Rak Hayom (“Only Today” in Hebrew) is a phrase that is commonly heard at Israeli food markets by the loud, local vendors. Rak Hayom’s menu is based on fresh market ingredients which definitely echoes its name, only without the noisy, messy atmosphere of an Israeli market.
Not exactly a restaurant, and not exactly a food stall, but something in between, the place is located just at the entrance of Shuk Tzafon (North Market), which we wrote about when it was first opened this January. The market is located in Ramat Hachayal area of Tel Aviv and is spread across 1600 square meters packed with 15 food stalls and 15 specialty shops. We visited the market on a Saturday and unfortunately most of the stalls and shops were closed, making the market feel slow and sleepy. Not an ideal time for first visits to the market.
Rak Hayom was the first to open in the market, by Avner Laskin, an Israeli chef known for his cooking books and management of a food academy. Laskin partnered with a group of young waiters which have been working with him, serving in his own private meals.
The menu focuses mainly on Israeli comfort food and various colorful salads. The menu items rotate daily, and are comprised of seasonal local produce. Prices are reasonable and the dishes can be easily shared, just the way we like it!
We opened with two glasses of rosé for a modest 15₪ ($4) each and shared the following dishes:
“Salad of purple vegetables galore. It’s sour, lemon-y and refreshing“ (38₪\$10) – the salad included mostly beets and red cabbage and was seasoned beautifully. Just as its description proclaimed. By looking at their daily menus on their Facebook page looks like this dish appears often with minor variations.
“A pair of baked sweet potatoes with yogurt dressing” (24₪\$6.5) – two medium sized sweet potatoes, cut in half and filled with yogurt and pesto sauce. The center was soft and moist but the edges were burnt to bitter, inedible, charcoal. The staff offered to replace them with new ones but also resigned to saying that “this is how the dish is made”.
“Turkish spinach salad with caramelized sweet potato and tahini vinaigrette” (41₪\$11) – with carrots, red onions and soft small radishes, this salad is simply mouth-watering (as weird as it may sound coming from me). Each bite unveiled new flavors and I found myself enjoying this salad up until the last bite. I didn’t get bored, which is what usually happens when I’m nibbling on a salad.
“Saturday kebab with burnt vegetables and tahini” (46₪\$12) – ordering this dish turned into a saga. We ordered it without tahini, and the dish arrived with raw kebabs which had a cold interior. We returned it to be re-heated, but the kitchen staff accidentally placed tahini on the kebabs. Third time was the charm, but when we finally got the dish it had the same cold vegetables from the original order. So a bit of a hiccup with the service there. Nevertheless the kebab was good and juicy, and the burnt vegetables shined with strong grilled flavors.
We sealed the meal with “Strawberries and Mascarpone cream with streusel, mint an a touch of olive oil” (28₪\$7.5). Simple and tasty.
To sum up – Rak Hayom is a perfect food place for vegetarians due to the variety of options or for anyone wishing to try healthy Israeli comfort food. It’s also a good way to get to know the flavors of the common Israeli kitchen. Unlike other lunch places where you leave feeling stuffed and heavy, Rak Hayom’s dishes will have you feeling uplifted and energetic after lunch.
Rak Hayom Online: