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Best food (any price pt) Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Galil?

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We're coming to Israel in May this year.

My fiancee and I are foodies but, when traveling, we like to stick to a tighter budget.

We were looking for suggestions for incredibly tasty foods in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in the Galil/Golan.

In TA, I'm definitely hitting Itzik HaGadol. that kind of food/experience is totally what we're after.
Exceptional falafel would be great. The best rogelach or food in Shuq Machaneh Yehudah would also be great to hear about.

Any little tidbits, like the best street vendor for freshly-squeezed orange juice, or a great place to buy spices, or perhaps the best Ethiopian resto in Israel (i personally like the place on Yaffo st in Jerusalem near the old city) are great things I'd love to hear.

The more down to earth, the happier we will be. and please, nothing touristy.

Look forward to your replies

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  1. Can't help you as much with Tel Aviv and the Galil (though personally I'm dying to try this place called the Milk Man and the Witches Caldron in the Golon - can't say if it's good or bad though at this point, it's really close to Nimrod), but I think I have some good Jerusalem recommendations.

    In the Machaneh, the best restaurant is called Azure and is located in the Iraqi Market. If the shuk is divided into too main streets, the Iraqi market is in a side loop furthest away from the Old City and closert to Jaffo than Agrippas. Azure is mentioned in Lonely Planet and totally worth it, best kube soup and they only make the part of the their menu for the ingredients they can get super fresh. Best ruggelah from the shuk (according to just about anyone here) is from Marzipan which is located inbetween a liquor and candy store outside the shuk on Agrippas going towards the Ben Yehuda area.

    Best falafel is one of those things that vary based on your preference of either the falafel balls vs the toppings. However, the falafel place at the end of the main road furthest away from the Old City on Agrippas across from Aroma says they have the best and if you go during the day, definitely has the freshest. Shalom Falafel on Bezalel also gets good reviews (my personal favorite is located by Hebrew University near French Hill and isn't really worth the trip unless you happen to be staying in the Hyatt).

    Best street food is to be found near the Damascus gate on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Personally my favorite kebab vendor is the second guy away from the Damascus gate across the street. There's a guy who does kebabs and some kinda offal looking thing I've never had the nerve to ask about and then the guy after him - though in all fairness the stuff looks pretty similar. There's also a guy around the Damascus gate who makes something that looks an awful lot like churros. Those kebabs should never be more than 10 sheckles and you should get two kebabs of meat in your pita. Also by the Damascus gate is the Jerusalem Hotel which possibly has one of the nicest "middle eastern" dining experiences at pretty fair prices. Friday night is the best there cause they have live music, but for then you need reservations but it's really worth it. You can easily do a couple drinks, a meal, and a shisha for less than 100 sheckles a person. There's another Middle Eastern restaurant in the Old City in the Arab Market. From Damascus gate, if you take the road that takes you away from the Dome of the Rock and Western Wall, it's the second restaurant you'll see on your right. My roommate claims it's the best Shish Tawook she's ever had in her life.

    The Ethiopian restaurant you mentioned on Jaffa is still the best Ethiopian restaurant that I'm aware of, and also near there there's this soup place - where the name and the street are escaping me, but if you ask at your hotel for the restaurant that just has soup - they should know what it is. In terms of Jerusalem "finer dining", admittedly when I do that I usually seek out food from home that I can't get here often (esp. sushi) - and it's hardly amazing. Cafe Rimon is a better taste of Jerusalem tourist dining (nice representation of Israeli cuisine) - but it is straight up tourist. However, most restaurants in Jerusalem, Arab or Israeli, are going to have English menus - so all of them do slightly cater to tourists, but some are just more worth it than others.

    For buying spices I personally haven't found one amazing place, though there is a store on Aggrippas that's pretty good. In general the Macheneh or the suk in the Old City (no where they sell spices in the Market leading from Jaffo, that's clearly a tourist market) have fairly similar quality. And anyone who tries to sell you saffron totally worth running far far away from.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cresyd

      The soup place you are referring to is Marakiya and is located on Coresh St.

      1. re: cresyd

        The falafel place that you're mentioning, though out of the way, makes what I think is the best falafel in the city. Tons of well-made, fresh ingredients to put in; the falafel balls are usually a minute or two old, if that much. They're incredibly well-priced (9 shekels for a pita, 14 for a laffa), friendly, and do brisk business. There are places to sit. It looks like a real-live, authentic palestinian falafel joint.

      2. Best rugelach definitely Marzipan in Machaneh Yehuda. Friday morning is a madhouse, but loads of fun. We've taken them back to the states (Marzipan provides plastic boxes for travelers) and they were even great frozen then defrosted.
        Food - try Darna, on Horkenos just off Jaffa Road (tiptoeing over the construction craters). Amazing Moroccan food, beautiful restaurant...strange waitresses...
        Enjoy!

        2 Replies
        1. re: DebbyT

          I second Marzipan for rugelach! I especially liked the cinnamon version. Ooey and gooey! :)

          1. re: junglekitte

            I will 3rd Marzipan. I stubled across it and in a word, the pastries are amazing.

        2. Hello! My husband and I just returned from Israel and I've been all over the world but Israel has the best food i've ever eaten. There's an incerdibly good italian-mediterranian restaurant in tel aviv called Boccaccio. Web address is www.boccaccio.co.il. I had the fettuccini marinara (creamy) with seafood and the chocolate cake...the chocolate cake was the best ever. It was near the beach and very down to earth. It was obviously family owned and run. There are two hotels in the old city in jerusalem that had good food: the Legacy and the American Colony. The hotels have tourists but don't seem touirsty because everyone is visitng form different countries and speaking different languages. Try the St. Peters fish grilled or baked (they serve it at many restaraunts.) It's really good. Have a safe trip!

          5 Replies
          1. re: cherietownsend

            I'll second the recommendation for Boccacio. It's on Hayarkon across the street from the Dan Tel Aviv, and has extremely fresh pasta and several great veal dishes (we particularly liked the Egel Boccaccio with the Port Wine reduction).

            A couple of other restaurants worth trying in Tel Aviv/Jaffa if you want to get something off the beaten track, but still relatively fine dining, would be Nanotchka on Lillenblum (a Georgian bistro/bar) and Poyke in Jaffa, which is a South African steakhouse.

            Also, a good reference for dining in Israel, particularly Tel Aviv, is the Haaretz Friday Magazine, which is in English.

            1. re: sdrucker

              The reviewer is David Rogov. I have eaten along his trail because of a lack of choice- don't speak Hebrew- and I can tell you that it is a trail of broken dreams.

              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                that sounds very sad :)

                went to Israel in May 2009. forgot about my post, so i thought i would follow up with the restos i ate at. by the way, just a warning to you all: had our car broken into in Caesaria. jerks stole everythings. but anyways...

                Tel Aviv: Agenda, near Dizzingoff Mall. Excellent shwarma. and i normally wouldn't rave about shwarma, but its excellent there.
                Itzik HaGadol - kind of touristy, but i still think all the salads plus the shishlik you get it excellent and worth it. go there hungry.
                Abu Hassan - their humus and masabacha is unbelievable. their ful was ok. worth the visit.

                Jerusalem: Marzipan - rugelach are unreal.
                In Shuk Machaneh Yehudah, just off of Aggripas, there's an alleyway near the entrance. there's a small cafe in that alleyway across from the butchershop. they have excellent shakshuka and great pancakes and make a nice latte.

                in the Galil/Golan: we stayed in Rosh Pina. the food itself in Rosh Pina was not amazing except there was a good falafel/humus restaurant at the foot of the city near the first traffic circle. it has a large patio. its known for its humus.
                the best restaurant was a shishlik grill on Rte 90 5 minutes south of Rosh Pina in a Paz gas station on the east side of the highway. very good food and salads.
                otherwise, we ate at Julia's in Rosh Pina and it was probably our most mediocre meal while in Israel.

                Rosh HaNiqra - there is a really cool Golan Brewpub in the park. when i say "cool", i mean that its nice to be able to get Israeli beer other than Goldstar or Maccabi. and Golan beer is pretty good. the food was good/above average. the view was spectacular.

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  Do you have any recommendations from when you strayed from Rogov's suggestions?

                  1. re: rickshawpete

                    Please see my posts further .

                    Addendum .
                    Petra is now in Ness Ziona. The food is still very good, but he room is deafeningly noisy. I felt as if I had gone 10 rounds in a boxing ring and had lost. Sorry, but I will not return except in real off hours. Replaced in Rehovot by :

                    Fresco, 23 Herzl, Rehovot, hidden behind a screen next to a supermarket, second from the corner.
                    Brilliantlty named and a huge bargain. Roumanesque., second or third generation. By this I mean that much garlic and vinegar have been displaced by sweet. . Six salads for the table, another 20 in the salad bar. Good ingredients, and even if you would prefer an acidic dressing , many are good. NIS 45 for salads alone, but a real deal with a main. NIS 55 if you have the Roumanian kebob ( quite good and kiddie friendly) with salads. Same with salmon NIS79. The chicken schnitzel was a big piece of real chicken. All mains come with good potato wedges. Large portions. Salmon enough for two and succeeded in getting kitchen to follow request, cook less than usual.

                    Went with Ms and 4 smallish children. Was considered an American tourist by the waiter and he was a gracious host. See contra, El Babour above.
                    Enjoy

            2. For spices you must go to the Levinski spice market in south Tel Aviv. Not easy to get to, but worth it. It is one of the real Israeli experiences. Mountains of spices, nuts, and dried fruit. Also a good place to try turkish bourekas - there are at least two places with a large selection. Also Turkish and Persian restaurants with simple but tasty food. Note that this is not the same as the Carmel Market, which is better known but not as interesting.

              In Tel Aviv I like Manta Ray and Pini BeChazer - both on the beach between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Beautiful views and great food - even though the two usually don't go together. For more upscale Herbert Samuel is not far from there. Very popular, and everyone sits at the bar.

              I'm not a big fan of Jerusalem restaurants, but Adom and Terra are two good choices. In the hills outside Jerusalem, the Midbach shel Rama provides nice, al fresco dining, and should be open by May.

              The Golan and Upper Galilee I find to be a bit of a culinary wasteland. It's set up for the loads of Israeli tourists who come up for weekends. The Western Galilee has better offerings. Acco is a great place to eat, as well as being the most beautiful Arab city in Israel. Kibbutz Cabri has a good restaurant, and Tarschica has good food (and the best Arab pastries I've tasted in Israel).

              Finally, here are two good, English foodie websites in Israel. http://www.israelikitchen.com/
              http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/

              Mostly recipes, but they also write about their culinary travels in Israel.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MarkC

                Thanks for suggesting my blog, Mark. There is a very interesting restaurant in Kfar Rama in the Galil called Ezba that I recommend and have blogged about. And, you must go to Uri Burri in Acco. It is the best fish restaurant in the country. Also, Al Babour restaurant in Umm al Faham and Diana in Nazareth..

              2. PS If you're feeling intrepid, you can try Hummus Lina in the old city in Jerusalem. Through Damascus gate, make a right at the restaurant with the big coca-cola sign, about half way up on the left. A hole in the wall, it's rated as among the best in Israel. You can also ask any of the locals how to get there. Everyone's friendly and speaks English. Nearby, on one of the main arteries that skirts a pinkish church, there's a vendor that sells kadaif - pancakes which are folded around a filling of nuts or cheese and then coated with syrup and baked in an oven. Tasty and fun, you have to get lucky to find him open. Once he told me that he opens when the local schools let out, so I guess around mid-afternoon.

                Half the fun will be finding these places. It's a kind of adventure, but totally safe.

                1. PPS: Sorry for the multiple replies. I'm sick at home today.

                  I have lived in Israel for fifteen years and have to admit that I'd never heard of Itzhik ha Gadol, so I looked them up on the internet. I've never eaten there and I certainly wouldn't say anything bad about them, I'm sure the food is fine, but if you're looking for an "authentic" chowhound experience, this isn't it. It's what's called here a "steaki'yah", serving a first course of hummus and other salads (mezzot), followed by grilled meat on skewers. They are very common here, and there is nothing special about this one. Maybe in Encino it's special.

                  I don't like "steakiyot". Amazingly, with all the wonderful spices they have here, Israelis- both Arabs and Jews- are the most unimaginative, lackluster grill cooks in the world. They throw the meat on the fire with nothing more than a little lemon juice, if you're lucky. The Turks are infinitely better, not to mention someone like Bobby Flay. So I would stay away from Israeli grill restaurants. You will be stuffed with food, but disappointed.

                  If you simply walk down Ibn Gvirol street (around the municipality), or down Dizengoff, or Bograshov (all in Tel Aviv) you will find tons of great little places to eat. If you're going to go into Jaffa, go to Abu Hassan aka Ali Karavan for great hummus, as someone else suggested. Get there early (around 12:00) to get a table.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: MarkC

                    Time to defend the Galil. There are lots of places up north doing interesting things with food and using local ingredients. My favorite is Ruberg located at kibbutz Livnim just north of Mgar junction towards the north of the Sea of Galilee. It's fine dining in a rustic atmosphere and a great value. I haven't been there in about a year, but the price for their tasting menue was about NIS 125 at the time. You get really creative appetizer selections and, if you like one, ask for more. This is followed by a soup course (two soups) and by about 6 main courses. Of course the portions are not large, but you get to taste a lot of offerings. Lots of food for the money, and good. I keep kosher, so I am impressed by the Pagoda, which is a very good Chinese kosher restaurant, also along the Seal of Galilee and they have a more expensive "sister" restaurant called Decks featuring upscale grill entrees and an Argentinian-style grill with large cuts of beef skewered and placed at the edge of a large open coal pit. I am partial to their onion loaf appetizer and the grilled duck (moulard) breast. There are also many boutique wineries and cheese makers in the Galilee. I recently visited a small cheese factory called Nokdim in a village called Gilon, which makes excellent goat cheeses. The owner loves to talk about his cheeses and is free with the samples. Similarly good cheese may be found in Ein Kamonim just off the Acre-Safed road on the way to the Amiad Junction. BTW, kibbutz Amiad, just north of the Amiad junction has a decent winery. (If you're already up north, take the tour of the Golan winery in the Golan and sample some of the best wines in Israel from an international prize-winning operation.) In Atlit (south of Haifa on the coast) is the original fisherman's restaurant, Ben Ezra. It ain't fancy and all they offer is fish and lots of salads, all good and fresh and reasonably priced. Moshav Ilaniya is home to a fine restaurant called Makom b'Sejera, which serves mostly home-grown organic meats and vegetables (not cheap). Moshav Amirim (on the way to Safed) is a vegetarian village with a good number of residents operating vegetarian restaurants adjacent to their own homes.
                    Sorry for going on so, but there's a lot of great things happening in the Galilee. It's not as glitzy as Tel Aviv, and maybe not quite Tuscany, but for fine dining using local ingredients, it's a great region to explore.

                    1. re: MarkC

                      You're on the mark. Itzhak Ha Gadol is a big bore. MarkC, please recommend your favourites by name.

                      As for lawmann's recommendation of Ben Ezra in Atlit, it is in new, fancy premises near the railway station. Seats about 250. The food has changed It now is as if by the daughter of the Polish baal buste who had imagined her self a good cook, the daughter who subscribes to the kosher cooking magazine. Nice china. Keep going so that you retain the pleasure of anticipation.

                      Now for you Baroness T. You must be following the Rogov trail. We tried because we had nothing else to go on and found very little but disappointment. I can't understand how he and I can have such different views; I am an easy going guy who is an aesthetic relativist.

                      Uri Burri is insultingly bad. We left after appetizers. Helena in Caesarea, in which Uri is at least a partner, is a bit better, but there is still the feeling of insult and being had.We left after a few dishes

                      El Babour is bad (institutional caterer quality) and we got mistaken as stupid Americans and charged double. I smiled and didn't leave a tip.

                      Absoutely the worst imaginable salads at Diana: eg, tomato cut in quarters and tahina dumped on it. Hard to believe that anyone Arab could make stuff like that. We left after salads.

                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                        Vinnie, thanks for the update about Ben Ezra. I checked out their website and the place definitely looks a lot fancier (which for me is probably a minus, and leads me to wonder how much the prices have increased). However, their online menu doesn't seem to indicate the touch of a "daughter who subscribes to the cooking magazine." It's almost identical to their old menu: about 9 fish entrees, a mention of many pre-dinner salads (which you don't order--they bring out the selection of the hour and, in my experience, they were always fresh and good) and two desserts that don't excite (and aren't the reason you go there). The only additions I see are 2 vegetarian offerings (melawah) and french fries (which you could only get by special dispensation from the cook in the old days). The fish is either grilled or fried and it's still run by the same family. So, with the exact same simple menu, what's different now? I'm really curious because I've been going there for over 20 years and consider the place a real find. I always enjoyed taking visitors from abroad who know food. They would make a face when they saw the simple decor (which was a step up from the days when they had newspaper covering the formica tables), but leave smiling after a great meal of simple food done very well.

                        1. re: lawmann

                          The new place is nice, albeit cavernous. But you know, I preferred the old place- it went with the cooking and made the cooking acceptable, at least if you were to go only once.. Ben-Ezra has an universal marinade for the salads that is heavily sweet and heavily garlically. Essentially ruining the vegetables. What wasn.t in the marinade suffered from mishandling. Eg. roasted peppers were too oily and the oil was old and had a strong taste. They do something to the grilled fish. The skin is black (that's carbon, as in Ashkenazi, not spice as in Cajun) but nevertheless the flesh is very, very, moist. Is the fish marinated in oil?

                          In the new place the universal marinade is rafinee- just lighter, and still no good and taking away from the honesty of the garlic. The sweet has to be artificial; it was very unpleasant.

                          What can be said of the place is that it kashruth seems to be impeccable. I have seen men eating there that in North America would be in a restaurant only as a kosher supervisor.

                          The best fish restaurant "of the people " that I have been in is Jacko, either on Salonika, downtown, or on Moriah. I prefer Salonika. Ma plays at running the room, Pa runs the business from the card game across the street. Ask for the rice instead of the potatoes. The only branch outside Haifa left is in Netanya and a big step down.

                          Oh yeah. I have a fight almost everywhere not to have the fish cooked in the local style- overcooked. The pigeon-English "medium" seems to be understood and sometimes effected.

                          VVM.

                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            Vinnie, thanks for the update. I respectfully disagree with your analysis of the salads at Ben Ezra's old location. I always enjoyed the peppers, which were not roasted, but actually deep-fried in oil, ditto for the eggplant slices. Their cabbage salad did have a sweet and sour marinade (which might not be for everyone, but a similar recipe actually became a part of our at-home Shabbat morning meal), but there was a wide variety of good fresh salads: hot pepper salad, moroccan-style carrot salad, a cole-slaw type cabbage salad, burghul, eggplant salad, tehina, just to name a few. Unfortunately, I can't get around much just now, so I haven't tried the new location.

                            I keep kosher, so I've never tried Jacko, but for a few years I worked in the area in Haifa, and the place was always packed at lunchtime.
                            Though I don't have your pedigree in discussing beef, I think that good beef has become available in Israel over the last few years. One example is the Goshen restaurant on Nahalat Binyamin street in Tel Aviv. They dry-age their own beef on-site and it's as good as what I remember from fine (kosher) meat places in the U.S.--such as LeMarais in Manhattan. If you're located north, try buying some fresh beef at Gillis, located at Moshav Nob in the Golan. They grow their own beef and they butcher and age it on premises.
                            I'm interested in your take on the local fare, Do you have any recommendations for kosher places?

                            1. re: lawmann

                              We make our accommodation with beef by using only mince. The Ms. is an excellent cook and does well with it. I am weaning the Ms.off the butcher, NIS68 a kilo. There is a supermarket in Or Akiva ("The Cheapest" ?) that has cheap cuts (assado, breast and another one) on special regularly. So far the prices have been from NIS40 a kilo (lean), 1K NIS40, second half- price (lean) to 3K for NIS100, about 15% waste and excess fat. I am told that meat has not been frozen and is local.

                              There is so much else that is very good to eat in Israel that substantially giving up beef is no hardship.

                              I have recently seen New Zealand lamb at the butcher. It comes by boat to Eilat and is slaughtered there.

                        2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                          Vinnie,

                          I follow my own trail thank you very much! I wonder what type of food you like to eat because all of the restaurants that you mentioned as being bad are quite the opposite. And, I say that as a local and someone who is well travelled. I still stand by my recommendations.

                          1. re: Baroness Tapuzina

                            I have been to the restaurants that you recommend because they have been given promising write ups by Rogov in Haaretz. I am a local- south of Haifa- and am well travelled. I don't eat meat in Israeli restaurants, after having lived in Oklahoma, Sourth Dakota, Alberta and New Zealand inter alia . Let's face reality and not force meat options in Israel. So I sometimes will have kebob , but usually fish. I really like good Arabic cooking and "salads". The Ms. in her cooking is partial to French cook books and cooks to the crossed knives and forks level. The lack of stars comes from not having a sous-chef and not having enough time. ( P.S. I have had grilled meat even at the best of places in Israel that has tasted of the gas used to fire the grill.)

                            I consider the restaurants that I panned to have no redeeming gastronomical value.

                            I recommend as follows, but remember that I don't get out much from my immediate area.

                            Akko- on the sea front, Saraya. Many interesting and excellently made salads but they are better on weekends: the prep cycle. You should pay NIS30 each ; we walked out once when we were asked for NIS70 on initial questioning ( Always a good idea if something doesn't appear on the menu). Later that day a friendlier waiter whom we had had before answered NIS30 so we stayed. We had the best fish that we have had in Israel at Sarraya.
                            Akko- also recommended is Loaves and Fishes, just up the street . Salads are a bit more ordinary, but the honesty of the waiters that we have had has been a treat.
                            Haifa. Falafel- teh Arab place across from the taxi office on HaAtzmaut. Many excellent salads; falafel itself no great shakes.
                            Haifa- Hanamal24. Under a French trained Israeli chef. In the past teh Askenazi background of the line cooks has manifested itself in one of the items on the table. The last two times- flawless!. Go for the business lunch, a huge bargain. Not kosher.

                            Haifa, Samiramis but I prefer the northern one in Kiryat Motzkin to teh one at the southern end of Haifa in the Yellow gas station, which is quite OK. More character and talent in the salads north. The chicken dishes and kebob are weak and a bit pricey.

                            Haifa, Ramsis , the lower end of Ben-Gurion,. Began about 6 years ago and was consistently amaaaaaazing!!! and very cheap. Now, chef troubles. Can still be good and if good the biggest bargain in Israel. Salads still are often excellent and interesting , and among them enough mujadrah, humus ( two kinds) to make a good meal.

                            Will continue anon

                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                              Anon has come

                              Or Akiva, Rotschild(sp?), not to be confused with the street, infra. Take the Jasmine entrance on #4 turn right at first (?) traffic circle. A big caterer with a lunch room. Marvevously cheap, wholesome , plentiful, many salads but no talent. Institutional: inoffensive, but no pleasure. Self serve AYCE salads and soup. Unfathomable how soup in a Jewish state can be so thin and bad. Serves its puprpose: excellent for a NCSY bus tour. NIS40 includes can of soda and dessert. Lunch only. Kosher

                              Or Akiva. Benny Tsur and Sons. Rotschild Ave. Take the southern, (mall )entrance, go for a while, left at the square. Moroccan, (five portraits of the Baba Sali) . A grilled meat place. Like the old Ben Ezra in Atlit , definitely of the people. Much better salads than Ben Ezra, good enough to return, but not near a good Arab salad set in aesthetics. Too much meat so have a mix. I have chicken liver, merguez, chicken breast. Meat come from father Benny , who is a butcher. NIS44, kosher but rarely see a customer with a kippa. Kosher

                              Netanya. Bistro Ely, Shaar Haguy, near Herzl and Weizman. An open fronted place with seating on the street. Falafel, shawarma , Jerusalem mix (I like, but no authority), light grill place with beer. Woman who runs place is French and it shows. Everything is good. Control and even understatement in the cooking. Large selection of excellent salads and you are given a big plate for your salads and AYCE. Falafel NIS13, shawarma NIS19. Worth a detour. Kosher.Nostalgia as I type- we are a party of 6 and have a good and interesting meal for NIS84 last time

                              Ness Tziona. Petra. Lebanese, ex-SLA officers. Recently moved from Givat Brenner gas station, haven't been to new location yet. Excellent and reasonable in Givat Brenner. Much better than those similar to which Rogov sent me.

                              Jerusalem. Dolphin. Quite good, a nice place and reasonably priced for the business lunch which lasts until 5pm. (eat earlier!) You can take nice, proper people from overseas here. Check. (kosher?)

                              Enjoy!

                          2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            Oh, come off it, Vinnie. You're just being silly saying Diana has "worst imaginable salads". I ate there last week and thought the salads were excellent - in terms of quality and variety better than you'll find at 99% of Arab restaurants. Either your tastes are too rarified for anyone else to relate to, or more likely a case of reverse snobbery that takes pleasure in knocking popular restaurants.

                            Uri Burri is inconsistent. I had an excellent lunch there (Uri was in the kitchen) and came back for dinner when Uri wasn't there and felt like throwing things. Uri may be a talented chef, but his restaurant lacks professionalism.

                            1. re: MarkC

                              Mark C. There is a third possibility. That I am right for that day. It was not as if the salad cook had had a bad day and his touch was off, or a temporary replacement was trying to make the same salads but had no touch. Our salads were simply misconceived as if by someone new and talentless who was making his own salad set. .Obviously and for good reason he is not making salads at Diana any more.

                              I was surprised by our salads given Diana's reputation. I am pleased to read that things are back to normal and look forward to return to Diana and Nazareth .

                              My objections to the food at the two Uri restaurants was to the dishes that were made in advance. The grilled fish was quite good. Uri had nothing to do with the cooking, but I would think "created" the dishes and set the menu.
                              Uri was seated in the front of the room and was going through invoices each time.

                              More recommendations, I forgot to make.

                              Haifa, Jacko for fish and salads, see prior posts.

                              Haifa, in the street with the Arab restaurants, left at the first traffic circle on Ben Gurion up from the coast. Angus, for meat and salads. Some of the best looking meat that I have seen in Israel. We have the kebob, which is the best that I have had in Israel. Salads are NIS20. A large assortment, a little lacking in refinement but can be very good. Feel free to go downstairs to the shawarma counter to supplement the upstairs salad selection.

                              Hadera, Sami B'Kikar , # 4 south of the kikar. A mini- empire with three locations for different things.Turn right into the road in front of Sami if approaching from the north (?) or you will get stuck in the divided highway. The many salads are the best that I have had at a non Arab restaurant, but there can be too much "hareef" for someone like me with is intolerant . Best french fries in Israel so far, and they come as a "salad"
                              I have the chicken liver in a sauce dish, which ranges from superb to good depending on who is making it. I turn down the chips and get mashed potatoes (also variable, over- salted etc for a while) for my bowl from the bins in front (self-help), and Israeli salad for the kids who want something plainer. Enough for two.
                              Kosher.

                              I hear Lilith in Tel Aviv is great. Y'all please add recommendations to this thread. I like to eat with the people, but a nice place to take the Ms. on her wedding anniversay would be welcome as well.

                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                Vinnie, FYI the Dolphin restaurant in Jerusalem is not kosher, but there is another fish restaurant called Beni which was opened by the same owners in the 1970's, which was always good.
                                You seem to live around Hadera. When I'm there I try to stop at Opera. It's a Yeminite owned simple place. In recent years their Yeminite frozen items, such as melawah, have become available in supermarket freezer cases. At first glance they are just another meat on skewers place, but that's not why I go there. They have great Yeminite soups. Their bean soup is great and their meat soup is even better. (Ask for hilba with the soup--this fenegreek based condiment goes well with the soup, but is an acquired taste.)

                            2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                              I agree with you about Helena restaurant in Caesarea, a waste of a beautiful location. I felt the food was lacking for the amount of money we paid.
                              However I enjoyed the food in El Babour, their kebabs were excellent as well as the mansaf. If this is the quality of the institutional food you eat, then I wouldn''t mind having it everyday.
                              Aside from Petra I also recommend the Yemenite style restaurant at the entrance to Power Center in Ness Ziona. Another excellent Yemenite restaurant is called Boaz and is located near Shuk Ha tikva in Tel Aviv. South of Rehovot, is a lovely airy restaurant called Kramim near Moshav Segula, I have eaten there three times and the food is of good quality.

                            3. re: MarkC

                              I am originally from Jerusalem , and still visit all the time. The best Humus you can find at places that have been favorites for locals for the past 50+ years, the ownership moved from father to son etc, one is Abu Shukri which moved from the old city to beit hanina which is right by pizagat zeev, and the other is on Al Zahra street by the Ritz Hotel , Al Ikermawi which is my personal favorite, best humus and falafel you can ever eat, they make falfel the traditional way but are famous for the large flafel stuffed with onions and spices etc. Both spaces are crazy busy, and are small. Hope this helps.

                            4. I ate at a fabulous place TV which I think will be what you are looking for as a foodie on a budget. Try http://drshaksuka.rest-e.co.il/. I thought the food was oustanding and very reasonable.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Latinpig

                                I just remembered two more places up North to add to the list, and they are both in Rosh Pina, just about next door to each other. The kosher option is a place called "Meatball." It is an upscale place serving primarily meat and fish dishes. It's not cheap, but a good place to stop for a quiet meal with your significant other.
                                Although I've never tried it, the (not kohser) other place is called "Doris." The place specializes in meat and, if I understand what I see when looking through the front window, it has a butcher case and may(?) actually be selling what looks to be pretty good beef. Has anyone out there ever tried either of these places?

                                1. re: lawmann

                                  There is a new location of Doris in Ramat Hanadiv, Zichron Yaakov. Hanadiv is teh Baron Rotschild, and his tomb is on the grounds- gardens and a nature preserve. On the road just out side ZY going to Binyamina.

                              2. Dr. Shakshouka (Jaffa, flea market) is repeatedly recommended in CH and was featured in Haaretz recently. Tried it today. Should have declared today a fast day.

                                The "Tunisian salad "set was OK but more appropriate in a North American deli.
                                The shakshouka (onion , mushrooms) was the "worst dish of the century" and even though the century is young , it is likely to retain this status.
                                The okra- beef couscous showed very strong Polish influences.
                                The bread was soft , bad ,so called rye .

                                I didn't send the shakshouka back because it brought back memories of Paris Years ago , one Christmas Eve, we established that it is possible to get a bad meal in France . Only place open was a Tunisian couscous place , Aziz Bros. Reviews in the window etc. As if from the same kitchen.; maybe this is the way it is supposed to be . I had thought that Aziz Bros had an explanation. It was kosher, Dr. S isn't. .

                                I have come to conclude that Jewish and Muslim North African cooking are very different.

                                Update. Bad news on the falafel front in Netanya. Bistro Ely, which had been worth a detour, seems to have been sold. Salads have deteriorated markedly, as has the falafel. No Jerusalem mix, essentially unflavoured shawarma. Best bet now is the two others on Shaar Haguy, recognizing their salad limitations. Had falafel from the middle one. The falfalel was excellent, with cumin seed. Good pita. Salads are clumsy. Next time will try the one on teh corner. Must move on with life.