Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Middle East & Africa >
Sep 25, 2009 02:41 PM

Best restaurant in Israel?

I will be traveling throughout Israel in December with family and am interested in having one over-the-top dining experience during my time there at a top-end restaurant. Is there a short-list of restaurants that I should consider, either in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or elsewhere? Price is not a concern, but want a fantastic experience. Would prefer the restaurant to represent the culture also (i.e. not looking for an Italian meal). Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cattit or Herbert Samuels (both highend), there are many very good family style restaurants, Machneyooda in Jerusalem is also a fun place to go.

    1. Forget Catit and Herbert Samuel, especially Herbert Samuel. Go to Habasta, off Nahalat Binyamin St. I think they don't take reservations, but they probably have the best food in Israel. Youi could also try Charcuterie in Jaffa.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bcc

        I agree with bcc, Catit and Herbert Samuel are two of the best high end restaurants in Israel. I also enjoyed Mezza (although it has ridiculous interior decoration) and Manta Ray in Tel Aviv

      2. One of the best high-end = Mul Yam - Very $$$ but excellent food.

        One of the best low end = Pinati (locations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Best hummus and kubeh soup ever.

        Also, if you're in Jaffa, don't miss Dr. Shakshukah.

        1. I think you may be disappointed in your quest for an "over-the-top" dining experience. We have many fine restaurants (including all the ones listed), but there are no temples of gastronomy here, like in New York or Paris. Unlike in those places, the tourists here don't come to eat, and the restaurants must survive from the local market, which will not pay huge prices.

          1. We are also going back to Israel at the end of November. We were there two years ago.

            What I liked best were the breakfasts and one lunch at a restaurant at a gas station, I think it was in Hadera. My biggest disappointment was dinner at a fancy restaurant in Tel Aviv. I forget the name.

            I am looking for the best Middle Eastern food in Israel. Mostly, we'll be in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Dr. Shakshukah is in on my list.

            7 Replies
            1. re: veggielover

              Y'all see my previous posts and thank you for the recommendations.
              Mul Yam was nice OK from ancient memory, but nothing OTT.
              "Local cooking" and "over the top" are inconsistent. But you can find very good western cooking that is Israeli influenced by local ingredients and a general disrespect., sorry I mean creativity.
              You have to remember that Arabic cooking is based on ingredients and touch,not technique. Ashkenazi cooking is based on how they did laundry in Poland before the war.

              Rogov's recommendations in Haaretz have been a Via Dolorosa for me. I probably can do better picking names at random.

              1. re: veggielover

                I live in Haifa and non of the food here is really OTT...

                To tell you the truth, if you're looking for "local" food, mid-east and such, I'd recommend the fast food falafel / schawarma joints and not actually sitting in a restaurant. Also, some of the mid east places that are owned and served by arabs are highest quality, IMO. Especially the service is better, because the servers are usually 40+ and it's their occupation. In most restaurants in Israel the age of the servers is 16-25, and the service is subpar because of their disrespect to the job (which is a transition job).

                1. re: may210

                  May210, For a fancy place I like Hanamal 24. (French trained chef) . Big bargain at lunch. How about you?

                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    I'm actually from Haifa, and don't do the TA scene so much, so I have no idea. I only know good restaurants here in Haifa, in the north (Rosh Pinna area) and, well, in Eilat, because I lived there for a while. ;)

                    1. re: may210

                      Hanamal24 is in Haifa! Ess, ess mein kind!. You will like it.
                      What places do you recommend?

                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                        Are you serious? Haha, I automatically assumed that it was in Tel Aviv, because I know that in the Namal area there are a lot of restaurants/pubs.
                        I didn't even know that the Namal street in Haifa had anything other than offices and stores...

                        In Haifa I actually like the classics- Sinta Bar have the best burgers IMO. Popolo has really good pastas but extremely crappy service... The Giraffe - we actually got there sort of by accident, and the food was suprisingly good, the service even better. Japanika of course when I'm in the mood for sushi. HaBokrim for the meats, but they have good and bad days...

                        The main problem with Haifa restaurants is that the food is never solidly good or bad. So a great place could really crap out one day, and a usually bad place could have good food.

                        A really amazing place that sadly got shut down is La Terazza (sp?) in Merkaz HaCarmel. Now there's a Shipudei HaTikva there... Blargh.

                        That's about it from what I can remember, but I could be forgetting...

                2. re: veggielover

                  For the best falafel in Jerusalem, I have to recommend Bebo's Falafel towards the end of Ben Sira near the Mamilla mall. The falafel balls are cooked to order in the Arabic tradition and every sandwich is very fresh and has that perfect combination of crunch and heat. The toppings are also fantastic.

                  I know that they're talking about eventually offering a larger mezze option, but I don't think that's happened yet.