Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dr. Shakshuka - Jaffa, Israel

Our first night in Israel our guide Yosef Spiezer took us to a Libyan restaurant called Dr. Shakshuka which has been in business for 34 years. Dr. Shakshuka is owned by Beno Gubso who uses his parents' recipes brought from Tripoli, Libya. Gubso's face adorns the paper table cloths and napkins and we could tell he was in the restaurant that night because of the likeness to his picture on them. The name "shakshuka" comes from the name of his signature dish which consists of fried eggs, margaz (kosher spicy sausage), tomatoes, paprika and garlic, prepared and served in a hot skillet. We walked into what felt like a bazaar as the ceiling was adorned with brass pots and pans and the walls were filled with pictures, mirrors and other paraphernalia.  
Outside Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa.
Pots and pans hang from the ceiling.
Our guide, Yosef Spiezer, at the end of the table.
Ben Gubso watched us from our soiled paper table cloth as well as from a table in the restaurant. 
All nine of us, including our guide, were seated at a long table and it was suggested that we have a "Taster's Special" which I believe consisted of a sampling of eight Tripolian salads, shakshuka and hraime (fish in a spicy sauce). We also got additional dishes which included mafrum (potatoes stuffed with meat), baslak (beans, spinach and meat), grilled fish, shishkabob and couscous and beakers full of lemonade. 
Small plates of tahini, red cabbage, white cabbage and other vegetables initially placed on our table. 
The spicy tomato salsa to the left was particularly good.
I believe this is baslak.
And I believe this is mafrum.
We didn't really realize what we were getting and all of the sudden we had an onslaught of dishes being placed on our table and they seemed to just keep coming. 

I liked the signature shakshuka dish, but particularly enjoyed the salad with heaps of hummus on it. The hummus was so fresh and tasty that I could have focused on it and been happy. The dish that seemed to be the hit with most was a shredded chicken which had a nice tasty grilled flavor to it. It went pretty quickly. 
Salad which I mixed with...
...heaps of hummus (my picture barely got it before it was all gone).
Shishkabob with grilled chicken, grilled onions, sausage, calamari? and another meat I don't recall. 
A soup with carrots, potatoes and other vegetables. 
My initial plate with a sampling of salads.
My plate later stuffed with meats and salad.
It was Kasey's birthday and so we also primed the staff for some sort of a celebration of his birthday - anything they could come up with. They brought out little individual cups of herbal tea and some hard little cakes which I sampled and thought were forgettable. 
The birthday boy with a smile on his face. 
It was a nice beginning to our trip and a great introduction to the Middle East.  


  1. Don't forget that it was also Kosher. Loud, busy, and filled with both locals and one other tourist group, this was an amazing way to start our 2 1/2 weeks of binge eating. Located on a little side street, I'm not sure we could have found it on our own or that we could ever find it again.

  2. A great start to a great experience. We should have realized then that restaurants will happily serve you enough food to feed a small country.