I had heard lots of praise regarding the vegan scene in Tel-Aviv, Israel’s vegan capital, but I hadn’t imagined just how vegan-friendly and accessible this city had become until I landed here for a visit a month ago. Not only do all the major café chains have entirely separate vegan menus, or menus rich with plant-based dishes clearly marked for easy identification, there’s also a promising and exponential growth in the number of vegan-friendly and fully plant-based restaurants, especially in Tel Aviv.
One prominent restaurant is Miss Kaplan, created and run by Ori Shavit, a famous food critic; and the talented chef, Shirel Berger, whose culinary signature carries worldwide influences straight from New York city.
Their restaurant can be found in central Tel-Aviv, Kaplan St. 18 on the 2nd floor located in an intimate setting in the modeled remains of the old Templer structures in Sarona Center.
I showed up on a Saturday at noon, with a party of four hungry peeps including myself, to celebrate my 31st birthday. I reserved us a table the night before, which was very lucky–I highly recommend reserving seats at least two days in advance if you want to be sure of securing a table.
Our experience was outstanding. We tried several different dishes. Let me give you a taste of the new summer menu at Miss Kaplan.
This was my favourite dish on the menu. Oyster mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke purée and macadamia nut crumble. I was a little skeptical about the naming of this dish after scallops, but after the first bite I was surprised to find out that it did indeed resembled a delicious shell-fishy flavour.
Smoked Carrot Sausage
Another phenomenal dish, which people from all over the country have especially come to taste. Brushed in Jack Daniels, smoked in apple wood flakes, served in a steamed bun with pickled red onions, this unique preparation of the carrot along with the condiments and delicious bun its served in, changes the flavour of the carrot into something entirely new. Biting into this masterpiece with your eyes closed would leave you guessing what type of smoked sausage you’re tasting.
Crispy fingerling potatoes with espresso flavoured aioli sauce, smoked beets and beet ketchup. This was another one of my favourites and it ended too fast! You must eat this one with your fingers to do yourselves justice. You will be licking your fingers mind you!
Black Kale Salad
If you hate kale, you ought to try this dish! Yes, that wasn’t a typo. This dish is a totally different take on kale from anything I’ve ever tasted before. Accompanied by smoked red beans, garlic bread croutons, Cava vinaigrette topped with shavings of macadamia nuts.
Toasted Corn Bread
They had me at corn bread! Corn bread adds a hint of sweetness to the composition which makes it so worth while! Served along with white corn, green mango, charred tomato and jalapeño, smoked pistachios, Thai chili and lime.
Baby fennel confit, Tassos olives, watercress, sherry flavoured aioli sauce and red chili. The sherry aioli is what won me over here. Also, how finely sliced the potato carpaccio is, allows you to enjoy the rest of the flavours while the potato poses as a neutral supporter in the general blend of flavours.
There were two options for dessert and we–unsurprisingly–got them both.
Yum! If you’re a chocoholic, you’ll love this! It’s a vegan chocolate finger on top of vegan chocolate mousse, sprinkled with crumble and served with fresh nectarines.
This one’s for the banana + choco-holics. Banana bread with chocolate crumble and fresh bananas served in a pool of delicious and rich chocolate sauce. (Even the flower was edible!)
The restaurant’s recommendation is to dine with a ‘sharing’ strategy. That way, you can order a number of dishes, which will come out one at a time. The diners can all share that dish together and then continue on to the next dish. This is how we did it and it was very exciting! Another advantage is that you get to taste more.
A huge thanks to Shirel Berger, the chef, who is responsible for this dreamy goodness! (Photo taken inside the restaurant)
For a more extensive look at the menu click here.