the best food in Israel?
We are going to be traveling to Israel in February for a few weeks, and we haven't been there in 17 years. We are looking to eat at the best restaurants and the best felafel stands. We are interested to experience a uniquely Israeli take on the food of the region rather than eating the best Italian, French, sushi, etc. that Israel has to offer. What do you suggest? I saw Elyse Goldstein's food tour of Israel mentioned on this site, but we will be traveling with a local group from Boston- with opportunities to eat a few meals on our own in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
The most satisfying and tastiest food I've had in Israel has been from the small falafel and shawarma stands that you find - and it's all so reasonably priced.
My best advise for eating in Israel is to avoid the touristy locations - seek out where the locals eat (your Israeli guide or the tour bus driver is usually a good one) by asking them - where do you go to eat not where should I go. Typical Israeli choice would be salads and grilled meats.
For falafel look for stands with a variety of salads and turnover. And don't forget the bakeries with fresh bourekas, pitas and pastries.
Depending on your mobility in an industrial part of Natanya is Jacko - a top notch fish restaurant that's been around forever that serves a delicious array of salads & fish -not cheap but worth the trip if you like fish especially grilled. They may have other locations but Natanya is the one to go to.
In Jerusalem I would avoid the food in Mahane Yehuda - tourist quality, tourist prices.
In Eilat the most delicious meal I had was after asking my desert Jeep excursion guide where he ate and he took me to a restaurant (once again in an industrial area - do we see a theme here?) with a variety of salads and grilled meats. Sorry don't remember the name but boy was that a good meal.
Enjoy Israel - it is simply a fantastic place to visit and chow - and let us know how it turns out.
re: Pizza Lover
Pizza Lover, did you mean Ben-Yehuda instead of Machaneh Yehuda? Machane Yehuda is where Jerusalemites (including this one) go to buy fresh food of all sorts. It isn't a restaurant; mostly stands, small stores, and bakeries. Ben Yehuda is the pedestrian mall where all the tourists go. I keep my distance from there.
I live near the Talpiot Industrial zone and do not have to walk far to find excellent grilled meat and hummus. Thee are several on Yad Harutzim. And I am also near a burekas factory. Tourists don't frequent my area. There are also a number of very good grilled meat places on Agrippas. This used to be a poor neighborhood but now it is near a popular place to live and the meateries do have tour groups come through (generally for lunch). Locals still go to the restaurants.
re: Pizza Lover
With Jacko, the further you go from home base, the worse it gets. Home is on Kehillat Saloniki , north(/) of Kikar Paris in Haifa. It is excellent and cheap. (Always go to the business lunch- everywhere.) Also very good is the branch on Moriah St on the Carmel. Excellent (heimish, if you came from Turkey) salads, fish and surprisingly good desserts. Netanya is so-so.
Look out (as in beware ) for a lot of the places where where the locals eat. There is a lot of bad Ashkenazi and Mughrabi cooking. Its like going to London and eating working class.
I haven't been there in a long time, but for a lovely meal check out "Dag al haDan", which translates to "Fish on the Dan (River)" It's waaaaay up north, north of Kiryat Shemona. A fish restaurant in a beautiful setting. It's worth going up north anyway.... very different experience than the central Tel Aviv/Jerusalem experience most tourists get!
I also have to mention a tiny little mountain town called Peki'in, where you can watch Iraqi-style pita made and immediately stuffed with Labeneh, a wonderful sour white cheese, and za'atar, a terrific middle-eastern spice. You want authentic, off the tourist path food, this is it! Again, in a beautiful setting.
Have a wonderful trip!
Raphael in the dan hotel
Okinawa (best sushi)
I guess what you are looking for is to get a taste of some or most of those local goodies:
I'd love to try and lead a group of (overseas) foodies to Israel's "Taste of the best", (at least for my own taste buds). I know some of the best places, and hope I’m available (after 20th Feb).
Only issues are how many are you, how long can you allow for such a tour. We'll have to manage our tour very carefully, with the (hopefully) help of all restaurants /food stalls/ holes in the wall Etc as most of the dishes in this list are very fulfilling, and if you'd wish to taste a lot, a quarter portion of each should suffice…
Let me know how this sounds?
There are a number of excellent restaurants in Israel. Bruno in Tel Aviv is fantastic. It is located in the Azrieli Center, an archiecturally stunning office/ shopping complex. Orna and Ella on Rehov Sheinkin is a young, happening cafe serving light meals all day and more substantial dinners. Orca in Tel Aviv is sensational and Lilith, near Rehov Sheinkin is dairy/vegetarian and also outstanding. Enjoy!