Writing: Tanya El Kashef
Travel Experience and Photographs: Sherif Tamim
In the gastronomical wonderland that is New York City it’s easy to get caught up in the myriad of restaurants, cafes, eateries and food quarters that envelope every part of the city. New York is home to some of the world’s most sought after chefs and the city has the capacity to provide all of the world’s cuisines - sometimes on a single street – as well as set modernist culinary trends. However, it was not the endless number of Michelin star restaurants and innovative eateries that whet our appetite, pun absolutely intended, but rather a world-class deli called Eli’s Manhattan.
Far from being a basic corner deli, Eli’s Manhattan takes its inspiration from the food halls of Europe and within its expanse everything can be found from a butcher and fish market, to organic produce, house-roasted coffee, cheeses and wine. A bakery for all sorts of breads and pastries is also available in-house as is a flower shop. Apart from the surplus of quality raw ingredients at Eli’s – ones that draw in top culinary professionals – the deli is also a go-to destination for quick meals, serving house-made gourmet foods that include items such as soups and sushi, among other things.
Opened in 1998 by Eli Zabar, the deli was designed to be an entertaining shopping experience and its vast selection of products are arranged to pique every shopper’s delight; conveniently divided and neatly stacked in unison of color. In the colorful fruit and vegetable section, made up of local and organic produce, expect to see friendly yet cautionary signs like ‘Please be gentle with the tomatoes’. The dairy section at Eli’s is particularly noteworthy, holding one of the largest selections of international cheese in all of New York. Eli’s meat selection at the butcher is no less than remarkable, while the fish market could be found to offer up to seven different kinds of fresh salmon. Catering to all things related to cooking and meal preparations, Eli’s allocates a small corner to kitchenware and accessories, which can be found before checking out. The vibrant flower shop is located after the cashier and extends beyond the shop into an outdoor area designated to Eli’s selection of rooftop plants that include rosemary, thyme, mint, which are sold in pretty outdoor pots.
Although New York City is an unbeatable destination for sit-down meals and up and coming culinary trends, it is sometimes the simple things that make the world of food go round, and in this case it is Eli’s Manhattan.