Ahh, nothing makes me quite as happy as discovering that there is a new little authentic gem in my neighbourhood. However, the name of this place will most probably familiar sound a little familiar to some of us: Ben Cohen, the go-to place for the late-night snacker on the Rozengracht. But as all good things have to come to an end, Mr. Cohen now decided that it’s time to pass the stick on to his sons, who transformed his shawarma palace into a lovely new concept: Ben Cohen Tel Aviv Streetfood.
Bar Ben Cohen opened its doors in way back in 1978. So, it takes no genius to conclude that this place has been around for already more than 30 years! Mr. Cohen originally opened its doors with the aim of honouring his motherland’s special dish: shawarma. He actually was the first to open to open an Israeli shawarma restaurant in the Netherlands. However, he soon concluded that he had to make some adjustments to make it more attractive to the majority of the Dutchies. Nowadays, he can proudly call himself the inventor of the combination of garlic sauce with shawarma, something you’d find nowhere else back in the days.
However, after 38 years of “duty”, he passed the baton on to his sons: Allon and Dalien Cohen, who turned this place into a very lovely Tel Aviv street food restaurant. The setting is raw and industrial with graffiti quotes on the walls. Nevertheless, the place is still very much cozy, warm and definitely very inviting. A so-called mix of true “Tel Aviv” moments!
But let’s stop beating around the bush and get to the most important point: the food that is being served. As you could have guessed: you will find some (great!) authentic Israeli classics on the menu. But the most exciting stuff is definitely the number of dishes with innovative twists: very different kinds of hummus variation, yummy stuffed pitas and “redefined” pitas. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. A lot of the plates are perfect for sharing and also getting a little messy. Which I just love! And those flavours… My oh my, they truly got me hooked!
In the words of Ben Cohen: sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. But whether it is that that you are looking for or you would like to experience all the different colourful flavours that the Tel Aviv kitchen has to offer, this family owned business managed to put a very large, genuine smile on my face.
Ben Cohen Streetfood
1016 SX Amsterdam