Sat-Thu, 10am-midnight; Fri, 9am-midnight
6 at Astor Pl.; L at First Ave.; F at Second Ave.
It is said that Israelis are hard on the outside and soft on the inside, like their native Sabra fruit. Such is the case for the Holyland Market. It’s nothing to look at from the front; you might even dismiss it as just another local bodega. But inside, this Israeli-owned grocery store is heaven on earth if you’re in search of imported Middle Eastern products. The basics from Osem and Elite are there, but looking deeper into the shelves, you’ll find such wonderful delights as the peanut buttery Bamba, shaped like stateside Cheese Doodles, and Crembo, a delicate chocolate cream bell, at remarkably low prices. Tucked away in the back freezers and fridges are burekas in assorted varieties, and Milky, a breakfast chocolate pudding with a frothy topping. Packages of Israeli cous-cous fly out of the store—it’s bigger and toastier-tasting then its American counterpart—as does zaatar, a savory spice mixture that natives use to cook with or just sprinkle directly on pita. Just as in Israel, a store like this attracts not only Israelis, but plenty of Palestinians, Kuwaitis, and Saudis, who, owner Eran Hileli says, are thrilled to find their native cuisine. "I opened the store because I wanted these items for myself," Hileli laughs. "Now, I’m feeding everyone."Extra
Holyland Market has a good-size section of Israeli cleaning supplies and beauty products, along with a selection of Israeli movies, music, magazines, and newspapers.