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Mar 10, 2014 01:09 PM

Need two great Tel Aviv restaurants & two Jerusalem ones -mixed group 13-80!

We are doing a family trip with 3 generations next week and have tow nights free in Jerusalem & Tel Aviv.

Our group is mixed, a few 40 yr olds, a 13 year old and some 70-80 year olds. So we are looking for great places that everyone will be comfortable in. we don't mind trendy but we don't need a scene. The 13 year old is kind of picky, I guess we can't worry about that! Price an be high or low.

What are your musts? We love a local feeling, not too touristy, don't mind trendy but are not looking for places that seem too precious.

Thanks in advance! We are up for anything. We live in NYC so we have no shortage of great places, so i guess we would love local flavor or fabulous fun places. we will probably eat at 8:00pm most nights if that makes any difference.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Quick question - do the places need to be kosher? Also how many people are in your group/do you need seating for? And what is your comfort level with menus not in English?

    4 Replies
    1. re: cresyd

      Hi, we do have one kosher member though not glatt kosher so they will eat fish or veggie. I should have mentioned, seven in our group. None of speak hebrew so if they can translate great, if not we'll be lost. Thanks in advance!

      1. re: ellendia

        So the restaurants don't need to be kosher? If so, I believe on my list only two cafes qualify.....

        In Jerusalem you won't really find any language problems in regards to menus - but in Tel Aviv that can vary. Regarding Jerusalem suggestions, my favorite place to suggest would be Mona. Great usage of local ingredients - not kosher, but they do have fish/vegetarian dishes. Others prefer Machene Yehuda - but given the size of your party (and should any of the older guests have any difficulty hearing) - Mona is roomier and not as noisy. And both restaurants are owned by the same group, so I wouldn't suggest going to both. The restaurant is also in the Bezalel Art Academy, so the building is interesting and has a student art gallery attached.

        Other places that I really like in Jerusalem and would be good for a party that size include Culinary Workshop (off of Dereh Hevron) and Lavan (restaurant in the Jerusalem Cinematheque). Lavan and Colony (restaurant off of Dereh Beit Lehem also close to Culinary Workshop) I believe are (or were) owned by the same people - and while I've always preferred the food at Lavan and the view of the Sultan's Swimming Pool, others prefer the atmosphere at the Colony.

        With 7 people, the classic Israeli café experience might be a bit tricky/tight squeeze even for dinner, but my favorites in Jerusalem are Timol Shilshom and Kadosh (both in the city center). Timol Shilshom might take reservations but I'm pretty sure that Kadosh does not. Kadosh in addition to having lovely meals has really excellent desserts. (both of these options do have kosher certification) If you're ok with a really tight squeeze - then my absolute favorite café is in the shuk, Café Mizrachi. But for 7 people that might really be pushing it.

        Another idea that I don't necessarily recommend for the food (so a good idea if you've had a really heavy lunch/aren't super hungry) is the rooftop of the Notre Dame wine bar. The food is good, if a little over priced - but the view over the Old City is absolutely amazing. If it's a place to go for a pre-dinner drink, it's just lovely. The rooftop bar at the Mamila Hotel is also nice, but the view isn't as good (IMO) as the Notre Dame rooftop. And should you eat anything, the Notre Dame is better.

        1. re: cresyd

          This is all so amazing, thanks so much!!! I really appreciate all of the time you took to put this info together! I appreciate your feedback regarding the large party as well! Thank you!

          1. re: ellendia

            Quick point - with a party of 7, I'd plan on reservations for everywhere with the exception of the Notre Dame rooftop bar (should you chose to go). I don't believe Kadosh or Café Mizrachi take reservations, but as they're more hot spots for breakfast/lunch - around 8pm it might not be as difficult.

            Mona definitely requires reservations regardless of what night of the week you go, and I'd err on the side of having reservations for any other place I mentioned. The places I mentioned are all fairly roomy and typically have more than one table that can accommodate 7 - but it's a gamble I wouldn't take.

    2. You won't have any trouble finding menus and explanations in English. Please note that Thursday evening is when Jerusalemites go out to eat, so you will need a reservation. In fact, with your group you should have reservations in any case. The young and the old members of the group wouldn't be happy sitting around at the bar--if there is one--and waiting for a table.
      One place that we have enjoyed in Tel Aviv, and that can accomodate your group, is Bertie's. Not cheap, but good. Another is Habasta. Toto and Shila are both excellent, but both are much too noisy. Hatzela Hashminit (the 8th rib) is interesting.
      It is much more difficult to eat well in Jerusalem. Some people like a steakhouse called The Colony, but I've never eaten there. I have enjoyed Chakra, but it's not up to Tel Avivian standards. What I like best in Jerusalem is what they call a "steakiya", a simple place that serves good Middle Eastern salads and grilled meats. Two good ones are Hashipudia and Fortuna, across the street from each other in Machane Yehuda.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bcc

        Thank you for the info about the large group and all of your other feedback! I did not know about thursday so yes, i will make the reservations asap.

        1. re: bcc

          I absolutely love Habasta, but are you sure it's the right choice for this group? The space is small and I thought that the seating was a bit uncomfortable for my much-less-than-80-year-old body. The food is excellent, though, and with a little care, my then 10-year-old enjoyed her meal, as did the other young teen seated outside.

          1. re: rockycat

            Now that the enclosed porch is non-smoking, I thought it would be ok. But you are right; the tables and chairs are not the most comfortable.

            And if the OP and family choose Bertie, they should request the enclosed porch, which is quieter than the inside room.

        2. I would add Steakiat Hatzot to the list in Jerusalem. It is not gourmet but it is a great way to taste local Israeli food, grilled meats and lots of fresh salads. It is kosher and suitable for all ages. It is also near the Jerusalem market and popular with locals and tourists. Another place that is more high end and is more geared to tourists than locals is the Rooftop restaurant of Mamilla hotel. A very interesting menu (happens to be kosher) and great views of the old city.

          For Tel Aviv I agree with the recommendation of Shila but it can be noisy but Mizlala by Meir Adoni is delicious and not as noisy. The dishes are very creative with a strong Israeli influence.

          Benny Hadayag is a fish restaurant in the Tel Aviv port and is a great setting if your family like fish. The fish is incredibly fresh and the selection of salads is diverse and tasty.

          Happy to give further advice if you have specific questions.

          3 Replies
          1. re: debs76

            Thank you! this is all really helpful.
            I think there are some good choices here!

            1. re: ellendia

              In Jerusalem, I'd recommend one of the restaurants at The First Station (I heard people refer to it just as "The Station"), a collection of shops and restaurants built at an old train station. Our group of twelve, including three aged 73-82, all enjoyed it and were accommodated well. We ate as a group at Adom, and some tried a couple of the other spots on other nights. There is a buzz to the plaza that would be of interest to your teen and not too overwhelming or too far to walk for your older members.


              1. re: GourmetWednesday

                Great rec! We ate at Landwer Cafe twice (close to our hotel) and had a pizza that would rank in our top pizzas. Talked to others who loved the pastas.