When you’re craving the fresh, zingy, spiced flavors of the Middle East, South Florida may not immediately jump to mind… but to overlook Miami’s increasingly buzzing Israeli food scene would be an error. Israel’s food, much like its culture, is multilayered, diverse and inextricably linked to its geographical neighbors; perhaps that’s why a multicultural melting pot of a city like Miami just gets it.
Here’s our shortlist of seven delicious Israeli food spots well worth a visit in the 305:
Since opening in Downtown’s historic Seybold Building in 2020, Motek has fast become Miami’s sweetheart — and it’s not hard to see why. The food quality shines bright, with a flavor-packed menu featuring spiced Moroccan fish, award-winning arayes burgers, and crispy harissa-honey glazed cauliflower, yet the atmosphere remains refreshingly informal.
Fancy a l’chaim — or three — with your meal? Enjoy signature cocktails at Motek’s Aventura Mall or Coral Gables locations, or BYOB in Downtown (no corkage fee!). Note: This restaurant serves Glatt kosher meat but is not certified kosher.
Abbalé Tel Avivian Kitchen
Under a canopy of greenery in the heart of Miami Beach you’ll find Abbalé — a casual-chic dine-in spot created by two “abbas” (hospitality entrepreneur Omer Horev and James Beard-nominated chef Samuel Gornstein).
Diners feast on fresh, inventive salatim (a collection of salads and dips that commonly begin an Israeli meal), meat and fish cooked “al ha’esh” (on an open flame), spiked limonana cocktails and inventive desserts featuring whipped labneh and feta-caramel sauce. Shabbat dinner is served family-style with a prix fixe menu on Friday nights.
An Israeli breakfast lover’s paradise, Hadekel offers great coffee, shakshuka, bourekas and more. Their aptly-named “Morning in the Shuk” sharing platters provide a taste of the beloved Israeli hotel buffet experience, with fresh dips galore.
Hadekel gets around a lack of meat by serving inventive pescatarian alternatives, including salmon shawarma and crispy fish schnitzel on homemade challah rolls (only on Fridays). Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some of their pre-packaged jams and salads on your way out. This restaurant is kosher and dairy.
Aroma Espresso Bar
Call us Birthright-basic, but this list just wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the iconic Israeli coffee shop chain, Aroma Espresso Bar, which has three locations throughout Miami: Miami Gardens, Miami Beach and Downtown.
This local Jerusalem favorite turned international phenomenon serves up fresh brunch favorites alongside its classic blended iced coffees — and how can we forget those branded chocolate squares, so often discovered at the bottom of a purse!
Our advice? Let the grilled halloumi salad, Power Breakfast, and iced limonana take you back to your semester abroad, sneaking kisses on the tayelet (beachside promenade) with a tanned “gever” named Uri (probably).
Helmed by Sephardic Executive Chef Yaniv Cohen, AKA “The Spice Detective,” Jaffa Restaurant and Wine Bar explores the best of Middle Eastern flavors with complex tagines, mixed grills to share and delicious mezze dishes.
With stunning blue and yellow-gold decor inspired by its vibrant namesake city, Jaffa’s Hallandale flagship is a treat for both the eyes and the palette. Seeking a more casual experience? Its food court outpost inside the Mia Market (in Miami’s buzzing Design District) is perfect for people-watching. This restaurant serves glatt kosher meat and is dairy-free, but not certified kosher.
Masterchef Israel winner and award-winning chef, Tom Aviv’s, first stateside venture is located in idyllic Upper Buena Vista, where guests sit outdoors on reclaimed synagogue benches at handcrafted terrazzo-top tables.
Locally-sourced ingredients make up Branja’s inventive yet-familiar menu, with signatures including Aviv’s take on ceviche: “Fish and Bread,” slow-cooked krouv (cabbage), Thai-inspired “TukTuk Kebab,” and halva crack pie.
Signature cocktails incorporating za’atar-infused tequila and raisin-infused Arak give a nod to Tel Aviv nights. Note: This restaurant serves Glatt kosher meat but is not certified kosher.
Formerly Levy’s Kosher of Hollywood, this much-loved family-owned eatery has been serving up fuss-free Middle Eastern fare since 2001. Chicken and lamb shawarma rotates slowly on the spit, best enjoyed with hearty helpings of fresh salads and Levy’s signature rice and beans.
Since moving to Waterways in 2020, Levy’s has added nightly live music and outdoor patio seating to its culinary offering, making for an atmospheric dining experience.
Top tip? Don’t leave without picking up a mammoth-sized piece of their homemade chocolate babka to go — trust us, no one will believe you when you tell them it’s pareve. This restaurant is kosher.