At Etzel Itzik in Aventura, Home Is Where the Hummus Is
Moments after taking your seat inside Etzel Itzik Deli a barrage of food in small white plastic bowls clacks down on your table. There are hot, fluffy pitas, a beet salad, pasta salad, tart shredded cabbage, and shucked corn in a cream sauce.
All photos by Zachary Fagenson Falafel platter at Etzel Itzik Deli.
A green chalkboard sign above the kitchen reads "At Itzik's you're at home." With all of the free food, they're not far off.
"How often do you go to a restaurant and wait 20 minutes for a table and then 10 minutes for a glass of water and then for the food, you wait another half an hour," owner Itzik (Hebrew for Isaac) Younis tells me when I ask why he gives away so much. "My idea was to have things on the table, everybody's happy, and they can relax and order more food."
Salads (free as long as you order something) at Etzel Itzik.
By the time a Limonana - an emerald green drink made with lemonade, mint and ground ice - arrives there's hardly stomach space for it. Same for the hummus, which comes dusted with paprika with a small pool of tahini in the middle.
The menu has everything you might expect - fluffy green falafel, crispy chicken schnitzel stuffed inside pita bread - and some other, harder to find eats. If you want just the pita and salad that starts a meal it's only $4.95.
Younis brings in Neviot, a pricey, flavored Israeli water, through New York distributors, and recommends the Sabich, a sandwich that's stuffed with egg, eggplant, Israeli salad doused in tahini, scallion and pickled mango.