Israeli Chef Einat Admony and her husband Stéfan Nafziger recently opened a new, vegetarian Israeli restaurant called Taïm in Georgetown. I recently went to discover if Taïm truly lives up to its namesake, which means “tasty” in Hebrew.
I was personally very excited to nosh at Taïm because I’m vegan and appreciated their mostly plant based – and kosher – menu. I was happy to discover that their falafel was so crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, light, and overall delicious! To me, good falafel is like manna from heaven.
Chef Admony explains:
“I really believe Israeli food is vegetable-centric. It’s also a melting pot of flavors from Morocco to Eastern Europe. It’s all about choices.”
Taïm highlights the Jewish diaspora cuisine with spices of saffron, cumin, and tahina. Chef Admony proves that there’s so much more flavor to Israeli food than just tahina. She says:
“The difference between Israeli cuisine compared to other cuisines is much like us [Jews], Israeli cooking is a melting pot of flavors. It comes from a lot of different cultures that came together throughout Israel.
What’s nice about Taïm is that although much they prepare is naturally vegan, it’s NOT a strictly a vegan restaurant. So, it’s also inclusive to family members who don’t want to eat a strictly vegan diet.
For example, my mother who is not about that “vegan life” was able to enjoy Taïm’s fries with a saffron aioli, which was sadly not vegan due to the eggs in the sauce. She also loved the Iraqi dish, sabich pita sandwich. It looked so delicious and fresh! If you are an egg enthusiast, then try this fluffy pita sandwich stuffed with tender fried eggplant, sliced hard boiled egg, amba (mango sauce–a personal favorite) tahina, and salad. The staff at Taïm is very accommodating and happy to make any dish vegan if they are asked, including the sabbich.
- Hummus: It is full of zaatar seasoning and freshly made by the batch.
- Spanish Eggplant: A delicious compote of eggplant and tomato. Taïm’s Spanish eggplant is not your pre-made glatt kosher eggplant and tomato compote served family simchas and shul onegs. It’s freshly made, and actually tastes a bit like cold eggplant parmesan.
- Moroccan Carrots: This incorporates harissa, which gives it a nice little bite.
- Tabouli: It’s a good find, full of fresh herbs and is light!
- Vegan Baba ganoush: This is my personal favorite on the menu. Most baba ganoush contains egg, making it almost impossible for vegans (such as myself) to enjoy. Like the well-known scene in the movie “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” when Adam Sandler eats the hummus with the spoon, that’s how I enjoyed my baba ganoush at Taïm..
Chef Admony incorporates spices from all over the Middle East. While there are many chefs opening Israeli restaurants, Admony is making her name in a male-dominated cooking world. After all, to be a true balaboosta, you need a whole lot of chutzpah (audacity) and ruach (spirit), both of which Admony has in spades. The pricing of Taïm is reasonable. However, the side mezzes can start to add up and it can be hard to choose which ones to get. Taïm also offers a selection of seltzers. After all, seltzer is the Jewish champagne.
Editor’s note: Instagram has informed us that if you show your DC Kosher phone card holder, you can get a 10% discount during November. You can get one of these phone backs from Ohev Shalom (@JewsofDC).
About the Author: Michele Amira is a nice Jewish girl, DC based journalist, spoken word artist, and vegan. When not writing, she might be found Israeli dancing, listening to hip-hop, and enjoying a l’chaim (toast) with her favorite drink – margaritas on the rocks.
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