• Photo by Barry A. KaplanBeers

Maalot is a small, quaint, European-style restaurant featuring tapas, which chef and co-owner, Gad Yaari, borrowed from the Spanish cuisine and combined with the traditional food of his grandparents who came from Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Kurdistan.

Last spring, the Maalot restaurant owners, Yaari and his friend, Israel Bachar, a chef, realized that even though the Israeli mentality is to drink fine wine with steak, creating something a bit out of the ordinary might not be such a bad idea.

From their main menu, one can have lamb chops, Argentinean entrecote steak, sirloin steak, beef tongue and ribs, tuna steak, duck breast, salmon, grilled baby chicken steak and lamb kebab, in addition to their specialty–15 tapas–and they decided these can be served just as well with beer.

“You can fit beer with what you eat the same as wine,” declares Yaari, who showed us a fruit beer, made from apples and a beer from honey.Not only do they offer 26 types of Belgian, German, English, Czech and Israeli beers, but they decided to brew their own—Maalot Argaman, a golden red beer, and Maalot Ophir, a black beer (both 36 NIS a bottle).

What goes well with steak or tapas and beer? Music—Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings (sometimes Sunday and Monday too) from 8:30-10:30 p.m. Yaari says, “We give the stage to any artist. It started when one customer said he could play for them, gathered a band and called it ‘Gadi’s Friends.’ Now they are famous!”

A singer with two guitars; a violinist, guitarist and singer; a singer with  Hebrew and English song lists who lets the customers decide the song—all come to play for a meal, some for money and some for both.

So many customers are enjoying the beer, the tapas and the music, that Yaari says they are planning to start a happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., with discounts for students (since the Bezalel Art School is nearby) and special prices for the beers.

Maalot is a lovely, intimate, kosher restaurant with an outside deck and wonderful inside ambiance, at Maalot 7, just off King George. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 12 noon to last customer; Friday, 12 noon to one hour before Shabbat; Saturday night, one-half hour after Shabbat ends until last customer. Call: 02-500-4334.