Betty Soibel
Jerusalem Tour Guide and Educator

The Story of Mimoni’s

Roie and Sigalit Mimoni, February 2024 (Samantha Pearlman)
Roie and Sigalit Mimoni, February 2024 (Samantha Pearlman)

At the turn of the 20th century, early Zionist thinkers dreamt of the “New Jew”. A bold, brazen pioneer, who wasn’t weighed down by the traumas of the Diaspora. A Jew who could take life into his own hands, who was spontaneous but strategic, brave but not boastful. Who tirelessly plowed wheat under a scorching sun, yet wrote prophetic Hebrew poetry by moonlight. 

Meet Roie Mimonis. It may be 2024 and his shop at Agrippas St. 115 is no rocky hilltop. But new culinary frontiers are certainly being explored in this modest shop, one savory veggie-filled pita at a time. 

Hailing from Netanya, Roie grew up in a traditional Moroccan family who trace their roots in the Promised Land several generations back. Not exactly the type of Jew that Herzl and Pinsker dreamt about, but it’s fortunate that dreamers aren’t the ones who build states. A start-up nation would have never arisen from a nation subsisting on gefilte fish and kreplach alone. The unspoken, underappreciated truth of this country is that magic only happens when the Jews who eat injera and the Jews who put hawaij in their soup sit at the same dinner table. 

Back to Roie…

Upon graduating high school, he was drafted to the Golani Brigade at the height of the Second Intifada. A period when blood spilled freely in this land until a wall was built to prevent two nations’ fear and hopelessness from destroying one another. Injured towards the end of his service, Roie was relegated to working in his unit’s kitchen. There, in a desolate army base’s sparse kitchen, Roie found his calling. He loved the creativity, the art that he could create from simple ingredients. Nourishing his fellow soldiers brought him unexpected fulfillment and joy. 

Embracing life after his release, he escaped to Australia, where he traveled, worked on farms and cooked his way through a land better known for its bushmeat than its biscotti. Landing back in Tel Aviv, he answered a newspaper ad for a cook’s position at a high-class restaurant. The chef balked at his youth and inexperience, but was quickly swayed by his unique blend of perseverance and modesty. Seven months later, he was promoted to sous-chef. At 27, he opened his first restaurant, a boutique tapas bar at the heart of Tel Aviv’s nightlife. He loves the physicality and playfulness of tapas, the joy of serving good food to folks dancing the night away.  But even Roie’s stoicism couldn’t withstand the ruthlessness of the Israeli market and he was forced to close up shop. As luck would have it, he found himself in Eilat, becoming a chef at the city’s famed 5th Avenue restaurant, where, one starry night, he met Sigalit, his beautiful wife. 

The two decided to build their home together in Jerusalem, where Roie’s intuition told him to wait patiently for the next adventure to present itself. And just like that, an idea came to him! Grilled cauliflower in a pita. An instant success at the national vegan food festival, he ran with it and decided to open Mimino’s near the historic Mahane Yehuda Market. But not too close; after all, as Roie says, a good meal has to be eaten in peace, so one can really feel the food.  

Miraculously, although Mimino’s unwittingly opened at the dawn of the Covid pandemic, the eatery survived and thrived, quickly becoming a beloved haunt for locals and tourists alike. 

With only five items on the menu, each one is meticulously crafted. Eggplant cooked to perfection usually reserved for steaks, paired with silan and maraschino cherries. His wife’s favorite, the Chef’s Special, a polenta and mushroom dish whose heartiness is offset with freshness of asparagus. Beets thinly sliced and complemented by nuts and fresh greens. 

All the dishes are vegetarian, with Mehadrin-certified, locally sourced ingredients. An ideological decision, you may ask? Not at all. It’s just “kaha”.  

What could be more Israeli than genius paired with shameless self confidence?

Art reflects the artist and in this case, cauliflower and beets tell the story of a young man, fueled by certainty and creativity, who succeeded in an industry often tainted by elitism and cronyism. Perhaps the Zionist dream lives on? 

That’s definitely overthinking it for Roie.

For him, Mimoni’s is simply where his imagination comes to life.

The best news? 

Roie’s newest venture, Mimoniki, a Greek style fish restaurant, will open its doors next week. 

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About the Author
Betty Soibel is a tour guide and Jewish educator. She shares her love of Jerusalem through storytelling and dual narrative education. Her dream is to harness the power of tourism to create a more equitable Jerusalem by giving a voice to communities excluded from the mainstream. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary and a proud alumni of the Yahel Social Change Fellowship. Her latest project is a story series about family owned restaurants in Jerusalem. On any given day, you can find her curled up with a novel in a Nachlaot coffeeshop. She can be reached at
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