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Jul 19, 2009 07:41 PM

Visiting Israel - August

We are soon taking a family trip to Israel.
We will be renting an apt. in the neighborhood of baka for the first week.
Then two days in Raanana
Then 4 days in Tzfat
Then 2 days in Tel Aviv.

I am a major foodie..(I am a regular on chowhound on the toronto board).

We love ethnic food....not looking for expensive restaurants. JUST really really good restaurants that serve tasty food. (you know what I mean).

Looking forward to hearing some suggestions.
Thank you in advance.

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  1. Oddly enough, we're going to be there at the same time. I don't have specific recommendations for Raanana or Tzfat, but I'll give you some ethnic choices in Tel Aviv that are some of our favorites when we visit:

    Nanutchka, a Georgian restaurant on Lillenblum, is a warm, somewhat rambunctious place for a long leisurely dinner, with a very cozy bar
    Poyke in Jaffa is a South African steakhouse, with things like rump steak in rum sauce
    Agenda in the Tel Aviv Port is good, high quality Middle Eastern
    Orna and Ella, for a relaxed place for people watching and a cafe setting
    Boccacio, on Hayarkon across from the Dan, for Italian and good, fresh pasta and veal dishes
    Tsuzanah, Middle Eastern/casual in the Neveh Tsedek neighborhood, for quiet, all day dining across from Susanne Dallal (if you sit outside, you have the novel experience of having the occasional cat walk around the area - Tel Aviv is famous for wandering cats)

    Tel Aviv, being a cosmopolitan city, has restaurants from many different places, so it's not too hard to find Italian, Spanish, and Asian choices.

    As a rule, a good place to look for restaurants is Time Out Tel Aviv (in English, can be found in hotels) or the Haaretz website ( for restaurant listings).

    2 Replies
    1. re: sdrucker

      The reviewer for Haaretz is Daniel Rogov . I am stuck with his recommendations because I do not read Hebrew. My more limited experience with the Jerusalem Post's reviewer has been no better. So I eat along the Rogov trail. I consider that it is impossible for a reasonable person to agree with many of his recommendations. My success with his recommendations is akin to my throwing darts at a target whilst blindfolded.

      Do you want any recommendations between Hadera and Haifa- Akko?

      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

        Oh yeah. Blue Dolphin, in Jerusalem ,( a Rogov, but very well known, a short walk from the King David Hotel ) is quite alright for fish and salads. But you must go in time for their business lunch , which ends at 5 pm. In general, figure out the business lunches when you are in Israel. Prices increase by 25% and significantly higher after the clock strikes. If you are a family, the saving gets to be significant.

    2. Hi,

      Welcome to Israel. I lived in Baka and know the area well. I can't speak for any other place outside of Jerusalem

      Try looking at some past postings about restaurants in Jerusalem-I've posted a lot recently (sorry, have fever and am lazy).

      5 Replies
      1. re: JudgeMaven

        Thanks Everyone.
        I should have mentioned that we need kosher restaurnats if we are eating meat..but wont be fussy if its a dairy restaurant. Does that make sense?
        I will keep reading previous posts...promise!!

        1. re: domesticgodess

          judge maven...tell me if this is a good list for Baka restaurants:
          falafel oved..
          sushi bar rehavia on aza st.
          Ha Hatzer
          joy of emek refaim
          Pizza Sababa

          Also recommended: Hashemem for shwarma, bureka eema, falafel timani, moshiko, maoz and shalom falafel
          How am I doing?..LOL
          Still need a good bar with lots of different beers on tap?
          any suggestions.
          ps we leave tonite....!!!

          1. re: domesticgodess

            Hi Domestic goddess!

            Sorry I am a bit late!
            Falafed Oved - Yes! Nice guy (Oved), place serves just falafel.
            Luciana - Never been, high prices, heard good things
            Sushi bar Rechavia - Good sushi, I prefer Japanika on Shlomtzion (cheaper)
            Never been to Hahatzer
            Joy is OK, pricey and crowded.
            Pizza Sababa is nothing special
            Caffit is great
            Go to Waffle Bar on Beit Lechem. Cafe Bagina (across the street) is yummy and in a nice garden

            Hashamen and burekas ima are my favorite haunts. The other places have a loyal following.

            Any meat restaurant in Talpiot is good. Steakiyat Tzidkiyahu is awesome!

            Sorry, can't help with bars :(

            1. re: JudgeMaven

              So far so good. Thanks for all your information.
              Oded Falafel was closed the nite we arrived, so we went to Adir.'s Falafel
              YUM. We were all very very happy.
              Next morning, we hit caffit. OH about YUM.
              We had their famous sweet potatoe salad (mentioned on this board) and
              the grilled halomi sandwich and a smoked salmon sandwich.
              We had leftovers for DAYS afterwards. No complaints. I took photos which I will attach when I return to toronto.
              We also discovered in Mahane Yehuda.."marzipan " for their famous rougelach and the halva man. (cinamon halva).
              Brought home a variety of lovely cheeses as well from one of the vendors there.

              Next morning..tried the coffee at cafe hillel. Again, very happy.

              One nite, we went to RYA (asian/sushi restaurant) on efek refaim and we were not impressed. Our friends selected the restaurant (who live here in Jerusalem). They liked their dishes but our vegetable tempura was the worst I have ever seen and spicy salmon one and salmon two..were nothing special.
              It was not a happy camper and would have love to go for a falafel. Oh well.

              We also have discovered, the icecream at Aldo and the yoghurt bar next to it.
              Not sure why there is such a fuss at Aldo. Its ok in my opinion nothing amazing. My daughter had a decent frozen yoghurt next door though.

              What else? Oh yes..found great goodies to bring back to toronto.
              -kosher fish sauce (which i have never ever ever seen)
              -lemoncello (at the arts and crafts fair on tuesday evening)
              -olive oil flavored with lemon
              -avocado honey (from the cheese vendor in mahane yehuda)

              Stay tuned for a continued report..we have a few more days left in Jerusalem.
              Hopefully we will compare falafels at try out a chinese restaurant that was recomended by the windmill.

              Thanks again for all your assistance.

              1. re: domesticgodess

                Try to go for lunch inside the food market, "machaneh yehuda" just off Agrippas street- numerous incredibly good lunch-counter type restaurants, especially North African and sepharadic cuisines. And it's fun to pick up fresh chalva to bring as a gift for friends back home.

      2. Had a really swell lunch in March in Pina Barosh (google it), a restaurant in Rosh Pina, very near Zefat. equivalent of about 50 USD for two of us. In a country full of great food, that was one meal I'd do again in a minute. That was a pretty upscale lunch by local standards, from what I saw in three weeks in country. Worth it? Absolutely.