Aish Tanoor is a completely Kosher Israeli Middle Eastern restaurant, serving favourites like hummus and some of the best shawarma in the city.
Owned and run by the Haba family, the origins of this place stretch all the way back to fifties Iraq and sixties Jerusalem, the name referring to the oven that is central to the operation.
The casual space is outfitted with long group tables perfect for the type of meals had here. The walls are decorated with images of Israel, and not only the rotating shawarma spit but the oven too are right out in the open.
The practice of laffa making has been passed down from Fouad Haba to his son Sason Haba. This authentic bread was first pioneered and sold in the Mahane Yehuda Market of Jerusalem.
They start with a wet dough, then optionally throw on sesame, black seeds or za’atar for a $1.99 upgrade. They pat it down with olive oil then put it on a special pillow that helps create the bread’s shape as it’s thrown into the oven.
Rather than straight back and forth like a pizza oven or up and down like a traditional tandoor, this oven is slanted.
The puffy, fluffy bread cooks in under a minute, each laffa made to order.
Order a combination of salads ($17.99) to go with it, including fried eggplant, carrots, baba ghanouj, a tomato sauce with green pepper called matbucha, olives in sauce, onions, pickled beets, and a tabuli salad.
Mushroom hummus ($10.99) is one of many variations on the classic dip, including fava bean, tahini, shawarma and falafel. Topped with mushrooms, onions and paprika and drizzled with olive oil, it’s a sumptuous upgrade.
The famous shawarma ($19.99 with a side dish) is simple but fragrant, topped with onions and parsley.
A shawarma pita sandwich goes for $9.99, laffa for $11.99, and there’s no doubt this is the star of the show here, the aroma of the rotating meat on the spit filling the room.
Shakshuka “Stylish” ($11.99) as it’s called on the menu is served in a house bread bowl made with the same dough as the laffa, just prepared differently, risen for two hours before going into the oven.
The heavy breakfast dish is stuffed with tomato sauce and eggs that can be scooped out with chunks of the bread.
Rack of lamb ($34.99) is seasoned simply with pepper and paprika then grilled.
Grilled eggplant ($8.99) makes for an amazing vegetarian alternative, also seasoned minimally with salt and pepper for grilling and dressed lightly with lemon, tahini and parsley.
The Haba family continues their tradition of Iraqi Jewish cooking here.