Upper West Side fans of celebrity chef Eyal Shani – and Israeli cuisine in general – have reason to be excited: Malka, Shani’s renowned Tel Aviv-based restaurant, will open a location at 161 W. 72nd St. (between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues) in early November.
Chef Shani has several successful restaurants in New York City including HaSalon, Shmoné, Port Sa’id, and Miznon (an outpost of which, North Miznon, previously occupied the space at 161 W. 72nd St.). But Malka will be Shani’s first kosher restaurant in the United States. Greenwich Village’s Shmoné was awarded a Michelin star in 2018.
One menu highlight will be the Malka Schnitzel, which is filled with a potato mash and has become a favorite at many of Chef Shani’s restaurants. The menu will be refreshed regularly and will change with the seasons, a strategy Shani employs at all of his worldwide establishments. Other highlights upon opening will include eggplant sashimi, artichoke pasta, and grouper shawarma. Here’s a draft of the opening menu (subject to change).
Malka will be open for dinner from Sunday through Thursday and will close on Fridays at sundown for the observance of Shabbat. The restaurant will open for late-night dining and gatherings on Saturdays during the winter. Through November, 10% of proceeds will be donated to humanitarian relief organizations in Israel.
Since closing temporarily earlier this year, the North Miznon space has been redesigned but will feel familiar to those who have dined there previously (though the second floor has been transformed into a private dining room built to host events).
Jess Masanotti will take on the role of head chef at Malka. A former Charlotte-based food blogger with little restaurant experience, Masanotti was hired as a line cook at North Miznon in 2020. She quickly climbed the ranks and was eventually promoted to head chef.