Not Kosher- 100% Vegan
The name 416 is in fact not named after the Toronto area code but rather their location, number 16 on 4 (HaArba’a) street. Opened 3 years ago by twin brothers Ben and El, not to be confused with Ben El, it is quickly becoming the number one favorite among vegans in Israel. Ben and El grew up in the New York food industry and took the passion they have for high quality plant based food and high end cocktail bars and put them together to create a vegan dream. They make EVERYTHING from scratch from their bread to their seitan and their sodas.
Unlike most other plant based restaurants in the area, they are not trying to be a “health food” or “super food” joint. Rather, they are creating delicious dishes that give the “real” versions a run for their money. When I spoke with El he said something that really explained why I chose to go vegetarian over 10 years ago, “Vegan options are not the imitation. Meat is what is dressing up and pretending to be real food.” In his opinion, and mine, shawarma does not need to be meat to be shawarma- it is all about the perfect blend of spices.
One of my favorite things about our experience was the staff. I could tell that they were truly a family. We were there for 3 hours and while we were sitting I noticed that each staff member that came in for their shift was greeted with hugs and smiles. Both Ben and El were at the restaurant and play a hands on role in the day to day operations. It is really important for them to bring American style, high end service to their customers. Most of their staff has seniority and has been around for a long time. El says, “The main ingredient in a restaurant is the human ingredient,” and you can feel the emphasis on this as every waiter stops by you table to ask you how you’re doing even if they aren’t “your waiter.”
416 really brings back the nostalgic dishes that we all miss after going plant based. Their menu is rotating but includes dishes like Tofu Steak, Moroccan Cigars, Grilled “chicken”, and more.
I can’t fail to mention that while the food is amazing- the star of the show for me was the cocktails! It was so exciting to find a NYC style bar like you see in Gossip Girl with a wide range of specialty cocktails and a menu that happens to be 100% plant based. We tried 4 of their cocktails, which were clearly labeled gluten free, and each one was better than the last. My favorite was the Whaka Tikka which is a fruity rum based cocktail and Maya loved the gingery vodka drink, the Karada. If you’re a wine lover, their sangria is ridiculous and bigger than your face. I wanted to try their Kombucha cocktail but sadly it is made with Pineapple Kombucha and with my new found pineapple allergy I decided to pass. Please go and try it for me and let me know how insane it is!
If you are celiac, be sure to mention that! Many of their dishes are labeled gluten free but cooked on a shared grill or fryer. I will say that once they were informed I am celiac they went above and beyond to accommodate the sterility that I need. They cooked all of our dishes in the oven or on separate pans and even created a little gluten free dessert for us.
If you are in TLV or even if you aren’t- you have to go check out 416!
Gluten Free Options:
Tofu Steak with rice and curry ( MY FAVE!)
Roasted Cabbage with vegetable puree
Polenta (not safe for celiacs)
Mexican Hummus (without the chips)
Gluten Free Bread