Israeli cuisine has recently gained popularity around the world with Israeli chefs opening international outlets like Palomar
in London, Hamiznon
in Melbourne and Balagan
in Paris. These fashionable restaurants, characterized as fun and vibrant, provide a small taste of what it’s really like in Israel. The establishments on the following list–ranging from fine dining to dancing-on-the-bar to local street food stands–provide something more than good food: they provide an experience, one you can only get in Israel.
Bar, Gastropub, Restaurant, Contemporary, Mediterranean, Israeli, Fusion, $$$
Famous Israeli chef Eyal Shani is known for his quirky passion for food, eccentric philosophy, and for serving some of the best dishes in Israel. All of his establishments are fun, casual, full of alcohol, and simple. Yes, the food, however articulate the menu may describe it, is simple; made with the finest ingredients, and cooked to perfection. Hasalon, hebrew for “the living room” is not a place for a quiet night out; the music is loud, the open kitchen is loud, and at some point you are bound to be dancing drunk on the bar and, you guessed it, be loud. Open only two night a week, this is a place with an electric atmosphere, and the ultimate mix between fine dining and a house party.
Restaurant, Deli, Middle Eastern, Israeli, Mediterranean, Soul Food, $$$
Set in the heart of Machine-Yuda market in Jerusalem, the 60 year old restaurant is as close to traditional home cooking as it gets. The kitchen is full of huge pots on burning gas stoves containing hearty dishes from the Israeli-Arab home kitchen such as Kubbah, couscous, bean soup, stuffed vegetables with meat and rice, and many more. Dining at one of these gas stove establishments, or Azura in particular, is a definite must for any visitor to Israel.
The Old Man and The Sea
Restaurant, Israeli, Mediterranean, $$$
Named after Hemingway’s novel, the Old Man and the Sea in Jaffa port serves some of the best fish you can find in Israel. It would be hard to make it to your main course hungry as upon sitting down, your table will start filling up with appetizers served to anyone ordering a main course, and endlessly refilled. There are 23 different salads, falafels, pita bread, and of course lemonade. One of the most satisfying meals you can have, come hungry and see if you manage to finish your delicious fish before you fill up!
Restaurant, Gastropub, Bar, Bistro, Mediterranean, Fusion, Israeli, Contemporary, $$$
Machneyuda has regained itself quite the name since its chefs opened successful restaurants in London and Paris. However, nothing can compare to the buzzy atmosphere in the Jerusalem outlet. Being a market restaurant, it offers seasonal daily menus that change according to the best offerings at the market that day. There are also some staple dishes that simply cannot be ignored. Opt for the Chef’s menu; it’s pricey at 295₪ (approximately $83) per person, but you will be seated at a bar across from the open kitchen, can discuss with the chef your likes and dislikes, do a shot together, and will not be disappointed.
Bistro, Brasserie, Restaurant, Contemporary, none
You know how breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, at this Tel Aviv restaurant, open 24 hours a day, you will always be greeted with ‘good morning’. With several outlets across the country, the menu offers many different kinds of breakfasts from around the world, like steak and eggs, Croque Madame, English breakfast, breakfast tacos, shakshouka and more, served throughout the day. The restaurant is usually full, even at very odd hours, but especially on weekend mornings. If you ever fancy a pancake or eggs Benedict at an odd hour, this is the place to go.
Gastropub, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$