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Israel (again...)

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Hello!

I am on my way to Israel and really looking forward to experiencing the food! Reading the board (on my iPhone) I am a bit dazzled about all the great advices. That's why I hope you can help me out a bit and answer my questions for Jerusalem/Tel Aviv and anywhere else I should go :) I have over two weeks and no fixed itinerary.

1) Where to drink/eat with a view?
2) Where to try the best street food?
3) Where to splurge? Probably one fancy dinner a city as I am travelling on a budget
4) Where to have the best breakfast?
5) What cooking/tasting experience shouldn't I miss out on?

Looking forward to your replies! Thanks beforehand!

P.s. In Jerusalem I'll be staying at the Abraham Hostel. Always spend more on food than on sleeping ;)

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  1. two weeks ? That's great ! Climate currently is amazing, altough weekend will be a bit rainy.. And bring your swimsuit for the beach "-)
    Quite a lot of questions here and areas to cover and not much time to write currently, so i believe we will do that in "stages"..
    Regarding your plan - don't forget the north and maybe even the south.. "North for beginers" can include a "coastal trip" - Start at Haifa and the downtown, DON'T miss one of the Bahai gardens free guided tours, get your place in line to make sure you go in.. After that so many interesting food options in the Arab city area, if you are interested to get info let me know.. From there, old town of Akka is great option - with more foodie options of course, and then finishing the day at Rosh Hanikra towards sunset, which is quite a bit harder to get to with transport..
    South - of course the dead sea area, especially if you can arrange for some mountains group hiking and of course Eilat is very nice at this time of the year (but a real pain in the summer).. To be cont.. :-)

    1. Speaking to your questions as someone who up until recently lived in Jerusalem for years....

      1) Where to drink/eat with a view? - in Jerusalem the best "view" places are the ones that go up high. My favorite is the restaurant/wine bar on top of the Notre Dame church near the Old City. It is on the pricey side, but is a great place to have a nice glass of wine and watch the sun set/lights come on/etc. Another great "with a view" option is the Austrian Hospice in the Old City. On the roof there isn't a restaurant, but in their garden it's an excellent place to get some strudel/Austrian beer and get a unique view of the Old City along the Via Dolorosa

      2) Where to try the best street food? - My favorite are the kabob vendors outside Damascus Gate. Kabob in a pita with just a little salad/squeeze of lemon - excellent. Also, not exactly street food - but close to your hostel - and in my opinion the best burekas in the area - if you leave your hostel onto HaNevi'im street and are walking in the direction of the Old City, at one point HaNevi'im turns downhill to the left. At this bend there is a falafel place (meh) and a small bakery. The best burekas, especially the ones made with spelt flour. Absolutely excellent, and less than a ten minute walk from your hostel. There are lots of cafes closer that will also have these breakfast pastries that pale in comparison.

      3) Where to splurge? Probably one fancy dinner a city as I am travelling on a budget - If you want to do just one, Tel Aviv has a greater range of fancy dinners. But they will cost more than a "fancy" dinner in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, if I were to recommend one, I'd recommend Macheneyehudah. Some on this board feel the restaurant is either too loud or over rated. I really like it, but the noise level is high. If you are looking for a taste of the experience but cheaper, Yedeleh across the street is owned by the same people and done more in a small plates/bar way. It is also very loud if you find that off putting.

      4) Where to have the best breakfast? - In Jerusalem, Cafe Mizrachi (in the shuk), without hesitation. Kadosh also does a very good breakfast, but I don't enjoy it as much as Mizrachi.

      5) What cooking/tasting experience shouldn't I miss out on? - Depending on where you're coming from, I'd say either Ethiopian in Jerusalem (small place in an alley between Aggripas and Jaffo) or Georgian food. I really enjoy Nanushkah in Tel Aviv, but there are other options. There's also a Yemenite restaurant in Jerusalem on Yaffo Street near the post office that is an excellent deal for inexpensive meat.

      If you are going north, try to avoid going north around Shabbat - and for two weeks, I'd recommend against going south. But that's just personal preference.

      7 Replies
      1. re: cresyd

        Thanks to both of you. I always knew my time in Israel would be too short :) I'm actually staying 17 days + 2 travel days. I'll see how it all works out :)

        Was really hungry tonight on way back to hostel and ended up at HaMotzi. Very friendly and lively. Had a really nice lentilsoup that made me feel I truly arrived in Jerusalem

        1. re: cresyd

          So where are you now, cresyd? Still in Israel?

          1. re: bcc

            I've recently returned to the US, but I was there for 5 years. But anything that's happened in the last two months - I'm out of the loop.

            1. re: cresyd

              And I was thinking we might be able to meet up at Ninotchka! Chaval!

              1. re: bcc

                It is a shame that this board isn't as vibrant as others. I'm always happy to give advice to travelers on my favorites - but it's a different kind of a discussion than locals debating various odds and ends of the local food scene.

                1. re: cresyd

                  Well, for Israeli restaurants, we do have a weird kind of split between this board and the kosher one.
                  It also seems like not so many travelers who've posed questions here follow up with reviews of where they ended up eating.
                  And now you're no longer in a position to provide up-to-the-minute reporting on the Israeli restaurant scene :(. Good luck with whatever took you back to the US. I will toast you with my morning cafe hafuch.

                  1. re: almond tree

                    I agree - but it's always felt as though we (@almond tree) were the only real Jerusalem residents. Though perhaps that's just my bias. And as a nonkosher diner - I think the places I often enjoy the most had a smaller audience.

                    That being said - enjoy some wonderful cottage cheese for me!