THEY SAY TELL ME WHERE YOUR RICH EAT AND DINE & I WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR SOCIETY.
So today, I'd like to introduce all travellers to Israel to the Hummus some of the upper 1% of Israel's wealthiest citizens eat near their homes in the Schuster shopping center in Ramat Aviv Gimmel. Tel Aviv's version of Manhattan's upper east side.
Back in the day there was a famous Israeli TV show called by the same name - Ramat Aviv Gimmel - depicting the lives of the rich and famous living in this neighborhood.
It was a huge hit in Israel and made this area even more mythical and expensive.
Back then, it made the local shopping center famous and there was always visitors from around the country sitting in one of the many coffee shops there and star gazing at the many celebrities, famous politicians, artists, and CEO's doing business lunches and meetings there.
Some claim one can even see Quentin Tarantino around the neighborhood. It is a possibility as it's already well known that Tarantino moved to Israel and was living in Tel Aviv. So who knows...
But unlike Manhattan or anywhere else in the world - where it's easy to identify the upscale from the down and trodden neighborhoods - just by the look of the local shopping mall - in Israel, just like in Israel - even in the most expensive neighborhoods - the local shopping center is a weird mix of expensive stores surrounded by Rot, Rust, and Mould .
It's a dilapidated shopping mall that looks more ghetto than Gucci.
That is Israel in a nutshell - a country where chaos and ugliness is accepted and everyone's fine overlooking the surrounding and focusing only at the reality they'd like to see .
Residents pay anywhere from $1,000,000 for small apartments to over $10 Million for a home nearbye - and yet accept this cockroach infested dilapidated shopping center under their homes.
Tel Aviv was named as one of the most expensive cities in the world - some say the most expensive and yet as crazy as the pricing of everything is - one gets so little for what one pays - be it horrendous decor, awful service, and overall subpar standards of consumerism.
Is it just me or have others experienced that too in Israel and especially in Tel Aviv? Drop a comment if you too feel there's a problem with this Israeli horrid concept of getting so little for what you pay for...
I believe only by enough tourists and travellers finally saying enough is enough maybe things could start to change cause change is needed.
Israelis can't ask for a premium while giving their customers a subpar quality in return.
But philosophy aside- let's get back to Hummus.
Even in this grungy yet expensive shopping center - In Gimmel, as it's called by the locals - there is some of the best Hummus in Tel Aviv as is expected in Tel Aviv's shopping center for the rich and famous.
The Northern part of Tel Aviv is called Ramat Aviv. Gimmel is the third letter in the Israeli alphabet and Ramat Aviv Gimmel represents the third addition to this neighborhood - in essence it was perhaps the last and newest part of the city when it was built and so allowed new and modern high rises while the rest of the city had only older homes.
Today that is changing as new and even more modern high rises are being built all over the city - but the myth of Ramat Aviv Gimmel as a place of luxury and wealth still attracts a certain kind of residents to the neighborhood.
Ramat Aviv Gimmel - for tourists wanting to visit it - is north of the older neighborhoods of Ramat Aviv which are home to Israel's largest university - Tel Aviv U , as well as to many museums that are beloved by tourists like The ANU museum of Jewish People, The Steinhardt museum of natural history, the Rabin Israeli Museum and one of Tel Aviv's largest museums - the museum of Eretz Israel .
For tourists who are on their second or third visit to Israel - and they're planning a trip to the university or one of the many museums nearbye , Gimmel shopping center - could be a wonderful break to eat and get a sense of the weirdness of Israel from a less touristy point of view.
There are a lot of coffee shops, high end bakeries and other food options for the locals. So Hummus might not be the first thought on the minds of tourists visiting this area.
They usually go into one of the nicer ( if you can call it such) restaurants, pizzerias, French bakeries etc...
But the locals... they love their hummus as can be seen by the packed Hummus joints.
There are 3 places I'd like to recommend but things are extremely fluid in this shopping center. Rent is extremely high and many stores open and close just as fast including most of the restuarants there, so things might change also in the Hummus scene there from the time you read this to the time you actually visit this shopping center.
The three Hummus joints I'd like to recommend in Shuster shopping center - or Gimmel shopping center - as some call it - are :
Ask different residents and they'll swear only one of them is great and the others suck.
As someone who's eaten at all of these joints many times, I can attest they're all really good, clean and recommended.
Mifgash Gimmel is the oldest and has been there for years. It's run by a few brothers that all work there diligently Some of the brothers are religious - so the place is perhaps the one that feels the most Kosher which it is. It's probably the most successful of the three Hummus restaurants, as it's the oldest so the locals know and love it .
During lunch it's packed also with kids after school, who's parents maybe sent them there to buy lunch when the parents didn't feel like cooking. It's kid friendly and has a lot of options for kids.
The owners are always on premise joking with the adults and kids and letting everyone test new dishes they've made in the store.
The joint has a 1970's feel to it - like the old Hummus joints of past.
But don't let the decor fool you - this is a very high end food place run in the best of ways.
During the busy hours - there's always huge lines - but no matter how busy the place is - you'll get your food in probably under 10 minutes.
The Falafel is always fresh and people love their Shawarma.
They also have a large assortment of plastic boxes with homemade food to take home with popular dishes like Schnitzel ( Fried Chicken in bread crumbs) , Rice with lentils etc...
On Fridays, before the Sabbath kicks in, many residents rush to that place to buy fresh food for their family's Shabbat dinner.
They claim to make all the dishes in their restaurant. I've tasted a lot of their dishes and they do taste fresh and have a homemade taste to it - not like a generic supermarket made dish made in a factory.
The Hummus is very good. I won't stay outstanding but it's very very good. Their Falafel on the other hand is outstanding. One of the best in Tel Aviv. Also, their Pita Bread is outstanding - maybe the best of the three restaurant joints in the Gimmel shopping mall and I've seen many residents sometimes just buy the pitas there.
Their falafel in a pita is always super packed and you'll probably have leftovers to take home. Another thing I love about their falafel is that it's ALWAYS and I do mean always fresh. Even if you come in the hours between lunch and dinner when the place is relatively empty - they'll probably make you some fresh Falafel balls just for your pita so it'll be fresh and hot. I guess that's why they've managed to survive in this cutthroat shopping center where so many hundreds of small business owners came and went not figuring out how to cater to the high net residents of this neighborhood - These brothers treat every customer like a king regardless how they come dressed.
Mifgash Gimmel is near the supermarket and has seating.
Caspi according to their website was intended to be a local Hummus restaurant. It opened it's first restaurant in 2011 by Chef Yaniv Caspi.
Since then they became a chain and now have 13 Hummus restaurants in Israel aiming to maintain a local vibe to their restaurants. According to some websites it's operated both by the Caspi family as well as by the Cafe Cafe group - which is a national chain of coffee shops similar to Coffeebean or Starbucks in the US.
If Cafe Cafe are still a partial owner it could mean there's a lot of money behind this chain as it's affiliated with a larger Israeli food corporation.
As Caspi have become a Hummus brand - it was only fitting they also open up a local Hummus restaurant in Ramat Aviv Gimmel .
Of the three excellent Hummus restaurants in the Gimmel shopping center - it is my number 3 option. While I like it a bit less - I can't say it's not great hummus. It's still very high end hummus and if this was the only Hummus joint in this shopping mall I'd still highly recommend it - but in my personal opinion it's a bit less than the other two hummus restaurants.
That said - many local residents swear by this restaurant and love it and buy only there a lot of Hummus for their home and lots of locals are always sitting there.
Of the three hummus restaurants - this one has a bit more of an upscale feel. Not sure why. All three still feel more like a small local joint than a full restaurant - but Caspi did make a bit more effort to make their place look a tad nicer.
Caspi is trying to bring higher end Hummus to the masses via franchising so that's an interesting venture that could change the Hummus scene in Israel.
I guess a lot of people who've visited their other locations - feel more comfortable going back to the familiar taste of Caspi.
CASPI's Hebrew only website: https://www.kaspishuk.co.il/about
TZIPORA GRILL MARKET
Abba Ahimeir Street 29 Tel Aviv
Tzipora is one of the newer restaurants in the Gimmel shopping center so it's hard to say if they'll have any staying power.
According to their website - they are also a chain with 6 restaurants across the country.
Their other branches have nicer seating but Tzipora has glass casing so it'll probably be a bit warmer to sit there in winter.
I personally love their Hummus the most in this shopping center so I do hope they will succeed and stay as I do believe 3 similar and competing restaurants help all three stay relevant and supply the best customer service and give the most to their clients.
Tzipora based on research online is mostly focused on their Grill menu. They have a lot of options for meat lovers.
It seems they have deals with all the major local delivery services so I guess an important part of their business model is delivering food to the residents who don't feel like climbing down from their ivory towers and eat at the disgusting shopping center downstairs.
While they seem to be focused on meat - I've tried a bunch of their non meat items and I can attest it's all very high end.
All three Hummus joints are high end. Taste is subjective so I guess it's best to taste all three and make your own opinion. Share your thoughts if you've ever eaten in one of these.
In a random polling of my family - I loved Tzipora's Hummus the most. I think it's in a league of it's own. My sister and her family love Caspi the most and my mother and father swear that Mifgash Gimmel has the best falafel in Tel Aviv and are extremely loyal to it and so are also byassed about it's Hummus. So here you have it - even in one family - the reviews are mixed and different family members are loyal to different restaurants in the same shopping center.
MIFGASH GIMMEL: 8.5
Best Falafel in Ramat Aviv
Also, Best Pita bread
And Best Food for home takeout especially to feed kids.
Best Hummus in Ramat Aviv Gimmel
High end hummus chain with high end hummus that's destined to grow.
Best in person seating in Ramat Aviv Gimmel if you want to sit on site and eat in a more restaurant feel.
THEY SAY TELL ME WHERE YOUR RICH EAT AND DINE & I WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR SOCIETY.
A Wine Bar in Ramat Aviv Gimmel Schuster Center
Ramat Aviv Gimmel's Schuster center is Israel in a nut shell.
High end Wine Bars, French bakeries and expensive fashion stores docked amidst a run down shopping mall that looks third wall at best.
New generations of kids from the top 1% of society run around in this shopping mall and grow up learning to not look at their surrounding and focus only on the here and now and only on the little beauty tucked away amidst the ugliness all around.
A society cannot exist for long - if they accept ugliness as a way of life.
A society cannot exist for long if they accept that corruption is so deep that even the 1 percenters have a shopping mall they attend to that looks so awful and dilapidated and no one stands up against it. Why don't the residents boycott this locale? Why doesn't the city force the shopping center to fix this eye sore?
A society cannot exist for long with generation after generation of people living without caring about anything going on in the streets under their homes.
A society cannot exist for long if the residents only care about what they'd like to buy next but don't care about the place that is their neighborhood, their childs growing up environment, their meeting grounds with their friends, neighbors, families.
And when you see that this is the shopping center of the 1% - this is the shopping center of the influencers, the thought leaders, the celebrities, the CEO's, the doctors, lawyers, politicisans and ome of the most powerful people in Israel you ask yourself - what about the other 99% - How do they live? What do they accept as normalcy?
You realize there's a problem under the surface of Israel that will probably eventually explode to the surface and who knows it's ramifications. Stay tuned.