Urban Rustic Cafe: Hollywood, Fla.

First of all, I'd like to erase some confusion. All mentions on the web say, "Urban Rustic Bagel"; while there is a bagel in their logo, there is no mention of bagel being a part of their name in the restaurant itself, though bagels are on the menu. In the restaurant, all signage says, "Urban Rustic Cafe." I guess they recently changed their name, which is a good thing.

On my recent trip to Florida, I had heard of this new cafe, but discounted it, since I can get a bagle any place. I don't travel for bagles. But a chance encounter on Shabbos with a familiar face led me to try them that night. It's a pretty convenient location – a mile or two from the Hollywood Jewish community; across the street from two hotels; right near the highway; and 5 minutes drive from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The place is bright and airy, with an actually urban and rustic feel to it. (Who even knew what that was??) Very high ceilings, fun wall paper, with aluminum and wood decor everywhere. They also have some outdoor seating. It wasn't very crowded when we were there late on a saturday night, but it was comfortably busy.

The type of food served here is cafe, with a mediterranean spin on a lot of the dishes. They had classic Israeli food – shakshuka, jabbeta, malawah and the like – and mediterranean style eggs, but also more mainstream breakfast food, sandwiches, pasta and even fish. And, as seems to be popular in Florida these days, they also serve sushi. I always like to try another place's sushi, and it wasn't bad, but not amazing. They didn't give me any ginger or wasabi, which dampened the experience, and the rice seemed a tad dry.

I also got a Jerusalem Toast – Balkan style. Whole wheat, with tomato sauce, harisa and Feta and Mozerella cheeses, served with a small salad on the side. Not knowing my sandwich came with a salad, I also ordered the "Urban Rustic Salad" – mixed greens with orange and grapefruit, broken pecans, craisins, cubes of emek cheese, with citrus dressing. It was very good, except they left out the grapefruit.

My wife had the gnocci with tomato cream sauce, which she enjoyed very much.

We were actually back there two days later for breakfast, since we had to catch a flight after breakfast. I had a Greek baguette sandwich – feta, roasted peppers and olive tapenade – which was delicious. The bread was very fresh and very good. We polished off our sandwiches with ice coffees and chocolate croissants – also very fresh and very good.

The service here was pleasant and attentive (but not overly so), and my only complaint is from our evening meal, where they forgot things. Prices were reasonable, our food came out quickly, and everything was very good. I'd definitely go back again.

For more on Kosher Travel and Kosher Restaurants, please visit YeahThatsKosher.com.

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