Almah Cafe is a dairy bakery and cafe, located at the very top of Crown Heights. The Kosher Cactus visited Almah Cafe in July of 2021. This review was written in August of 2021.
Where is Almah Cafe located?
Almah is located at 87 Utica Avenue, on the corner of Dean Street. The cafe sits on the exact corner, with its entrance open to the intersection- finding it is a cinch.
The easiest way to get there (I think,) is a car service, like Uber or Lyft. You won’t have to look for parking, which is often hard to come by around that area, and the car will drop you at the door.
You can also take public transport- the B15, B65 and B46 all stop within steps of the cafe. If you’d rather take the subway, the A and C trains stop at Utica and Atlantic Avenue, just a 2-minute walk away.
What time is Almah Cafe open?
The Cafe is open from 8:30AM until 5PM, Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays, they are open from 8:30AM, but closing times vary by season. The cafe is closed on Saturdays.
What is the vibe at Almah?
In Jerusalem, in a back alley behind Yafo St, there’s a tiny little gem called Tmol Shilshom. It’s a little cafe that has become a cult obsession- good food and great service. Almah reminds me of that Cafe- not exactly the decor (although there are a few similarities), but the feeling you experience when you walk through the door.
Almah feels like a little Israeli restaurant. The smell of coffee, the Hebrew speaking cashier, the gentle clamor of an Israeli cafe. There are indoor plants, and Mediterranean tiled countertops. I loved it.
After being stuck in the US for almost 2 years now, going to Almah feels, just a little, like a visit abroad.
Do I need to make a reservation?
Not at all. Although it does get busy, Almah is more often a quick brunch stop for a couple, or a coffee date between old friends than it is an actual long-haul meal.
The turnover is fairly quick, and the seating is plentiful. Even during the winter, there are covered and (mostly) insulated little booths around the back of the cafe that provide extra seating. Fear not- you will be seated.
What kind of food do they serve at Almah Cafe?
Almah is mostly a bakery, but they do have a delicious breakfast/ lunch menu. If you are ever in the area, but don’t want to eat, I’d recommend making a stop just for the rugelach (more on that later).
On the food menu, Almah has Croissant Sandwiches, a few salad options, seasonal soups in the winter, and quiches. There are also breakfasts, which are fairly customizable, but generally include eggs, breads, salads, dips and coffee.
There are also a ton of items that are daily specials. I don’t know how the chefs schedule things (maybe look for the best ingredients that day? No idea.) but there are always different sweet and savory items to choose from. Here today, gone tomorrow.
What is on the menu at Almah Cafe?
The fixed menu at Almah (being, as I said, mainly a bakery) is not extensive. If you see them though, here are three things you must order:
Balagan Quiche. ‘Balagan’ means ‘mess’ in Hebrew. This quiche has a traditional pie base, and not much else that’s traditional. The inside is made of eggs, seasonal vegetables, sourdough bread (!), and cheese. It is incredible. Somehow, this dish never fails me. Every time I take a bite, I want to order another. It’s a little salty, perfectly savory, a little messy and SO. Insanely. Delicious.
Rugelach. There are croissants, which are not rugelach, because they are too flakey. (I love croissants, but can we all agree that they are not rugelach? Thanks. Moving on.) There are ‘rugelach’ that come in a box in the supermarket, and taste faintly of chalk, and honestly? Those are barely rugelach either. You know what real rugelach are? The ones at Almah. Where the dough is rolled so thin, it’s basically baked translucent, and the filling is just a hint of chocolate crumbs. The entire thing is perfectly baked on the outside, and not too dense on the inside. It’s perfection. It is a real Rugeleh (Roogaleh? Rogal? Help?).
Mushroom Boureka. It’s not always available- like all the other bakery items, things come and go depending on what the kitchen made fresh that morning. But this one is a winner. It’s flakey on the outside, and egg-washed with sesame seeds, and when they heat it for you, you can smell the mushrooms inside of the dough from yards away. And then you bite into it and oh, my Gd. It is creamy, and savory, and mushroom-y and so, so good.
What else is on the menu?
How do I go off-menu at Almah Cafe?
Honestly, just ask them to change up your order. As most of the items are pre-made (again, it’s a bakery), there is not much that is adjustable, but if you are ordering a breakfast, a sandwich or a coffee, you can definitely switch things around. Although there are not table-side waiters, I found the staff extremely helpful.
What Hashgacha are they under?
Almah is under the Kosher supervision of the CHK, the Vaad Harabanim of Crown Heights. All the breads are Hamotzi and Pas Yisrael, and the cafe is Chalav Yisrael.
Does Almah serve drinks?
Almah serves coffees, and they are actually pretty good. There is not an extensive drinks list, but you can order any standard coffee, and the barista can make a cup for you. In typical Israeli fashion, there is sometimes tea available, and sometimes not.
Last time I visited, I ordered a Latte. It was great.
Is Almah Cafe kid-friendly?
Almah is kid-friendly, and there are high-chairs available.
I guess it depends what your child likes, but some of the menu items are a little more high-palate (yes, I know that’s not a real thing). That being said, there are always cookies, and I have not met a kid that doesn’t like those.
Is Almah wheelchair accessible?
So technically yes, but it can get tight. Ask the staff to help you- they were super helpful moving tables when we needed extra space. There are also accessible restrooms in the back of the cafe.
Does Almah serve desserts?
Also, a ton of additional pastries, but the options vary day-to-day. The pastries are all made fresh daily, and sometimes you can find incredible cookies that are there for just one day, before they disappear into the abyss of your memory, never to resurface.
It’s an infuriating culinary adventure, but one that keeps me returning. Inevitably, each time I visit I try something new to obsess over.
Almah Cafe has become an increasingly common pit-stop whenever I am travelling (however vaguely) north-bound in Brooklyn. The ambience is something special, the service is fantastic, and the price is very good for the authentic quality of this Israeli-style cafe.
At my last visit, I paid $26 for 5 pastries, a coffee and a mushroom boureka. Not bad, at all.