The Zion King

Bissaleh Café

I imagine if I asked one of the patrons here if they liked the stuffed bissaleh, they'd reply: “What's there not to like?” I can't quibble with that assessment, as this was the best of the bready specialties, a circular ring of a softer, more buttery, almost croissantlike variation on that same malawach dough, this time rolled around spinach, feta, and yellow cheese.

The last time I had kosher pizza was as a kid in Brooklyn. As it turns out, Bissaleh's other location, on Coney Island Avenue in that borough, is not far from my old neighborhood (though they moved in eight years ago, long after I'd left). The reason I haven't had any kosher pizza since is because I'm not kosher, and while the pizza here happens to be as good as most nonkosher pies on the Beach, that's more a reflection on the state of nonkosher pies on the Beach than anything else. A pizza aficionado would never consciously choose this over a good non-kosher pie.

The only menu items over nine dollars are the fish: grilled salmon fillet, grouper, catch of the day, and fried tilapia -- the whole fish, so you can tell it's really tilapia. They're fresh and come with salad, vegetables, and tahini sauce, for $14.95. Good deal.

Never mind the bovine theme, Bissaleh has all the right ingredients
Steve Satterwhite
Never mind the bovine theme, Bissaleh has all the right ingredients

Location Info

Map

The H Restaurant

17608 Collins Ave.
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: North Dade

Details

Small Greek salad $6

Cheese blintzes $6

Stuffed bissaleh $8

Grilled salmon $14.95

Watermelon with feta cheese $7

17608 Collins Ave, N Miami Beach; 305-682-2224. Open for lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday, noon till midnight; Saturday one hour after sundown (Shabbat) till 3:00 a.m.

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More than a third of the 163 menu items (they're numbered) are beverages, mostly coffees and juices. The small carafe of carrot, celery, coriander, and ginger extractions is the most creative of these drinks, but none can quench thirst in as sparkling a manner as lemonade with fresh mint leaves. Also refreshing: a curiously gratifying dessert of watermelon and feta cheese. Then again, some of you might want to opt for a banana split or warm chocolate cake with ice cream.

Bissaleh was opened one year ago by Ossi and Sapir Gamliel from Tel Aviv -- she works the front of the house, and her husband, a chef for more than twenty years in their Israeli restaurant, runs the kitchen. The uniqueness of the dining experience, quality of fare, and affordable pricing qualify this ethnic eatery as a genuine gem. Of course I'm not suggesting you drop everything and go there right now -- but it couldn't hurt.

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