Best New Israeli/Middle Eastern Restaurants In NYC

Here are the nominees for the Forward Food Choice Award for best new Israeli/Middle Eastern restaurant. Learn more about the awards and vote for your favorites here.

Bar Bolonat

The tireless Einat Admony hasn’t always had an easy ride — Combina, her tapas joint, shuttered fast — but she’s found her groove with Bar Bolonat, where Mediterranean flavors accent unpretentious, completely modern plates — think brisket with chermoula, shrimp in Yemenite curry or sensational merguez kebabs. An acrobat of high-low cooking, Admony also dishes up an unforgettable Jerusalem bagel, simply presented with zaatar and olive oil, that sets the standard for bread courses in NYC.

611 Hudson St., Manhattan, 212-390-1545 facebook.com/barbolonat/?ref=br_rs

Bustan

Tuvia Feldman’s Upper West Side spot charms with a straight-up Mediterranean menu — no fusion experiments here, just delicious stalwarts like grilled cauliflower, beef kofta and the delicate stuffed pastry called Moroccan cigars. The wheel does not get reinvented, but that’s not Bustan’s point; it’s a chance to savor comfort food produced by a careful kitchen that knows its way around seasonings and sauces — the anise honey on the cauliflower, say, or pomegranate sauce on beef kofta. The Turkish sundae, with shredded halvah and crisped rice, is a treat.

487 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan, 212-595-5050 bustannyc.com

Dizengoff

For New Yorkers, a rare case of restaurant envy finally ended when superchef Michael Solomonov opened a branch of his Philly hummusiya in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market last May. An offshoot of Solomonov’s revered Zahav, Dizengoff slings superb hummus and a rotating selection of salatim, delicious Israeli salads. They work beautifully on pita made in a wood-burning oven in-house. It’s casual, fairly priced, and addictive - just ask us.

75 Ninth Ave., Manhattan, 646-833-7097 Dizengoff

Nur

We refuse to believe there’s just one Meir Adoni. How does he run this revelatory new Israeli restaurant in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood, and still oversee the acclaimed Blue Sky and Lumina in Tel Aviv? Adoni has said that he’s “let loose” at Nur; the result is wild plates like date doughnuts with smoked trout, smoked eggplant carpaccio with dates, and an insane foie gras “parfait” with rose water gelee and challah toasts. Desserts crank it up further — the “Hills of Jerusalem” mashes up chocolate, halvah, crispy artichokes, pistachio cream and smoked yogurt ice cream. Whew.

34 E. 20th St., Manhattan, 212-505-3420 nurnyc.comhttp://www.nurnyc.com

Timna

USA Today’s surprise “best new restaurant” in 2015, Timna’s still going strong, with Chef Nir Mesika sharing a very personal vision of Middle Eastern cuisine. On the plate, that might translate as tuna “sashimi” with tzatziki, Bedouin octopus with hummus and eggplant or Moroccan duck breast with farro stew. Dessert might be his grandmother’s basbousa semolina cake with vanilla ice cream and shredded halvah. Mesika’s also not shy about using his menu to make statements; one cocktail’s called “Peace In The Middle East”. His cooking’s a great start.

109 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, 646-964-5181 timna.nyc

Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor at the Forward.

This story "Best New Israeli Restaurants In NYC" was written by Michael Kaminer.

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