Albi, 6 Olei Zion Street, Jaffaby Sarit Goffen | 18.06.14
My third station at the flea market is the authentic Greek restaurant Albi; situated in the heart of flea market. At the restaurant I’ve met the owners -Shalom Levy and Lior Dori- two childhood friends who grew up in the same neighborhood in Rishon LeZion.
Levy, 31, grew up in a Greek home where his childhood memories include his grandmother’s Fritas de Prasa and the merry tunes from Thessaloniki and Athens that drive you to both break into dance and break the dishware. His friend, Dori, 28, learned the ways of the restaurant world from his friend.
Together they’ve decided to pursue a dream, and a year ago this pursuit also became a journey of the heart as Albi means My heart in Arabic.
Their connection to the world the restaurant began a decade ago. Levy was working as a cook in the BBB burger franchise when he was promoted to managing the restaurant. Levy then decided to become a franchisee of the Rishon LeZion branch. As his “big brother”, Levy opened the doors of the restaurant world for his younger friend Dori and took him on as the restaurant’s manager. About a year ago the two felt fed up with the big franchise industry and decided to open the little restaurant they’ve always dreamed about – an authentic Greek restaurant.
The two were already familiar with the Greek cuisine from Levy’s home but decided to take a culinary tour in Thessaloniki and Athens. They visited the kitchen of large restaurants and small taverns, danced to the music, drank ouzo and learned the secrets of these kitchens. After returning to Israel they realised that the place most similar to the markets of Athens, is actually the entrance to the flea market in Jaffa. They’ve constructed a simple, unassuming authentic menu, one that does not process the raw material too much.
The two import the special souvlaki pita bread and three types of ouzo one cannot usually find in Israel. They use dishes brought from Greece and feature a menu that cater to the lovers of authentic Greek cuisine – one that does not go through the “Israeli filter”.
Every Friday, Dori and Levy bring professional dancers to the restaurant to attract the attention of passersby and entertain the diners.