MIAMI - Located in the outside dining area of Aventura Mall, Motek is a charming and elegant Israeli-Mediterranean restaurant that serves brunch all day among a plethora of mouth-watering plates.
Motek, which means "sweetheart" in Hebrew, is a family-run restaurant and the brainchild of Tessa Levy, a young mother of four who's thrilled to have opened her second location. Their first opened in 2020 in Downtown Miami.
"It feels really amazing. It feels like a blessing, watching it flourish," said Levy. "It comes from, really, true love for food and passion and we're really excited about what we're doing, so I'm very proud to be in the city that I love."
The space is clean and fresh, mixing modern textures and colors with an homage to tradition and family.
"We care a lot about the environment. We wanted to make sure people really feel like they're in this really special Mediterranean restaurant where the food matches the vibe, " Levy said.
She said the food is a blend of cultures.
"What we mean by Israeli-Mediterranean is that what you have in the Israel food culture itself, is a combination of so many eastern Mediterranean countries like Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon," explained Levy.
CBS4's Lisa Petrillo sat down with Levy for a tasting, starting off with the Motek sampler plate which included fresh fluffy pita, hummus, babaganoush, eggplant salad, and their version of tabouleh salad.
"Traditionally, tabouleh is a Middle Eastern dish that is made with bulgur. We make ours with grated cauliflower which makes it gluten-free, grain free and it feels very light," said Levy.
"This is just amazing," said Petrillo.
Next, was the traditional Israeli breakfast dish called "shakshuka." It's organic eggs, poached in a spicy fresh tomato sauce with peppers, herbs, and spices served with freshly baked challah bread.
"I feel like I'm in Israel. It's so authentic with all the different flavors and the fact that it's organic and the fresh challah bread just takes you away," said Petrillo.
The crispy chicken schnitzel served with harissa aioli and lemon is deliciously light and leaves you wanting more.
"I'm taking it home," said Petrillo as she humorously grabbed the plate.
They ended with the Arayes Burger which won best burger at Burger Bash last year at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Seasoned beef and lamb are tucked inside a pita with fresh herbs.
"There's something extra special about it. I love that it's inside a pita. It's tighter and thinner and so much flavor in that meat, sparked by these crunchy french fries that everybody loves," said Petrillo.
Motek is open every day serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For more information: motekcafe.com.
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