One of the most outstanding Jewish food trends in recent years is the explosion of shakshuka–a North African dish of stewed tomatoes, garlic and onions with poached eggs, usually served with fresh pita or other bread for dipping. It’s an easy one-pan meal that really comes in handy when you’re in a time-crunch or are low on groceries. What’s more satisfying than creating a hearty meal out of canned tomatoes, garlic, and eggs?
In Israel, it’s commonly enjoyed at breakfast. With more and more Israeli chefs opening restaurants in NYC in recent years, shakshuka quickly became the “it” brunch food. You can find it in many Mediterranean and Israeli restaurants throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, now, but read below for the very best.
Jack’s Wife Freda, Soho, Manhattan
Named the “Best Breakfast in NYC” by Time Out, Jack’s Wife Freda is home to the buzzed-about “green shakshuka,” which is made with a base of tomatillos, green peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro. Its whole menu draws on the Ashkenazi and Israeli flavors that we can’t get enough of!
Miriam, Park Slope, Brooklyn
When you order shakshuka at Miriam, you’ll get not only this classic egg and tomato dish, but also a creamy side of hummus and pita. This sunny Park Slope eatery has been serving modern Israeli cuisine since 2005 – well before the hummus and shakshuka craze began. Also of note is its Mediterranean crispy dough, which is exactly what it sounds like: fried dough. You can’t go wrong with that!
Zizi Limona, South Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Zizi Limona’s shakshuka signature is the matbucha sauce, a Moroccan salad of roasted tomatoes and peppers. Israeli-born Chef Mesika tops his version with smoky, charred-to-the-max eggplant. It comes with their house-made pita, fresh out of the oven.
12 Chairs, Williamsburg, Brooklyn or SoHo, Manhattan
This cozy Williamsburg cafe (as in 12 chairs, cozy) serves up Russian and Israeli favorites ranging from borscht and blintzes to Yachnun (Yemenite rolled dough) and shakshuka. This version is cooked in a spicy Moroccan tomato sauce and topped with Bulgarian feta cheese, with a side of Israeli salad.
Balaboosta, SoHo, Manhattan
This legendary shakshuka is made by Israeli-born Chef Einat Admony, who was one of NYC’s first to serve it. She prepares her’s with a spicy tomato sauce and spinach, served alongside grilled sourdough.
Mimi’s Hummus, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn or Midtown, Manhattan
If you’ve never been to Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood before, here’s a great reason to go. Israeli-born chef Mimi Kitani makes hers with roasted tomatoes and a touch of cinnamon, topped with a wedge of roasted red onion.
Miss Ada, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
This Israeli owned spot with outdoor seating has the perfect ambiance for a relaxed shakshuka brunch with friends. The chef serves her dish with a generous serving of goat cheese topped with freshly torn parsley.
Yemen Cafe, Downtown Brooklyn or Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Yemen Cafe has been serving Yemenite cuisine in Brooklyn since 1986. It calls its dish shak-shooka, and according to Brooklyn Magazine, the eggs are scrambled, not poached. Across the street, don’t overlook Damascus Bakery’s falafel and baklava, and Sahadi’s grocery store!
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Rustic Table, Midtown, Manhattan
If you’re craving authentic Israeli shakshuka, Rustic Table is your spot. The cozy midtown restaurant serves a warm piece of pita to scoop up the eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and onions in the piping hot skillet. Spicy feta cheese is optional, and satisfactory dining experience is guaranteed.
Nur, Lower East Side, Manhattan
This vegetarian-friendly restaurant offers high-end, modern Middle Eastern dishes perfect for sharing with the whole table. Try their scrumptious shakshuka with eggplant, tahini, chickpeas, okra, spinach, and for an extra kick, calamari.
Mezetto, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Mezetto doesn’t serve your ordinary shakshuka. With beef kebab and chickpeas, this restaurant knows how to add pizzazz to a classic dish. Venture to the Lower East Side for a weekday Mediterranean night, or better yet, soak up a weekend bottomless brunch with their mouth-watering shakshuka.
Pronounced: AHSH-ken-AH-zee, Origin: Hebrew, Jews of Central and Eastern European origin.
Pronounced: seh-FAR-dik, Origin: Hebrew, describing Jews descending from the Jews of Spain.