Italkiyaby Tallie Lieberman | 17.11.16
When it comes to food, Telavivians are spoiled for choice. You can hardly swing a yoga mat without hitting an artisanal bakery, cold-pressed juice stand, vegan café, falafel joint or sushi stall–not to mention the veritable sea of bobbing restaurants that come and go with the tide.
What is missing, uncharacteristically for this foodie mecca, is quality Italian home cooking. Indeed, where are the rustic neighborhood trattorias dishing up consistently satisfying, reasonably priced pizza, pasta and daily specials on charming checkered tablecloths?
Look no further than Italkiya in the Flea Market, a casual, inviting eatery on the corner of Yehuda Margoza Street, one of Jaffa’s main drags. This beloved neighborhood haunt doesn’t tout an expensive tasting menu–and you won’t find truffles offloaded onto any of your dishes.
Delicious, uncomplicated fare is what’s served up with a smile at this Italian gold standard. Piping-hot, thin-crust pizzas topped with such staple goodies as pepperoni and chorizo, excellent homemade pasta crowned with fresh fish from the market and a soothing menu of comfort classics like linguine carbonara, pappardelle ragu, lasagna and shrimp gnocchi are what await diners at Italkiya.
“It seemed right to open a small trattoria in this beautiful place, a charming spot that would really complement the stunning streets and unique atmosphere of Jaffa’s Flea Market,” said Tal Ben-Bruch, co-owner of Italkiya and several other area landmarks including Casino San Remo. “Seeing people eating, drinking and smiling–this is precisely what keeps us going.”
With its homey ambiance, warm, fast service and consistent fare, it’s no wonder Italkiya is habitually crowded. But, not to worry, you won’t ever wait too long for a table; this versatile venue, suitable for families, dates, casual catch ups and work-related events, is full of cozy nooks and niches that don’t immediately present themselves, and that allow patrons to linger long after they finish sipping their macchiatos and relishing their creamy, perfectly bittersweet tiramisus.
“Our clientele is diverse but constant,” said Ben-Baruch. “After almost seven years, we still see familiar faces. People come back. I like to believe anyone would feel at home at Italkiya.”
Photo credit: Ben Palhov