I generally don’t write restaurant reviews on this blog. There are plenty of blogs that do restaurant reviews, and I usually don’t find blog reviews of eateries particularly useful prior to my visit; I’d rather check TripAdvisor or Foursquare for factual information. Even then it’s mostly for holidays, where time plays a big role in decision-making. Can I relax in a beachfront hut with pesky sand flies and no toilet for 2 weeks?
Eateries that I have a personal relationship with, though, I’m happy to write about.
Yafo is my favourite local eatery for cozy drinks and delicious Israeli food, alone or with friends, off the busy Torstrasse in Berlin Mitte. It’s the kind of place where I can show up with my book, with the handsome-and-talented husband in tow, we get drinks and a plate to share, then I continue reading as he leaves to go running/training, he rejoins me in an hour or two, during which one or more friends may have turned up, and we have a big proper dinner together.
The team who run it are just lovely. On most nights you’ll find co-owners Shani and Felix behind the bar, or chit-chatting to regulars. The music is always fun, and on weekend nights, it does get quite lively.
Yafo serves up mostly vegetarian dishes, simply cooked and perfectly seasoned. There have been meat or fish dishes on the daily specials, like the lamb and aubergine dish, and the spicy lamb kebab which I’ve been wishing to be on the regular menu.
I prefer Yafo’s smooth, creamy hummus over the hummus at Djimalaya, another Israeli eatery on Invalidenstrasse in Berlin Mitte, which is great for grilled kebabs (that charred tender goodness). On the deliciousness axis, Yafo’s hummus is probably the best hummus I’ve ever eaten across London, Berlin, Bali and Amsterdam, and consistently so! On the authentic axis, I’ve never been to Israel so I wouldn’t know.
Other favourite dishes include the grilled broccoli and cauliflower, with a tahini and yoghurt dip and sprinkled with pistachio or sunflower seeds, and the roasted aubergine with chopped eggs and green peppers. These are all served with warm fluffy pita bread, perfect for sharing and dipping.
My Yafo tip!
Begin with a cool tumbler of Arakboy, one of Yafo’s signature cocktails made with arak, along with their Teller Viv plate of various dips and pita bread or, if it’s a particularly hot day, their watermelon and mint salad is a refreshing apetiser. From here we usually move on to the roasted aubergine with hummus and chopped eggs, and/or their grilled broccoli.
Like I said before, I could stay here for hours talking, eating and drinking with friends. So if you do spot us here, do say hi! Maybe see you at Yafo one of these days!
- Gormannstr x Zehdenickerstr., Berlin Mitte
- Nearest U-Bahn: U8 Rosenthaler Platz or U2 Senefelder Platz/Rosa Luxembourg
- Yafo on Facebook
- In summer you may get away with a walk-in because they have half the tables outside
- Recommend to book especially on weekends and winter months when they don’t have the outdoor space