Over the past few years, Israel has arrived on the international
stage as an up-and-coming culinary destination, though it seems obvious
to locals who have long recognized the unique and diverse cuisines that
come together across the country.
impossible to give – and impossible to defend – a list of the best
restaurants in the country, but here I present eight varied options for
dining across Israel that offer something for everyone.
both kosher and non-kosher, haute cuisine and homey fare, classic
French dishes and traditional Palestinian food, chic nightlife and
family-style dining, Israeli restaurants have something to offer any
From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Caesarea and
the Golan, innovative and memorable dining abounds – and here are just a
few of the restaurants you won’t regret visiting.
rare to find a restaurant open 24/7. And any that are usually serve
fast food or reheated dishes. But Brasserie churns out high-quality
French cuisine in a cosmopolitan atmosphere all day – and all night.
breakfast try the brioche or croque madame, for lunch a BLT or beef
carpaccio and in the middle of the night - well, anything goes. But a 2
a.m. croissant or cream-cheese and lox sandwich can’t hurt.
course dinner is the main attraction, so don’t miss out on beef
bourguignon, crab ravioli, duck cassoulet or grilled merguez sausages.
offers different specials every night of the week, so make sure to
check the menu before you go so you won’t miss your favorite. The food
is pricey but not prohibitively so, and each dish is presented with such
attention to detail that you feel you get your money’s worth. If you
have a sweet tooth, no matter what the time of day, don’t miss the
profiteroles, chocolate gateau or crepes suzette.
Etai Sobel follows the French culinary tradition of utilizing all of an
ingredient, and his impeccable plating of each dish completes th is
unique dining experience.
70 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv (03) 696-7111
in the industrial zone of Herzliya Pituah, Vino Socca is an enchanting
and thoughtful kosher dining experience. Located underground, the
restaurant is fashioned after 19th-century European salons, with its low
lights, soft jazz music and opulent design. Parisian- trained chef
Yishai Attias offers an upscale European menu with touches of
Jerusalem artichoke cream soup with alioli crostini, fish sashimi with
salmon caviar, mini radishes, fresh chili, olives and citrus, lamb osso
bucco with potato and green bean cream, and beef fillet with goose liver
in a red wine and fig sauce. While at many kosher restaurants the
desserts aren’t worth the calories, Vino Socca pastry chef Adir Baum has
some offerings you should not miss, including a Belgian chocolate bomb,
banana tatin and a selection of petit fours.
7 Galgalei Haplada Street, Herzliya Pituah 072-216-3739
in the picturesque Galilee is the memorable Muscat restaurant, housed
inside the Mitzpe Hayamim spa and hotel in Rosh Pina.
restaurant is the brainchild of chef Haim Tibi, a native of nearby
Safed, who built the menu around the produce from a local organic farm,
and serves mostly organic meat as well. Dishes like the duck liver
tortellini, grilled veal sweetbreads, pickled salmon tartare with salmon
caviar, and organic goat with white beans and black cabbage ragu come
recommended. You can sip on wine made at local Golan wineries while
enjoying the view from the restaurant’s wrought iron windows.
Starters run from NIS 37- 52 and mains from NIS 95- 145.
27 Rosh Pina Street, Rosh Pina (04) 699-4555
should you expect from a microbrewery/ restaurant? And a kosher one at
that? Jem’s, a Petah Tikva eatery run by two American immigrants, will
exceed all your expectations.
The restaurant is
in the same building as the brewing facilities, lending to its
industrial, funky vibe (and a tour, if you ask nicely).
the menu is obviously its six house-brewed beers, including amber ale,
dark lager and stout, plus reasonably priced food to match. It offers
beer-battered onion rings, homemade sausages, steak, a meatball hero and
The menu also includes beer pairing recommendations for several dishes.
For the beer enthusiast or the adventurous tourist, Jem’s is a spot not to miss.
15 Hamagshimim Street, Petah Tikva (03) 919-5367
Machneyuda is one of the most buzzed-about restaurants in Jerusalem, and is famed for having a reservation waitlist a mile long.
by celebrity chefs Yossi Elad, Asaf Granit and Uri Navon, the
restaurant takes both its name and its ingredients from the neighboring
Mahaneh Yehuda open market. Because of that seasonality, the menu
changes regularly, but offers Mediterranean food with a wide variety of
influences. Expect dishes like polenta with mushrooms and asparagus,
deconstructed kebab with tehina yogurt, seafood risotto with sun-dried
tomatoes, mussels, and goat cheese and sweetbread kebabs. The menu is
divided by price, from below NIS 48 (sashimi and ginger vinaigrette)
below NIS 68 (calamari with charred eggplant cream) and NIS 77 and up
(pile of crabs with preserved lemons and harissa). There is also a
tasting menu for NIS 265 a person.
10 Beit Ya’acov Street, Jerusalem (02) 533-3442
Haj Kahil family has been in the restaurant business for decades, but
their eponymous restaurant in Jaffa was opened only a couple of years
ago, and has already become a popular destination.
upscale dining with traditional Arab food, Haj Kahil is guided by chef
Omar Iluwan, who was selected for the job after passing an “audition” by
Bringing a taste of Galilee food
to the center of Israel, Haj Kahil offers dishes like labane with garlic
and walnuts; lamb rib stuffed with rice, ground entrec?te and almonds;
spicy halabi kebab served on a bed of roasted tomatoes and topped with
pastry dough; or kebabs skewered on cinnamon sticks.
if you’re stuffed to the gills after dinner, don’t skip dessert: Try
the pistachio malabi or atayef with walnut and cinnamon filling. The
prices are reasonable and the portions generous.
author Joan Nathan included Haj Kahil on her tour of the best
restaurants in Israel in 2010, and renowned pastry chef and blogger
David Lebovitz said his 2012 meal there resulted in “the best day of my
18 Raziel Street, Jaffa 057-942-8347
ultimate in chic Tel Aviv dining, Herbert Samuel allows you to enjoy
your meal opposite the sea, either at the funky bar downstairs or next
to the glass-enclosed kitchen on the second floor. The Mediterranean has
a clear influence on the restaurant’s menu as well, with many fish
dishes, including salmon tartare, grouper filet, calamari and even
Owned by celebrity chef Yonatan
Roshfeld, the restaurant changes its menu seasonally to make use of
fresh ingredients like in its grilled artichoke hearts, endive, pear and
blue cheese salad and tataki-style mushroom and beets. Carnivores have
plenty to eat as well, with veal canneloni, lamb chops or spareribs with
caramelized pear and shallots.
Dinner is pricey, but hey, you’re paying for the food plus the name, the ambiance and the view.
6 Koifman Street, Tel Aviv (03) 516 6516
an experience unlike any other, chef Moshe Basson has guided the
Eucalyptus restaurant to becoming a Jerusalem sensation. With its focus
on “biblical cuisine” and Basson’s drive to spotlight ingredients local
to the Land of Israel, Eucalyptus has become a hit with locals and
The restaurant is located in Hutzot Hayotzer, Jerusalem’s artist colony, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating.
include “Jacob and Esau’s biblical red lentil stew” and “Hubeza – warm
salad prepared in the style of the siege on Jerusalem,” while entrees
include “biblical couscous from the days of King Solomon,” “St.
fish fillet” and Golan Heights entrecote. Some of the restaurants most
acclaimed dishes are the figs stuffed with chicken in a sweet and sour
sauce and makluba, a traditional chicken and rice dish with saffron
rice, carrots, eggplant, potatoes served “in an impressive ceremony.”
who has won international culinary awards, is known to adjust the menu
seasonally – when Israel was afflicted with locusts he experimented with
cooking them – so you’ll never know quite what to expect.
14 Hativat Yerushalayim Street, Jerusalem (02) 624-4331