Like duct tape and all the containers we’ve been reusing from our 2020 delivery orders, Fiya has joined the ranks of multipurpose things that we’ve come to rely on.
Whether you need a place for a date, fun group dinner, or solo lunch after checking out the creepy taxidermy at the Wooly Mammoth, this Israeli-inspired spot in Andersonville works for any situation. Fiya’s flexibility comes from a combination of delicious food, versatility, and ease of entry—not only is placing a reservation effortless, but we’ve often just walked in with five friends on a busy Saturday night and been seated immediately.
With seats as abundant as the number of potholes in Chicago, there’s room for every dining scenario. It’s relaxed enough for midday drinks at the bar on your day off, yet the large back room also works for 20 people at dinner singing “Happy Birthday” with the obnoxious enthusiasm of musical theater majors. There are plenty of tables for two, and the lighting is just dim enough to set the mood without needing a headlamp to see the spread of Israeli food on your table. Fiya is like your multifaceted friend who is fluent in Python and a member of the Plumbers Local 130 Union, if this same friend also had a khachapuri side hustle.
The menu highlights international influences on Israeli cuisine, ranging from the northern tip of Africa to the Caucasus. By default, most dishes come with pita, a policy we fully support. The flatbread is airy, a little yeasty, with the ideal amount of char—a perfect utensil for scooping up creamy hummus topped with things like eggplant, falafel, or roasted chicken. The fluffy pockets are also our preferred way of rescuing tender pieces of Moroccan whitefish out of zesty tomato-pepper sauce, and airlifting them into our mouths.
Most of the food here is baptized in a glorious smoky flavor by Fiya’s MVP: a massive wood-fired oven in the center of the restaurant. Surrounded by counter seats, it’s the best spot for a solo meal of Georgian khachapuri overflowing with tangy shakshuka, or a flaky Yafo pot pie packed with savory lamb sausage, short rib, and sweet dates. And as you eat, you’ll watch the oven make enough pita to fill every pothole in Andersonville.
In exchange for delicious food, Fiya doesn’t demand much of you. You don’t have to wait outside for two hours just to get a seat at the bar, or give up your seat on SpaceX just so you can grab the only available reservation over the next four months. Just walk in ready for some fantastic Israeli food—come alone, with your coworkers, or with your friend who you need to pay back for fixing both your computer and your sink.
Roasted Chicken with Gribenes Hummus
Pillowy pita comes with all six hummus variations—a different hummus for each work day, assuming your work week is modeled after God’s. The roasted chicken with gribenes is our favorite. Pieces of chicken and salty skin cracklings fold into the velvety hummus, making a savory dip that complements the pita’s smoky char.
You’ll definitely want to order one of these toasty bread boats, which are filled with either shakshuka or mushrooms. The firm khachapuri holds everything without getting too soggy, yet the inside is still soft enough to absorb the juices from the filling. Topping everything off is an alluring egg yolk that's continuously flagged as inappropriate by Instagram.
Roast Heirloom Carrots
This small plate can add some sweetness to you meal. The nutty dukkah and honey balance out the tartness of the creamy labneh, and the carrots are pleasantly smoky. Get this.
Order this if you’re prepared to demonstrate your carving skills. The whole chicken is fully intact, presented with a knife sticking out of it like Excalibur. The meat is juicy, with the signature smokiness that comes from the oven. And zhug, apple, and caramelized onions on the side make each bite sweet, savory, tart, and spicy.
If you can’t tell by its three-time appearance on this rundown, we like the chicken here. But the schnitzel is on the bottom of the podium. The meat is tough, and the orange blossom slaw accompanying it is salty and overdressed.
Yafo Pot Pie
Beneath the pot pie's delicate pita crust lies a bubbling red ocean of shakshuka, short rib, lamb sausage, and dates. The rich meat complements the tanginess from the tomatoes, all while having a tinge of sweetness. This is a must-order.
Despite having just three components—trout, a spicy tomato-pepper sauce, and citrusy zhug—the Moroccan fish is one of the most flavorful dishes on Fiya's menu. It comes with a single piece of pita, but order more to soak up every drop of sauce. A few extra loaves won't cause the oven to self-destruct.
Unlike the Moroccan Fish, this cheesecake needs to do less. Packed with sour cream icing, rose and orange water, a kataifi topping, pomegranate sauce, and rose petals, there’s too much happening with this dessert. All the ingredients fight for your attention and it tastes like a Yankee Candle.