Step through Aziza’s massive wooden door and suddenly you’re transported away from the city into a new kind of hustle and bustle. It feels distant, yet familiar; filled with rich culture and a welcoming spirit that says, “come one, come all.” “We wanted the interiors to feel warm; like you’re stepping into someone else’s home back in Israel,” says Aziza owner Tal Baum, who was inspired by her home country.
Designed by Smith Hanes, the modern Israeli restaurant is uncharted territory in Atlanta’s already diverse dining market. To keep the Israeli tradition of sharing alive, executive chef Brandon Hughes built a menu of small plates packed with big flavor. “The menu is a bit of a melting pot with influences from a lot of different Middle Eastern regions,” says Hughes.
Thanks to the open kitchen’s wood-burning oven, guests can immediately recognize the menu’s creative concoctions from the faint smoky aroma that is cast throughout, giving a preview of what’s to come. Indulgent proteins and locally sourced produce are infused with spice medleys in dishes such as the Hummus no.1 with Moroccan braised oxtails and apricots and the Akko prawns with jumbo shrimp, heirloom tomatoes and Persian lime set atop falafel toast.
A crossroad of cultures, the restaurant is a true celebration of food and its ability to bring people together. And with Aziza meaning “happiness” in Arabic, it’s no question that guests will leave feeling just that, according to Hughes. “We have people come in here and say it reminds them of home, and to us, that feels like we’re doing something right.”