Coca Cola Israel, in conjunction with Time Out magazine, have resumed sponsoring its “burgers month,” pairing distinctive burger creations with Coke.
The ambitious project, which began only in 2019, has grown to involve some 200 restaurants all over the country -- including some of Israel’s most famous, helmed by celebrity chefs.
Each participating restaurant has designated -- in consultation with Coca Cola -- one of its special burgers-cum-toppings for the occasion. The burgers come as the centerpiece of a meal that includes a choice of Coca Cola beverage -- Classic, Diet or Zero -- and in many cases, a side dish as well. Burger Month meals start at NIS 46.
The project encompasses restaurants of all kinds: fine dining, casual dining, fast food places, burger joints, and even ethnic eateries specializing in foreign cuisines that usually do not serve hamburgers. There are also plenty of kosher restaurants in the mix.
All of the restaurants on our list serve other food besides hamburgers and offer vegetarian/vegan options. None have pork or seafood on their menus; several have English as well as Hebrew menus.
Below is a list of burgers we sampled and can recommend (the places are not ranked, but rather appear in alphabetical order):
Deda is the one ethnic restaurant in our list this time around -- this growing chain of urban and suburban eateries specializes in Georgian food. The approach here is to treat the hamburger like the Georgians do with much of their other food: wrapped in dough and baked.
Deda’s Burger-puri is quite unusual -- much like a giant knish, or round “hamburger Wellington.” The exotically seasoned ground veal patty comes out well done, but the real advantage is how neat it is to eat: the burger (with pickle and tomato) is contained within its crusty shell, so it will not leak out or become sloppy, as with so many burgers with toppings served on buns.
Instead of ketchup, the condiment here is a zesty Georgian sauce containing ground walnuts. And a great bonus here is the side dish of expertly seasoned potato wedges.
Deda. Not kosher. Shalom Aleichem St. 14, Tel Aviv (plus branches in Givatayim, Bat Yam, Rishon Lezion and Netanya). Tel. 1-700-700-165.
F & B
This spacious diner-style restaurant with sizable al fresco area survived the pandemic with a clever delivery strategy, designing distinctive transparent packaging that set F&B apart from all the others. Those choosing to dine on-site will be able to enjoy a pleasant oldies soundtrack.
F&B features an extensive collection of burgers named after cocktails, such as Bloody Mary and Tom Collins. The Coke burger is the Sangria: a beef patty available in two sizes, topped with slices of asado in barbecue sauce, caramelized onion, garlic confit, lettuce, pickles and a heap of crispy fried onion shards. The burger is served on an atypical black brioche bun and comes with two condiments: chimichurri, and an outstanding bourbon whisky sauce.
In fact, F&B offers six great special sauces, aiolis and spreads as condiments, and it is worth trying them all. Similarly, you can pile your burger high with crispy potato or sweet potato curls as alternatives to the onion bits.
F&B. Not kosher. 11 Moshe Becker, Rishon Lezion. Tel. (03) 643-3422.
This popular eatery situated practically on the campus of Tel Aviv University began its life as a bar, and then hooked up with boutique burger specialist TLBS (The Little Burger Shop), a small joint on Dizengoff that had made a name for itself on the basis of its premium hamburgers.
HaHoog HaTtzfoni has maintained its bar feel, with seating both at the bar and surrounding tables. Everything is outdoors in a covered area, which will get extra protection from the cold in the winter months.
What makes the Coke burger different at this northern TLBS outlet is its build-your-own format. The basic module is the Blumenthal, one of only three burgers altogether on the menu; from there, however, you get to choose up to three toppings -- including some gourmet delicacies, such as lamb bacon, Buche cheese, candied chili, onion jam, and more.
HaHoog HaTtzfoni. Not kosher. 54 Haim Levanon St., Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 654-4870.
Hamosad -- not to be confused with the spy agency -- is an institution dedicated to the art of the sandwich. In recent years, the most prominent sandwiches on the menu have become those featuring a hamburger patty between two slices of bun.
Hamosad’s approach to Coca Cola burgers month is a little different from the others’: instead of designating one of its burgers as its Coke burger, it is rotating four from its selection of eight colorfully named burgers: once a week, a new burger will get the honor.
We sampled three of the burgers that have been chosen to alternate: El Chapo, The Wonderland and The Trump. Of the trio, our favorite was the one named after the controversial American president: it was a particularly juicy beef patty topped with fried egg, onion rings (fried in a tempura-beer batter), goose breast, lettuce and tomato, and served on a soft bun moistened with homemade whisky aioli.
Hamosad. Not kosher. 67 Ibn Gvirol St., Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 582-9896.
The Garage in Rishon Lezion comes by its name righteously, situated as it is in the same compound as a gas station. At the same time, the wooden structure resembles more than anything a roadside eatery on a two-lane blacktop in the rural USA heartland -- complete with front porch and side patio for informal al fresco dining.
There are two menus here, one on the placemat, plus a Limited Edition that must be requested. The Coca Cola burger does not appear on either one: the Banana Special, which is actually a recreation of the Elvis [Presley] sandwich -- peanut butter, banana and bacon -- stacked on top of a beef patty. (Note: The version here is lamb bacon.) This decadent combination has to be tasted to be believed.
The Coke burger here comes with a side, of which we can recommend the [cubed] home fries, drenched in a rich brown sauce. Or go for the healthier alternative, a small salad.
The Garage. Not kosher. 151 Herzl St., Tel Aviv, Tel. (03) 649-9600.