Hallandale Beach, FL

Jaffa "spice detective" Yaniv Cohen brings Israeli brunch and kosher Mediterranean fare to Hallandale Beach

Best of South Florida

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Jaffa chef/owner Yaniv Cohen calls himself the "Spice Detective."

His goal: to introduce you to the incredible world of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, spices and herbs — their flavors, aromas, properties, and health benefits — by incorporating them into dishes that will delight all your senses.

"Food is a huge passion of mine," Cohen tells News Break. "My love of food began at an early age. As the oldest of 5 boys, I was in charge of helping my mother cook and set the table. Growing up in a Sephardic Jewish family with North African and Middle Eastern roots, food was and still is an important part of our culture. It is a way of life. Every Shabbat or holiday had its unique set of incredible dishes. There was not a single dish that was served that was not beautifully seasoned. I was always fascinated with the colors, scents, origins, and properties of those spices."

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That passion for food and hospitality can be seen in Miami after Cohen relocated to NYC to open a branch of Shiraz Creative, a catering, design, and production company where he serves as vice president of the catering division. The chef is also the author of My Spiced Kitchen — a cookbook and spice guide which become a top seller in the Middle East on Amazon. In addition, Cohen recently won the season finale on the Netflix cooking show Best of Leftovers.

"As I continued to delve further into the world of the culinary herbs and spices and develop my knowledge, I became fascinated with the health properties of food, herbs and spices. It is a known fact that throughout history many cultures around the world have used herbs, plants, and spices to treat different health conditions," adds Cohen.

"My goal is to introduce you to the incredible world of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, spices, and herbs." - Yaniv Cohen

In Miami, Cohen's story began in 2018, when the self-proclaimed "Spice Detective" collaborated with St. Roch Market to open Jaffa, an outlet for his Mediterranean cuisine within the Miami Design District’s newest food hall.

Bringing his native cuisine to a new home, spice centric cuisine will delight Miami locals as well as visitors. Some highlights include a hummus bar, turmeric roasted cauliflower, deconstructed baba ghanoush, and assorted grilled meats and vegetables. Jaffa has since expanded to Brickell and — more recently — Hallandale Beach.

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Now three years in the making, Jaffa's most recent expansion of its popular Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine concept is open in Hallandale with a brick and mortar restaurant that opened February 15. Here, locals and visitors alike can experience Cohen's kosher-style and Glatt kosher meat and dairy-free menu, as well as a vast array of vegan dishes accompanied by an authentic Mediterranean and Israeli wine section.

Jaffa is known as the oldest port city in Tel Aviv, with picturesque alleys, art galleries, ancient buildings, and an abundance of Middle-Eastern restaurants. The city inspired the chef's flavors and aromas; just like Jaffa’s vibrant city, guests are greeted with an authentic and colorful 45-seat dining room and bar area combined with Israeli design elements throughout the space. The walls are lined with Tel Aviv and Israel travel 1960s and 1970s posters and murals accompanied with dark wood dining tables and chairs with vivid cushions and pillows.

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At Jaffa, guests will find dishes that highlight Cohen's native roots and in-depth spice knowledge. They range from turmeric roasted cauliflower and deconstructed baba ganoush to the restaurant's own hummus bar and other staples of meze.

Jaffa is focused on dairy-free and Kosher-style food and the menu is divided into starters, mezze, Al ha’esh (meaning barbecue) and desserts. Menu highlights and exclusive dishes at the Hallandale location include: Jerusalem Bagels with za-atar and olive oil; Herb Marinated Lamb Chops; Short Rib Tagine served with cauliflower and potato mousse; Beef Kofta Kebab; and a selection of Meat, Chicken and Fish Tagine. The beverage menu includes a curated Kosher wine list from all over the world, beer, Turkish coffee, mint tea and more.

A weekend Israeli brunch available on both Saturday and Sunday will include a special menu accompanied by mimosas featuring exotic fruits and spiced sangria with an option for pitchers. In addition to the food, Jaffa will transport guests to feel like they are in the Middle East with entertainment and special late-night parties. The experience will include belly dancers, music by Israeli DJs and drink specials.

Jaffa. 701 N. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach; 954-391-9430; open for dinner six days a week Tuesday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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