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New Rice Village Restaurant Offers a Taste of Tel Aviv in Houston

The owners behind Doris Metropolitan are serving Israeli cuisine at its latest restaurant, Hamsa

Meat skewer on a sword-like knife atop a plate.
Hamsa cooks up a breathtaking dining experience with Middle Eastern cuisine and charcoal-grilled meats.
Kirsten Gilliam

The masterminds behind upscale steakhouse Doris Metropolitan have opened a new Middle Eastern restaurant in Rice Village, offering Houston a taste of Israel.

Israeli natives Itai Ben Eli, Itamar Levy, and Sash Kurgan opened Hamsa Wednesday, May 11 at 5555 Morningside Drive, serving up an array of Middle Eastern dishes, like salatim — Israeli salads or cold, small dishes, to start — and shared plates rich in vegetables and spices.

“Hamsa,” related to the word for “five” in Hebrew, is an appropriate name given the 5555 Morningside Drive address, and also the name of the hand symbol that represents protection in many Western Asian cultures.

An assortment of Israeli “salatim” or side dishes and small plates.
Hamsa serves up Israeli salatim and shared plates.
Kirsten Gilliam

Led by chef-duo Sash Kurgan and Yotam Dolev, the menu features eggplant Baladi, mussels in arak, a distilled Levantine spirit made from anise and grapes, and a variety of hummuses and skewers. The restaurant is also offering a six-seat chef’s table option called the “Yalla Yalla” experience, where diners get a prime view of Hamsa’s brick oven, which bakes fresh pita daily, and the charcoal grill used exclusively to cook skewers. Lunch options will arrive soon with options like cauliflower couscous salad, shakshuka, and grilled branzino.

Desserts, prepared by Sof’s executive pastry chef Michal Michaeli, include Middle Eastern treats like grilled pears, basbousa malabi cake, and nemesis halvah. Customers will have more than 100 wines to choose from with an emphasis on bottles from Israel and Lebanon.

The 4,600 square-foot restaurant is also complete with a champagne wall and a shared outdoor patio with its sister establishment, Badolina Bakery & Cafe, which serves Israeli baked goods.

The decor, designed by Lindsay Madrigal of LM Designs, also takes notes from Tel Aviv, with colorful aesthetics, modern furnishings, and Moroccan accents, according to a release.

The owners behind Sof Hospitality, a newly established restaurant group, are also responsible for Doris Metropolitan, which first opened in Israel in 2008, then in Costa Rica in 2010, and in New Orleans in 2013 before opening in Houston in 2017. The restaurant chain’s sister-bakery Badolina opened in June 2021.

A plate of creamy hummus with a side of toasted pita bread.
Guests visiting Hamsa can expect delish hummus, shared plates and charcoal-grilled meats.
Kirsten Gilliam

Hamsa is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Badolina Bakery & Cafe

5555 Morningside Drive, , TX 77005 (832) 649-5909 Visit Website

Doris Metropolitan

620 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Doris Metropolitan

2815 South Shepherd Drive, , TX 77098 (713) 485-0466 Visit Website