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Tasty and authentic : There’s hummus, and then there’s the Asli Hummus Center in Yafo

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The Asli Hummous Center may seem like just one of the many small and authentic humous joints on the busy Yeffet Street, but there is much more to this established outlet than meets the eye. This Yafo institution is celebrating its 50th anniversary with some new additions to the much-loved menu.

Like many of the traditional local restaurants in Yafo, Asli is not much to look at from the outside. But what it lacks in modern furnishings and bright open spaces, it makes up for with quality food and a charming atmosphere.

On the weekends, visitors from far and wide can be seen filling one of the few small tables, feasting on the fresh hummus and various other local delicacies available.

Elias Shoari, originally from Lebanon, founded the restaurant half a century ago, and later handed the reins over to his son Avraham. Since its opening, the restaurant has been a regular feature on the local scene and has built up a reputation as one of the best around.

The public figures who have eaten at Asli are a testament to the respect it has gained over the years, with the likes of Golda Meir, Shimon Peres and Moshe Dayan among the famous customers to have walked through the very modest doors.

Authentic Middle Eastern hospitality is the order of the day, which means an informal atmosphere and lots of food. Before my friend and I were even able to sit down, our table was showered with an array of fresh salads and pita. The table was so full, that when the waiter came along with the various types of hummus, there was hardly any room to put them.

All the salads were very fresh, with the cauliflower in tehina and babaganush being among the favorites. Also worth a mention were the fresh tehina, spicy tomato salad and roasted zucchini. The hummus itself was very tasty and authentic, with the fresh pita doing a good job of wiping the plate clean.

What differentiates the Asli Hummus Center from many of the surrounding competitors is the wide selection of fresh meat and fish dishes. We were actually too full to try any of them, but we could smell some kebabs sizzling in the background and both said it would be worth a return trip to sample what was on offer.

For dessert, we we managed to squeeze in a taste of the baklava and malabi. We finished off the meal with some refreshing mint tea.

The Asli Hummus Center is very similar to many of its local competitors, but what makes it stand out is the food selection, warm hospitality and rich history.

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