Yafo The Tel Aviv Nights in Kreuzberg are back

Tuesday, April 11 2023

Opening Times

Tuesday to Saturday:
11:30am - 3:00pm & 5:00pm - midnight


Ritterstraße 12
10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
.How to get there


+49 30 695 340 01

price level

When the news spread that the legendary Yafo was closing down, a quiet sob went through the city - hardly any other place in Berlin was so closely linked to the cuisine of the Israeli diaspora and the lifestyle in Tel Aviv as the small and lively restaurant in Mitte. It felt like anything could happen here - just like a night in the eponymous Tel Aviv district of Yafo.

Shani missed something like this when she came to Berlin in 2014, in this city with so much, but not this: "I missed sitting at the bar, being surrounded by great service, a nice glass of wine and some finger food, in a nice ambience. In Berlin, you could either go to a bar, but everyone smoked there, or to a restaurant, where the service was unfriendly, or to a club. But you get so stuck with that. I just wanted to go somewhere and have a good time there. So that's how the Yafo idea started - and it was great!"

The old Yafo in Mitte was a place where you could have a relaxed meal - gladly with your hands - where you could go for a glass of wine and then see what the evening had in store - just a delicious meal, or maybe fun hours into the morning. Everything was conceivable here - and that's what the capitals loved. Only the neighbours loved it less.

Yafo Restaurant I Matteo Varisco I 2
Yafo Restaurant I NYE I Matan Kedar I 2
Yafo Restaurant I NYE I Matan Kedar I 1
Yafo Restaurant I Matteo Varisco I 3
Yafo Restaurant I food I Close Up
Yafo Restaurant

But now, with a hotel pop-up, a foray into casual fine dining in the form of the much-acclaimed Shishi, a pandemic and a pregnancy of the owner later, Yafo is back. With a heavy heart, Shani decided to open the new Yafo in the old Shishi space - and it's as lively and vibrant as ever in Kreuzberg.

And how could it be otherwise: People still love it. Of course, it is a little different here than in Mitte. More grown-up perhaps, a few dishes from the Shishi have remained. But the love for food, Israeli cuisine and above all for the guest has remained - and of course, still a little for the conviviality, the festive get-together.

Hosting is her thing, Shani says: "You have to know what is important to you and what is not. And for me, it's always the people: my staff and, of course, the guests. I don't want them to have to choose. Everything has to be great: The lighting, the music, the staff and the food, of course."

Food that is conceived as the celebration of life, passion and love. "It has to be sexy, and it has to look good too. It has to touch you somehow - food in Israel, it's a lot of zaatar, a lot of chilli, a lot of lemon, very rough, almost outrageous, always a statement!" The food, but also this inimitable ambience that Shani creates here, still make the new Yafo in Kreuzberg a perfect place for a long, humid evening with friends, but also for a relaxed date to explore the willingness to share food.

Because the food at Yafo is shared by the whole table: A point of honour! And so we feast on all the delicacies that Israeli cuisine has to offer: Labneh with zaatar (5 €), homemade pickles and olives (5 €), aubergine grilled over the fire with pomegranate seeds and chimichurri (12 €) and of course, wonderfully creamy hummus with cauliflower, matbucha and shug (14 €).

The artichoke salad shik shak choke (€12), dressed in tapenade and preserved lemon, wins us over, as does the rustic sumac-seasoned chicken (€18), served - truly rustic - simply on a wooden board with a sharp knife in the middle.

But the star of the evening for us, against all expectations, is the falafel. "I can't believe we actually put falafel on the menu - it just sounds too cliché," laughs Shani, "but if anything, we make the best in town!" And so it is: Super crispy on the outside, the chickpea balls turn out fluffy and not a bit dry on the inside, accompanied by tart mango sauce that delights us just as much - so this is what falafel can taste like.

Our drinks are also truly impressive: a non-alcoholic variation of the Spicy Margherita, with intense cucumber flavours and a bit spicy, plays right at the top of the mocktail league and tastes just as good as the whiskey cocktail or the house wine.

By the end of the evening, our bellies are bulging, and yet we also have to try the desserts, which we later regret only briefly because the delicious chocolate mousse with olive oil and pine nut caramel and the Coconut Malabi, a milk pudding with blood orange and orange blossom (€9 each) convince us again of the excellent cuisine. We say goodbye a little earlier today, but something is already in the air this evening. Even in Kreuzberg, the night can always be a little longer.

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Yafo – The Tel Aviv Nights in Kreuzberg are back
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