Israeli-inspired laid-back gem in Williamsburg

By Erik Mathes

Discovering this laid-back, Israeli-inspired restaurant is like hearing your favorite band for the first time. Forget what you already know about falafel and fattoush: The Zizi approach to classic Mediterranean dishes offers a whimsical and refreshing change from the ubiquitous Halal street cart variations you find in the city.

Take Aunt Trippo’s (gluten-free) falafel. The crunchy balls of chickpeas and earthy, herbaceous seasonings are smaller than those at take out joints, but Zizi makes up for it with quantity and intensity of flavor, not to mention smoked tomato, chopped pickles, charred Napa cabbage, raw tahini, and curry yogurt, along with the most perfectly textured pita bread you’ll likely ever have. The gorgeously plated grilled artichokes and cauliflower may look too picture-perfect to to mess up, but after one forkful, you’ll be engaged in full-on destruction, and there will be no remnants when it’s over.

For to larger plates, you simply can’t miss the Marmara—the saltiness of halloumi cheese, the texture of the calamari, and the pervasive flavor of the grill making it a standout. There’s also a wonderful wild salmon, seared golden and served medium-rare over a sweet and savory carrot purée with artichokes, kalamata olives, cured lemon, goat cheese, and garlic confit. Paired with the house Zilavka wine—a sustainable, dry white with green apple and citrus notes and a long mineral finish—it’s a dish that’ll transport you far from the bustle of the ‘Burg to an open-air eatery on the sea.

... on the side

on the stereo
A mix of indie and world music, from Fitz and the Tantrums and Francis and the Lights to Nigerian Tuareg singer-songwriter-guitarist Bombino.

eye for design
Loosely inspired by Israel’s famed open-air eating establishments, Zizi Limona offers a rustic vibe and no pretentious attitudes. The tables and certain wall sections are made of (or covered by) wood, and one wall has compartments for spices and esoteric ingredients that are available for purchase.

Medium to high—depending on the day and time. Early weekday evening can be low-key, but on typical weekend nights it gets loud and lively.


Mon–Thu 5 PM–11 PM; Fri 10:30 AM–11 PM; Sat 10:30 AM–11:30 PM; Sun 10:30 AM–11 PM

price range

$14 (Marmara) to $25 (wild striped bass)