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March Trip To Israel

Hello Fellow Hounds,

My parents and I will be taking a wonderful trip to Israel in March. This is the first time for my mother and I. My father was there in the 1970s.

We are totally at a loss for restaurant recommendations. We are quite adventurous and are open to a variety of different experiences. I am interested in traditional and non-traditional recs, as well as a variety of price ranges.

We will be traveling to Tel Aviv (only for 1 night), Upper Galilee, Ein Boqeq, Jerusalem, and Eilat. We are mostly interested in lunch and dinner recs, since I'm fairly certain all of our hotels are offering breakfast (and I hear the breakfast spreads are great). Also if there are particularly wonderful places to buy spices, snacks etc, please let me know.

A friend of mine recommended Maganda and Kimmel in Tel Aviv and Darna in Jerusalem. Thoughts?

Also note we do not keep kosher so kosher-only is not necassary.

Thank you so much for your help!!

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  1. We really enjoyed Manta Ray and Pini BeChazer in Tel Aviv. We liked Joy & Colony in the German Colony section of Jerusalem and also Chakara in Jerusalem. The terrace bar at the King David has a beautiful view of the Old City and is great for drinks and a nibble.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FoodDee

      Thanks so much FoodDee. We'll check out your recs.

    2. A friend also recommended Uri Buri which sounds incredible. Not sure if it will be near where we will be traveling though. Thoughts?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Elyssa

        Uri Buri is in Akko (Acre) We had a really good lunch there. I suppose it depends on your route.

      2. Hi Elyssa,

        As a TLV foodie i would recommend the following:
        Kitchen Market in the new Tel Aviv Port Market is hype and just added a brilliant new chef which cooks top end food from fresh market ingredients at a very cool place overlooking the med sea. The market itself is open Monday-Sat and offers some of the best in Israel - organic veggies, fresh pasta, fresh fish, israeli cheese, oils and fruit, well worth

        Berty is an extremely good food and trendy, opened a few months ago by a local chef and sommelier who worked for a few years at Gordon Ramsy's flagship on hospital road, the food is what should be named - new Israeli Kitchen - lot's of local ingredients - tachini, yogurt, hot peppers and local herbs, and the ambeince young and cool, though decor is undertoned

        Yoezer bar yain in Jaffa is a very romantic foodie destination with the best rustic french food in Israel and a marvelous wine list

        Basta, just by the Carmel market also has great food, a brilliant wine list and you virtually sit in the market (till you get the bill..)

        Zfon Abraxas is all about sexy food and feel - Master Chef Eyal Sani makes a combination of theatre with food and is known in Israel as the chef who speaks with (and perhaps sleeps with) tomatoes, that are all eavenly ripe and come in most dishes. Very special

        Hotel Montefiore has the best breakfast and service in Tel Aviv. Food is classic french with an Asian flavor and very well executed.

        Shila is a very good gastro bar with excellent sea food

        Catit and Mul Yam are top end fine dining. Catit being a chef restaurant (Adoni the chef has worked in Noma, Alinea and many others worldwide) and Mul Yam is Sea food heaven, both very expensive.

        There are many more places in Tel Aviv but unfortunately outside TLV food travels back through the time tunnel.
        In Jerusalem i would definately recommend Machane Yehuda - a restaurant named after the market it sits next to. make reservations well ahead and ask for the chef table, it's a show not to be missed

        The restaurant at AMerican Colony hotel in the palestinian part of Jerusalem is also cool, for its ambeince moreso then the food

        Eilat is dreadful touristic food - i would stick to the hotel breakfast (Dan Eilat would be my hotel of choice) and go to local brunches of places like - Giraffe (noodles and sushi) or Agadir (burgers)

        Coffee in Israel is really good everywhere
        and if you get a chance try Vaniglia, Iceberg or Anita - 3 best ice cream premium chains


        1 Reply
        1. re: FoodieTLV

          Thank you SO much for these recommendations. We are only spending one night in Tel Aviv unfortunately. I kind of want to try all of your recs!

        2. Dear Elyssa
          I wany to give you recomendation for some restaurants in israel specaially in the north where i Live
          if you are going to spend time in the north the best restaurant there is Fuctcha - its fusion and you need to reseve a place especially in weekends
          In rosh pina the best one is Muskat in Mitzpe Hayamim another good restaurant is Amburger -
          In Tel Aviv there is a new bistro - CENA - in monifiore, beutiful decoration, wonderful food, a remarkable list of wine

          1. I actually joined Chowhound to tell you two things. First, it is my opinion that you should not go to Eilat. It is a terrible tourist trap that is extremely far from the rest of Israel. It's expensive and doesn't have much going for it unless you're a scuba diver. Second, I have a restaurant recommendation for you. I've lived in Israel for 3 years, trying every restaurant I can manage. I really recommend Al Babour at Umm Al-Fahm junction (google maps gets the address wrong. It's directly north across 65 from the main town, what google maps calls Al-Mansa rd). They have the best Palestinian food you can get in Israel. I've only been for lunch, but you need a reservation on the weekends because they're quite full. There are several reviews if you google, so I won't go into detail. I just wanted to alert you to it.

            1. A restaurant I've recommended before near Jerusalem is Majda, in the Arab village of Ein Rafa across the highway from Abu Ghosh. Great Mediterranean food in a beautiful, garden setting.

              Don't go to Darna. It is a Moroccan restaurant with glitzy design, used to be good, but now it's on the tour bus itineraries, and the food is awful.

              The best food I've had in the upper Galilee is Aduma Be Kfar in Ramot Naftali. Tapas style small dishes, really good. The restaurant also has guest rooms to stay in, and it is a beautiful area.

              If you're really into food, check out Pausa in the Galilee. It is the center of the Slow Food Movement in Israel, and they take food very seriously. You have to stay in the hotel to eat there. I've never been, but you can check them out on the internet. Pricey, and you need a real commitment to fine dining.

              I tend to agree with the negative review of Eilat. The only reason to go is if you combine it with a day trip to Petra in Jordan.

              If you have time, spend a day in Nazareth. Interesting to walk around, and lots of good dining options. Diana has great Palestinian food. El Babur in Uhm al Fahm, which someone else recommended, is also great. You can stop there for lunch on the way to the Galilee.

              1. Have to stress that Darna is a place that I would avoid. In Jerusalem, depending on the experience you want, across the street from Machene Yehuda (the restuarant) there is a tapas bar of sorts owned by the same people called Yeudeleh that is a lot of fun and has the same/similar food. Depends on the experience you want where Yeudeleh is a louder crowd that sits around the bar that looks in on an open kitchen where the cooks serve as both cook and waiter (and occasional musician).

                Also, in East Jerusalem - the best place for an atmosphere/food experience is the restaurant at the Jerusalem Hotel. On Friday nights they have live music and is a great environment. It's also far more reasonably priced than places such as the American Colony hotel which is ghastly expensive. However, it is pretty and if you want the environment just go for the coffee (and free cookies - which if you're lucky arrive fresh baked and warm). For a more upscale East Jerusalem dinner, the Legacy Hotel is a much better deal and also includes great views over the East Jerusalem.

                In the Old City, the Austrian Hospice is a great place to go for its view from the roof but also a great place to get Bavarian style cakes/coffee with great views. And for falafel in Jerusalem I recommend Bebo's on Ben Sira (close to where the Mamila Mall is). The falafel is made fresh to order as opposed to sitting around under a heating lamp and has a nice garden out back where you can sit and eat in case you're not interested in getting it to go.

                And for Tel Aviv, my vote would be Nanuchka - which is a lovely Georgian restaurant. The Georgian food in Jerusalem isn't bad (there's Kangaroo and another place on Havatzelet Street), but is no where near as good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cresyd


                  If you happen to be in Jerusalem on a Friday night, the shabbat dinner at the Inbal is just AMAZING. Also, their breakfast buffet is incredible. When you are at Machane Yehuda, stop at Marzipan which is a little bakery stand. They are famous for their chocolate ruggalach. You'll also see spices there and wonderful teas with tried fruit. You'll love Israel.