Alternative medicine that wins everyone’s respect – and tastebuds
You already know that Tel Aviv is peppered with juice shops, vegan eateries, and health havens. For the most part, however, unless you land on the owner, you won’t get helped by someone who is there for more than a paycheck. Not so at Uzi- Eli.
Nearly two decades since the so-called Etrog Man opened up his shop in Jerusalem’sMachane Yehuda market, he still runs it along with his two kids and a well-trained staff of true believers. A second beloved location, at the top of Carmel Market, can be spotted from a mile away – just from the line winding out the door. While you can certainly stop by either of Uzi-Eli’s shops for a fresh orange juice or an almond-date smoothie, you’d be seriously missing out. “My favorite thing to do is open new channels of discovery for the people who come here,” says Uzi- Eli’s daughter Maayan, who runs the Carmel shop. “We speak with our customers and find out what they really need: do they need to boost their immune system? Or maybe they are trying to detox or perhaps they’re looking for more energy.
No matter what the case, I try to get them out of their comfort zone to try something that will truly help them and boost their positive energy.” There are no menus at Uzi-Eli (yet!); it’s all about a two-way conversation here – though there are plenty of repeat customers who buy their favorite juices/smoothies by the gallon. “We show people that healthy can be not only tasty, but also fun.” In fact, while there are plenty of locals know the staff by first name; its locations make Uzi-Eli a tourist magnet for an authentic Israeli experience. One of the most memorable things you do is a tasting, involving various shots made using regional herbs, spices, seasonal fruits, and plants – think hot chocolate with spices, goat yogurt with passion fruit, the ever-popular coldpressed etrog with grapefruit juice, or even Yemenite arak made from raisins.
There is also a popular concoction that blends kombucha, pineapple, greens, moringa, and ginger. All the produce and spices are meticulously sourced locally. It’s not just juices, smoothies, and acai bowls that make this next-level shop a stand-out. Uzi- Eli, a third generation healer, also works with his family to produce a carefully curated selection of etrog-based skincare products and ingestible sprays. The demand for these products has grown rampantly, it lead to starting an e-commerce site to provide remedies to all those who can’t make it to the shops. While the product line is quickly expanding, everything is still made in-house in Jerusalem. “My favorite is the etrog cream and the Pure Cayenne Pepper, which works well to awaken the senses – try it before your next workout!” exclaims Maayan.
The personal touch will always be an Uzi-Eli signature – you can find him in Tel Aviv on Tuesdays and Fridays and in the Jerusalem shop on other week days. Maayan and her brother, Or, who run the Jerusalem location, are working with their father to widens the offerings. Look forward to a forthcoming menu including suggested remedies for everything from fertility issues to diabetes, and the launching of vegan sorbets, cleanse programs individuallytailored to specific needs (think detox, immune boost…), as well as more sweet and savory bowl options (hint: avocado and kiwi will be involved!). With so many people succumbing to weather transitions, there’s no better time to get a burst of positive energy via potions, lotions, and Uzi-Eli’s adorably electric belly laugh.
Uzi Eli Etrog Man, Carmel Market, corner of Allenby and King George Streets