When we last spoke with Owner/Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis they had recently opened Bestia (2012) in DTLA’s emerging Arts District. Flash forward to the recent opening of their long-in-the-works Bavel (buh-vel), also in the Arts District. It’s Middle Eastern flavors with influences from Israel, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt.
“Bavel, in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, is a Middle Eastern restaurant from Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. With family roots in Israel, Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt, Ori and Genevieve have always wanted to open a restaurant that showcases the cuisines of their family lineages, bringing together the flavors and dishes they grew up with.”
With a background in the field of interior design, Genevieve played a key role in the design of both Bestia and Bavel.
“Bavel – Stems from the story of Babel, from the original Old Testament. The Hebrew letters ‘b’ – bet, and ‘v’ – vet, both look the same, except that bet has a dot in the center of it. It is theorized that when the Old Testament was translated, it was not transcribed properly and Bavel turned into Babel.”
“The name is pronounced how it was originally written – Bavel (buh-vel). The story of Bavel is from a time when the Middle East was one. The people of Babylon came together to build a tower to heaven but God did not want them to succeed. In turn, he gave the people different languages so they could no longer communicate and work together.”
“When we read this story, we liked the word Bavel, because it was written during a time when everything was one – Bavel is not specific to any one region.”
We pull them both from the bustling Bavel kitchen (incredible bread is baking) for a chat.