Open a year ago on Savoy Drive, a stone’s throw from the I-285 and North Shallowford Road exit, Tip Top Kosher Market is the “real deal.” In the rear of its Israeli grocery/market, behind rows of Bamba peanut butter snacks, refrigerated items, burekas, puff pastry, Zion and Tnuva brands, kreplach, Shabbos candles, and yummy babkas, stand a dozenish tables.
The grill kitchen is off to the side where all the magic takes place. Suffice it to say, the dining area is clean, but basic. If you don’t expect a lot of atmosphere, the food is tasty and authentic. Actually, the atmosphere is the TV playing Hebrew music videos and the buzz of crisp Hebrew chatter.
Our server told us that lunches had more Israeli customers, while the Americans tend to come for dinner. She relayed that Sunday, Monday and Thursday are their busiest days.
The staff is attentive, but it’s catch as catch can while negotiating the menu. Some specials are “in” or not, some sides are substituted. The bottom line is, what’s served is quite “yofi” (great): “No roasted potatoes tonight, but we have green beans.” And the green beans were spot on. No complaints there.
Each table is served complimentary appetizers. Ours was purple cabbage slaw, hummus and pita. The chef peeked out of the grill to take on inquiries. “I make the hummus from scratch, but the recipe is top security.” Rabbi Mark Kunis, who was at the adjacent table, said, “It used to be that the best American hummus was worse than the worst Israeli hummus, but no longer so. Here at Tip Top, they use a real chickpea, that’s the secret. The falafel is terrific also, … fresh as can be.” The traditional chopped tomato and cucumber salad was a bit bland, but healthy folks can add salt if desired. The best salad was the green cabbage with olive oil and lemon.
Other dishes we sampled were traditional Israeli shakshuka: two eggs with a rich homemade tomato base. The beef/lamb kebob meat was “mouth melting” – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The server recommended pargiot (chicken thighs), which was appropriately spiced. We also had a chicken breast sandwich, heavy on the tahini, a hint of schug, and well-packed with pickle slices.
Neighboring tables recommended the ribeye salad: mixed lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, grilled onions, sweet potato, with green tahini, $18; Moroccan fish: tomato based with rice, $22; merguez (spicy lamb sausage) with egg salad, eggplant and pickled lemon, $16. A kid’s meal is available for $10.
The chef showed the Atlanta Kashrut Commission certificate on the wall and shared that the mashgiach left at 6 p.m., thus the camera was constantly surveying the prep area. Tip Top is closest to Congregation Ariel, Congregation Beth Shalom and the Marcus JCC. Owners are Israelis, David Malka and Yehonatan Hazot.
Atlanta magazine generously reviewed Tip Top on Aug. 16:
“Chamblee’s Tip Top Kosher Market/Restaurant … However imperfect, Tip Top has its merits. I would go back for the crunchy and juicy schnitzel …”
Moderate your expectations and imagine you are on a side street in Tel Aviv.
The market alone is worth the trip!
Tip Top is at 2211 Savoy Drive. It’s a bit hard to find, adjacent to Mad Italian and a dental office. P.S. No need to dress up!