When you think of typical Israeli food, seafood is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. While eating bottom dwellers is prohibited by Jewish dietary law, purveyors of excellent shrimp, mussels, calamari and lobster should rejoice because when a restaurant does seafood in Israel, it does it to perfection. Here, we bring you the top seafood restaurants in Israel, from Haifa to Tel Aviv, and all the way down to Eilat.
Plateu Royale at Mul Yam Courtesy Shay Efgin
Restaurant, Mediterranean, Seafood
Mul Yam sets the gold standard for top tier seafood in not only Israel, but around the world. Nestled in the perfect setting of Tel Aviv’s northern port, Mul Yam offers Mediterranean views to complement the tastes of the sea. It is also one of very few Israeli restaurants to serve lobster, featuring the internationally renowned blue Bretagne lobster. Other excellent dishes include pan seared Israeli shrimp, and various types of French oyster. Decadent yet refined, Mul Yam has racked up an impressive number of awards since opening its doors in 1995. With its expensive prices, diners should be aware of how to make the most of this unique restaurant: its weekday business lunches are more reasonable and equally scrumptious. An exciting new division called Mul Young has been launched to make the restaurant more accessible to young adults.
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Located in a beautiful Bauhaus building on posh Rothschild Boulevard, Milgo & Milbar sets the bar for creative elegance based on organic, local ingredients. Chef superstars Or Michaeli and Moti Titman have earned their pedigree with culinary experience in top London, Paris and Tel Aviv restaurants. Notable seafood dishes include shrimps cooked in white wine and ginger butter, and sea fish fillet on Jerusalem artichoke. Each dish comes out of the kitchen with its own wine accompaniment, and is served by some of the friendliest waiters around. All the while, jazz music from the owners’ private playlist sets the relaxed and atmospheric mood. To complete an evening of cultural indulgence, look no further than across the street to lovely Habima Square, where you can reserve play tickets at Israel’s national theater.
Right off of leafy Ben Gurion Boulevard and steps from the beach lies Goocha, a restaurant both well known and well loved among Tel Avivians. The vibe is trendy and modern, yet welcoming. Goocha’s comfortable outdoor seating is ideal for people watching in the city center. Everything is high quality and delicious, whether you order the shrimp with crab sauce pasta, calamari in coconut curry or the Saturday evening mussels special. With its solid seafood menu, original flavors and European-Asian blend of cooking techniques, Goocha consistently has a loyal line of customers waiting at its door.
For seafood adventurers looking to graze outside of Tel Aviv’s foodie scene, a visit to Idi is a must. Located in Ashdod, Israel’s largest operating port city, Idi serves mouth watering dishes in an unpretentious setting. The décor is as maritime and kitschy as it gets, featuring mahogany tables, model ships, clocks and bells from bygone voyages and other delightful treasures. True to Israeli tradition, each meal begins with a serving of tasty Mediterranean salads and side dishes. The grilled local fish, shrimps served with fried vegetables and calamari are favorites.
Where better to indulge a seafood craving than in Eilat, Israel’s top beach destination. Travelers in search of the best can go straight to Pago Pago, a warmly decorated and stunning restaurant overlooking the North Beach Marina. The chef’s lobster is over 650 grams, perfect for fans of this delicious dish. The calamari blanketed with tahini sauce is highly recommended for those who looking for a taste of the Middle East. There is also an excellent sushi menu, which can be mixed and matched with seafood plates to create a truly memorable meal.
A glimpse of Uri Buri's delicious menu | Courtesy of Sivan Askayo
The old city of Akko, situated on the north seashore of Israel, is home to one of the best seafood restaurants in the country, Uri Buri. Staff are knowledgeable and friendly, offering diners great suggestions on what to order. The salmon ceviche in soy sauce with wasabi sorbet, crab meat in seaweed and cast iron creamed scallops are just some examples of the wonderful and creative offerings on their extensive menu. Half dishes are also available and recommended in order to taste more of the incredible meals. The owner, Uri is involved and engaging, happy to speak with guests and receive feedback on the dishes. The fish here is local, the seafood fresh, and all the food is as aesthetic as it is tasty. Afterwards, go explore the picturesque ruins of Akko, which was declared one of Israel’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The multicultural city of Haifa is full of excellent restaurant options, but Abu Zeid holds the distinction of being an Arab seafood restaurant. The Middle Eastern influence manifests itself in many ways, from the warm hospitality of the owner, to the plethora of salad and hummus side dishes, as well as delicious schnitzel and kebab options. Yet seafood never takes a back seat to the other dishes. Abu Zeid covers all its bases with deep sea favorites, including lobster, shrimp and crabs, as well as a selection of local and imported fish.