Sun-Wed 8-2; Thu-Fri 8-4; Sat 9-2
Mama, this food’s got soul! The menu is packed with an array of creative veggie options and hearty meats. The food pours out with so much home-cooked goodness and love, you feel as though your grandma is going to appear just to scold you about finishing your plate. The Kasbah proudly provides cheap, large courses, with the freshest of ingredients used to create quality food. This place is a real gem in the heart of the swirling neighborhood of Florentine. You can truly relax, enjoy a coffee and a home-cooked, gourmet meal in a quiet garden filled with whispers. The best part of the menu? Daily specials, the Chef’s choice, a good chance to try something new, because honestly, everything on the menu is mouthwatering and I never know what to choose. On my last visit, the choice was Tofu with tomatoes and zucchini. My favorite dish on the menu is the Mazeh Plate, which for 13 NIS you get two plates of your choice. Personally, I like the beets with fresh garlic and the tahina. No, I know what you are thinking, just tahina? I am telling you, as a tahina lover, this one is out of this world. They won’t indulge me on the secret ingredient, but it is bursting with flavor. The Mazeh Plate comes complete with warm breads, spreads, and a salad. All for 13 NIS!
But this time, I decided to try a new addition to the menu: kebabs in beer with potato wedges and a salad. This was German Kat’s special addition to the menu. All I can say is wow, well done Kat, these spiced sausages were cooked to perfection, packed with strong flavors in every bite. The beer brings just the right amount kick to complement the spicy taste. The kebabs were sitting proudly on a mountain of potatoes and soft carrots, covered in a scrumptious, dark, stew sauce. What did we say about the dish? Num num num, well balanced, just right, delicious, unique, and definitely tasted the love. When one of the owners walked in, we told him he just had to try this new dish. It didn’t take too much convincing, and he settled on getting it for dinner as well.
Inspiration for the food comes from the kitchen manager Nomi and numerous chefs. Cafe Kasbah is so proud of its worldly heritage that all workers have a chance to bring in their own recipe from their homeland, which feature Germany, Russia and Tunisia, just to name a few. This place is definitely unique and oozing with passion. Inna and Nomi proclaim that they practically live there, and that this is a dream come true, thus filling the place with a lot of love. With the location being simply perfect, the Kasbah not only connects with neighborhood, people, decor/motif, but also helps to define Florentine.
The Kashbash setting is a cross between sitting in someone’s secret garden and your cute grandma’s dining room. There is a piano near the bar where patrons spontaneously play, and they turn down the eclectic background music so all can listen. The background music is a vivacious mix of reggae, rock and R&B; basically anything that is sultry and alive. Near the quaint bathrooms, there is a large wooden book shelf chock full of reading material, comfy cookbooks, and board games to the max. What do we love about this place? All the tables and cutlery are random and vintage, but fit together nicely. You could be the couple sitting together on the low couch paired with a low wooden table, sitting outside on the porch with a group of 8, or under the arch on a wooden bench. The large porch wraps around the dining room, making an L shape, and creating many crevices and private seating. With plants in every space possible, it creates the feeling of a trim and proper garden, just delightful to gulp down hearty food. The attention to detail is astounding. Each space has a personal touch, featuring a different set of vintage salt shakers on each table, which all happen to match. The same goes with the cutlery: food is plated on vintage ceramics and china – a great personal touch. When I asked Inna where the plates were from I didn’t realize what a complicated question this was. I understand they are from all over the place, shuk hapishpeshim in Jaffo, grandma’s house, and the majority from people who don’t need them anymore. Inna was bashful to admit frankly, “from dead peoples’ houses.” This may not sound appetizing, but many agree it’s a meaningful, personal touch that can’t be bought.
Note: My dog Kalla loves coming here as well. They have bowls of water scattered around the place and she gets lots of attention from the staff; the owner’s dog will often be seen roaming around, or sleeping near the bar.
By: Kassandra Grunewald