Israeli chef opens first kosher restaurant in New York


New restaurant Malka named after Tel Aviv eatery, trying to bring more Israeli and Jewish food and atmosphere to New York with kosher food. The reservation list is already full. As for the prices, it depends on who's asking.


Only two months after receiving a Michelin star for their New York restaurant, Israeli chef Eyal Shani and his partner, Shahar Segal, are opening their first kosher restaurant in the United States – Malka, located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

The New York kosher eatery opened after the group established its presence and audience in the Big Apple, following several successful food businesses held by the group in recent years in New York, such as Miznon, HaSalon, Port Sa’id, and Shmona. Malka will be the group's fifth restaurant opening in Manhattan.

The fact that this is the group’s first kosher restaurant in the United States clarifies its intention to expand and open additional kosher restaurants after Malka. Malka New York corresponds with Shani's first kosher restaurant in Tel Aviv, which opened about four years ago and is called by the same name.

The New York eatery’s menu resembles its Tel Aviv counterpart. In fact, Shani's entire culinary language, from the poetic expressions of the dishes on the menu to the ingredients and presentation style, is becoming increasingly distinct in all the group's restaurants worldwide.

For example, the menu’s font, the red and green highlights of certain dishes, and descriptions like the tomato "picked with the morning dew" recur in almost all of the group's restaurants, creating a very clear association with the Jerusalemite celebrity chef. The advantages of the ingredients available in New York (such as high-quality fish and superior meat) fit well into Shani's menu.

These days, Shani is making his way to New York and will join his team there, which is already making preparations for the restaurant's opening. "The responses are great," said Shahar Segal, Shani's partner standing behind all their joint ventures’ entrepreneurial moves. 

"This is our best opening to date. The audience here resembles that of Malka Tel Aviv – predominantly Jewish, but not exclusively so. There are those wearing a kippah alongside a diverse and young audience," he said.

What about the rise of antisemitism in the United States? Isn't it somewhat frightening for us to let people know you're Israelis and Jews during this period?

"It doesn't scare me personally. We come from Israel, so we're accustomed to such things. In fact, we haven't experienced antisemitism in any of our restaurants. We don't feel it, and I refuse to think about it as part of our considerations."

How does your group cope with this challenging period?

"The war in Gaza has affected and continues to affect businesses, especially in Israel. But we try to live in this situation, which isn’t easy emotionally or financially. We feel that part of our commitment is to be alive and live, even within this encompassing depression.” 

“This period began with an entire operation of making meals for soldiers. Later, when we opened our restaurant, there was a small audience, mostly reservists, while we still lived through this tragedy. We’ve also lost employees, which is unimaginable."

During this period, you also opened a new ice cream shop in Tel Aviv, and the queue is very long. So, ice cream in winter is now popular?

"Ice cream is fun. Yes, we were told not to open an ice cream shop in winter, but we did it anyway. It's great ice cream, and suddenly it makes a lot of sense that we’ll make ice cream during this period. Ice cream is sweet and comforting.

“Eyal makes amazing ice cream; it will always be fresh and a few hours old, not a few days old, with brilliant flavors. So now, there's a long line there, and I also see an urban legend being born here. At this stage, we're trying to open for longer hours and more days, and currently, there's a line, and that's okay. 

“I also think there's nothing like eating ice cream in the rain, and it's not just any ice cream; it's ice cream served with wine. I know it might sound like an unclear and perhaps odd combination, but somehow it works."

And what about the prices at Malka New York?

"Kosher restaurants in New York are very expensive; ours isn’t very expensive."


As for the prices, Malka’s New York menu includes: Schnitzel - $41, Hummus with chickpeas - $15, Hummus with ground lamb - $29, and a traditional Moroccan spicy fish dish - $37.

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