Picture a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and ancient Roman ruins, where every dish makes its diners nod their heads in unison, and you’ll have something close to Helena in Caesarea’s charming harbour.
Consistently rated as one of the finest restaurants in Israel since its conception in 2004, Helena offers gorgeous panoramic views from its balcony of the Mediterranean and the Roman ruins of Caesarea.
The colours from the sea and the sky (catching the sunset here is quite something), combined with the vibrant mix of hues from chef Amos Sion’s creative dishes, are a feast for the eyes. Sion learnt his trade at a three star Michelin restaurant, which won’t come as a surprise once you’ve tasted his food.
Helena’s kitchen draws heavily on local ingredients – aged locally grown meats, fresh fish and seafood caught in the neighbouring villages, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and even local wild herbs. The dishes are light but filling and full of flavour; a starter and a main course will leave you more than satisfied.
Some of Helena’s most mouth-watering dishes include grilled local calamari with lemon, za’atar leaves on labaneh cheese and zhug (starter); Cauldron of Drum fillet in porcini cream sauce with mushrooms and Rizzo pasta (main), and homemade tehina ice cream with halva shavings (dessert). A mention must also be given to their perfectly cooked focaccia bread that comes fresh out of their taboon oven every day, and their main course dish of mussels in cider sauce with bacon – perhaps the least kosher dish in the whole of Israel!
Helena’s success is testament to the culinary revolution that has taken place in the Holy Land over the last two decades. This kind of fine dining, with such creative dishes and proudly local ingredients, would have been hard to come by before the turn of the millennium.
If you haven’t yet visited the fascinating Roman ruins of Caesarea, under an hour by car north of Tel Aviv, then Helena should be enough motivation to get you on your way! One of the most charming dining experiences in Israel awaits.