Dizengoff Center Mall, Lower Level
Growing up in a Persian household, there is one thing that we are experts in, and that is rice. When I initially saw Persian rice on the menu at Goldie and Adi, I must admit that I was skeptical. Competing with heavyweights such as homemade cous cous, cholent, and kube, I couldn’t imagine the rice of my homeland receiving the attention it requires. In Iran, the art of cooking rice is a prized talent. There is a science that takes years to perfect and I had yet to find a place in Israel that has proven to master the science. Every doubt was instantly put to rest the moment the rice was brought to our table. The polo sabzi (“green rice” made with dill and parsley) exceeded any Iranian standard. The aroma alone made me salivate and the spot on flavor confirmed that it was made with true expertise.
As soon as I took the first bite I was beamed back to my childhood, sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen, eating one of the most popular staples in Persian cuisine. The journey continued with the delightful helping of home made cous cous, the most popular dish on the menu, served with lush market vegetables and meatball wrapped in eggplant baked with zesty paprika sauce. I could taste the authenticity in every single dish and in a matter of minutes it was clear that Adi, the co-owner and chef of Goldie and Adi, is a self taught Mid East cuisine virtuoso.
The menu offers delicious beef and chicken dishes that will satisfy any self proclaimed carnivore. However, their vegetarian options makes this place a vegetarian’s haven. The list of vegetarian friendly dishes is considerable including eggplant schntizel and antipasti. Eating the eggplant schnitzel will easily make you forget the existence of chicken schnitzel, and this sudden realization will turn into a deep appreciation for the chef, who hasn’t ignored the vegetable lovers.
Every dish in Adi’s repertoire is a nod to his Persian and Iraqi heritage and his diverse upbringing in which food was at the core. Adi subtly and convincingly displays the role that food plays in Mid East culture, where food is pivotal in every celebration, event, and family gathering, places where food can portray a deep and inexplicable sentiment. His love and talent for food coupled with his wife’s business savviness led him to open a food cart at Dizengoff center which they ran for 13 years. In 2005 their ventures led them to realize their dream of opening a small, homey, and successful restaurant.
As the chef’s wife and co-owner fills your glass of wine and patrons stride in and wave hello to Adi as he cooks in the open kitchen, the atmosphere is both warm and light taking you out of the artificial energy of the mall and into an ancient Middle Eastern neighborhood. It’s evident from the rate at which people flow into the restaurant that they are certainly coming for the food. Adi’s culinary dexterity is rare, and people are taking advantage of it, making special trips to the mall just to enjoy his food.
Thanks to Goldie and Adi a trip to Dizengoff Center turns into a gastronomic delight. In most cases shopping is the main attraction and food is an after thought. In this case, the food becomes the paramount reason to make the mall the destination. The food is authentic, delicious, and comforting and you can wave to the master cooking your food, making Goldie and Adi a bona fide gem in the Middle Eastern culture.