The Italian restaurant Magazzino was opened almost a year ago by the same people behind the burger chain Moses, Zozobra and the pizza joint Tony Vespa. The huge, urban hangar is situated right in the heart of the construction works on Harekevet street, making access harder. However, there’s a big parking lot right at the entrance to the restaurant. The place is aimed towards large groups and families. This was evident when we visited on a Friday lunch and saw it packed with parents and their kids. We were seated right by the entrance, where every person opening the door also gifted us with a gust of hot and humid summer air. It didn’t help that next to us sat a couple with a baby which once in a while tried to verify that their large stroller could not, in fact, move through solid objects like our chairs and table.
Following this experience we promptly relocated ourselves to the bar, which had far better lighting, less children and more alcohol. We treated ourselves to some R rated cocktails and a beer.
Valeria cocktails (42₪ \ $11) – Tequila, Campari and orange.
Alexander Ambrée beer (24₪ \ $6) – (Me: “Is this an ale, a pale ale or a lager?”. Bartender: “Looks like you know more than me about beer – have a taste and tell me if you like it”).
A quick look at the menu revealed a very basic Italian menu comprised mostly of pizza and pasta and with little to no creativity. We picked one dish from each of the sections “Fritto”/”And More”/”Pizza” and at the end of the meal selected a pie from Magazzino’s mouth watering display.
Cod A-La Romana (42₪ \ $11) – beer battered fish with gravish. A few small soft and tender pieces of fish with a thin crispy beer batter and served with great salsa verde aioli. Well executed and a fun way to start the meal.
Shrimps Burger (48₪ \ $12.5) – Aioli chili and maple, lettuce, capers and tomatoes. Sounds amazing on paper, but was ultimately disappointing. The small bites of shrimp were just ok and everything was overpowered by the sauce.
Pizza Bacon (58₪ \ $15) – tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, mushrooms and dry chili. The lightly charred crust is thin and topped with the right amount of sauce, cheese and toppings. The bacon slices were thin and crispy. It’s perfectly sized to be shared by two people.
We finished off the meal with Cappuccino (12₪ \ $3) and something sweet to go along with.
Crack Pie (42₪ \ $11) – Earlier this year we had the immense pleasure to try Momofuku’s perfect crack pie. I’ve since been on the hunt the find a crack pie that can match it right here in Israel. Unfortunately I have yet to find one. Truck De Luxe’s crack pie was a pale version of Momofuku’s pie, with berries that were out of place. Magazzino’s pie had a weird texture, and was too mushy and grainy. My search for the perfect IL crack pie continues.
At first, the service was good and efficient but as the meal went by we were almost forgotten. Plates and dirty napkins were left to pile up on the bar. At no point were we approached again by the staff by their own volition after receiving our dishes. In addition, it was really hard to get anybody’s attention when we were ready to order desserts.
It’s apparent that the service and the food in Magazzino are simply a backdrop for its real purpose: a restaurant that fits both your terrible twos and your grandmother. Every member of your party will feel full and satisfied for a decent budget, but don’t expect any culinary epiphany.