen.

Do you also offer catering services?

There’s a delivery service Sun-Thur between 11:00 AM – 10:30 PM, Fri between 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM and Sat between 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM. We’re also offering small scale catering services for the time being and we’re working on expanding our services.

Where do you see Ayana in the future?

My wish is to expand the grounds in order to add possibilities for more activities such as plant-based cooking workshops. In general I’m hoping to develop Ayana into a vegan activity centre which will enable meeting new people and engaging in vegan activism. There’s plenty of parking, plenty of food- everything you need for such a centre! That’s how my vision is structured in my mind.

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There are a number of ingredients in the winning recipe that has made Ayana into an already extremely popular vegan hub. To name a few: affordable pricing, tasty home cooking style food, large portions, the friendly staff who are flexible to the visitors’ requests and free parking on the surrounding streets. There are amazing lunch deals (till as late as 5 PM!) that allow one to taste a dish from every section of the menu for a very worthwhile price. The cherry on the top is Yehuda of course, who puts his heart and his soul into Ayana.

I also met a sweet couple who told me that they’d traveled all the way from Haifa (quite a distance) because they’re crazy about Ayana’s food. They even invited me to take photos of two of their dessert dishes and taste them so that I’d be able to include them in this blog post! This positive and friendly atmosphere is very characteristic of Ayana and it makes it what it is.

Enough chit chat, let’s see what we ate!

Appetizers

Plant-based liver pâté and confiture d’oignons on bruschettas. [34 NIS]. To-die-for! The diners that is, not anyone else  😉

vegan liver pate ayana veganoga

Plant based taramasalata / salată de icre on bruschettas. [27 NIS] A dish I have never enjoyed in its non-vegan version but I was loving it at Ayana! Tasty, rich and creamy on those crispy garlic bruschettas.

ikra @ayana by veganoga 4

ikra @ayana by veganoga

Mains

Alfredo pasta in a creamy fungi sauce [43NIS]. Satisfying, creamy and dreamy.

alfredo pasta ayana veganoga

alfredo pasta with shavings ayana veganoga

‘Bangers & Mash’ – 4 chicken flavoured sausages with the house special gravy on a bed of mashed potatoes. [42 NIS]. This is one of the most popular dishes at Ayana!

sausages ayana veganoga

Pizza with your choice of toppings [44 NIS] with vegan cheese made at Ayana!

pizza ayana veganoga

Meatballs served with rice/mashed potatoes [47 NIS]. Another one of the most popular dishes. It’s rich in flavour and tastes like the finest home cooking!

meatballs ayana veganoga

Desserts

 ‘Snickers Dessert’ – a peanut butter desserts with chocolate and maple syrup (gluten-free). Have I already mentioned the words to-die-for?

snickers cake ayana veganoga

A 3-layer mousse cake with a chocolate cake base, vanilla cream and a chocolate mousse centre. It tastes as amazing as it looks!

tricolor mousse ayana veganoga

‘Lotus Ice Cream’ – A new dessert with a lotus biscuit crumble centre. I asked for hot chocolate fudge sauce on top and they were happy to accommodate my request. Wowness!

lotus ice cream ayana veganoga

lotus ice cream close up

Other dishes on Ayana’s menu that I plan on hooking up with in future: alfredo pizza, double cheeseburger, Bolognese pasta, moussaka!!!

Thank you so much to Ayana’s amazing staff. It was such fun!

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yuehuda and I frontal ayana veganoga