Zakaim, 98 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv

by Sarit Goffen | 05.02.14

Zakaim is a vegan restaurant, established a year and a half ago by the three siblings of the Zakaim family: Hila (the eldest), Hani (the middle-child) and Harel (the youngest), who also serves as the restaurant’s chef. Before starting the family business, Harel worked in many well-known, decidedly non-vegan restaurants such as North-abraxas, Port-Said, Ha’Mazon, Hudson meat and Rafael.

Harel’s affair with cooking began at his mother’s kitchen. For years she wouldn’t let him help her and he would watch her cook. It was during a backpacking trip to Australia, after his army service that he found himself working as a dishwasher in a restaurant, slowly rising to a prominent position in the kitchen. “There I found the thing I wanted to do. It was an open kitchen and I could see the feedback of the diners as they tasted the dishes I made for them. I was in heaven – realizing someone enjoys eating what I’ve made for them”.

But the road to a restaurant, and a vegan one at that, was long. It was Hani the middle sister, which put him on the track to Vegetarianism; she even travelled to Berlin to study, as the city is considered a vegan mecca.

“Until then, I was a complete carnivore and owned an event company with my elder sister – Hila. We went shopping for meat, for one of the events, and after that trip to the butcher shop, I decided it would be the last time I bought meat”.

That was the seed of a long journey towards veganism and the decision of the three siblings to collaborate and open a vegan restaurant, which would also appeal to a none-vegan crowed.

“It was important to us to open a place that will dispute the notion that veganism equals Asceticism, to open a place with a happy, colorful and fun atmosphere. Today, about 50% of our clientele is not vegan and we consider this a success.

Due to the limited selection of materials, the food in Zakaim relies on an accurate cooking, fresh materials and quality ingredients. “The idea is that if we use quality material, we hardly need to process it”. The menu is built around fresh, un-processed material and the restaurant keeps fresh vegetables, cereals and Legumes.

Zakaim is also an eco-friendly restaurant and everything in the restaurant, including the furniture, is recycled or second hand. This makes the restaurant a celebration of eclectic and vintage décor.

98 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv, 03 -6581501, Facebook

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