Food and Restaurants in Israel

Israel food is one of the most memorable things about a trip to the Holy Land! The country is a melting pot of eastern and western culinary traditions. Start the day with an Israeli breakfast of local cheeses, salads, olives, omelets, and bread. At lunchtime stop for a bite at one of the thousands of fast-food stalls or have a coffee and freshly-baked pastry at a sidewalk café. End the day with a meal in one of Israel’s Ethiopian, Iraqi, Moroccan, Tunisian, Polish, Yemenite, or Persian cuisine.

Kosher laws are implemented in many Israeli restaurants, that serve either meat and dairy. So vegetarians have no problem avoiding meat, and lactose intolerant visitors can avoid dairy! Israel really is heaven for vegetarians, and Tel Aviv has even been recognized as the “Vegan Capital of the World!”. 

Street food eateries are on every corner serving mouthwatering meals. The king of all Israeli fast food is hummus (although some say the national food is falafel). Other must-try street foods in Israel include the Iraqi eggplant sandwich, sabich, the fried savory pastry, burka, and the Georgian pastry, khachapuri.

Israel food will be one of the unforgettable memories you take home from your trip to the Holy Land. Some Israel restaurants have magnificent locations overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv’s coastline, or the hills of Galilee. Once you’re home your mouth will water just thinking about Israel’s comfort food, pungent spices, exotic dishes, and abundance of delicious dishes from diverse cultures.


The Most Recommended Restaurants in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is packed with excellent restaurants; whatever your taste and whatever your style you’ll find a restaurant in Tel Aviv that puts a smile on your face. To get you started here is a list of some of the city’s favorite eateries.The Best Restaurants on Rothschild BoulevardVongLocation: 15 RothschildBlvd,Tel AvivThis is one of the few places in the city where you can find good Vietnamese food. At Vong they use fresh ingredients and add the essential Asian flavors to their dishes. Portion sizes are generous and the prices are fair.Rothschild 12Location: 12 RothschildBlvd, Tel AvivAt this trendy eatery, you might have to wait for a table. Diners can choose from indoor seating or outdoor seating in the shaded patio where there is a bar and small stage. If you want to meet locals then take a seat at one of the communal tables.Milgo & MilbarLocation: 142 Rothschild Blvd,Tel AvivThis “in” establishment is where the cool guys hang-out. They serve up Mediterranean dishes and quality seafood prepared by young and innovative chefs. The restaurant is located in a Bauhaus building just across from the National Theatre, Habima.Tel Aviv Restaurants with the Best ViewsBlue SkyLocation: Carlton Hotel, 15 Eliezer Peri Street, Tel AvivEnjoy delicious Kosher Asian dishes prepared by celebrity chef, Meir Adoni as you look out across the Tel Aviv waterfront. Dishes are always innovative and created with attention to detail while the views are stunning night or day.Manta RayLocation: 703 Kaufman Street, Tel AvivYou can watch the sunset while you enjoy the seafood, Mediterranean dishes and local cuisine at Manta Ray. This restaurant is a regular on lists of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. In addition to the seafood, Manta-Ray serves up meat and chicken dishes as well as Mezzes which have become one of the most sort after dining treats in the city.Kitchen MarketLocation: 12 Hanger Street, Tel AvivLocated on the upper floor of the Farmers’ Market at Tel Aviv’s trendy port this restaurant offers views of the sea and the seafront. So for people watching or a tranquil sea view this is the place. The kitchen sources its ingredients from the farmers’ market below and dishes are contemporary fusion creations.The Best Bakeries in Tel AvivLehamimLehamim (breads) has several branches in Tel Aviv as well as a few in New York. This is a kosher bakery offering a wide range of breads, cakes, sandwiches, cookies, pies and pastries. At their branches at 103 Hashmonaim and at 125 Ibn Gvirol you can sit while you enjoy their huge Israeli breakfast and other treats.BakerySimply named this French-style bakery has 5 branches in Tel Aviv. Attention is paid to detail with the Bakery’s muffins, cakes, pastries, cookies, croissants, breads and babkas. The Bakery supplies baked goods to a number of the city’s top restaurants.Bread Story Location: 88 Dizengoff Street, Tel AvivThis café-bakery has an extensive menu of baked goods and offers daily specials. It is always buzzing with customers who come to see what the bread-of-the-day is. They offer gluten-free options and are known for their complex flavors.The Best Meat Restaurants in Tel AvivM25 Meat MarketLocation: 30 HaCarmel Street, Tel AvivJust off of Carmel Market is a meat market where you’ll find this popular meat restaurant. This place uses the freshest, best-quality cuts bought straight from the surrounding meat venders and the menu changes daily but is always prepared to perfection.Bar OchelLocation: 38 HaCarmel Street, Tel AvivBar Ochel (Food Bar) is another gem hidden among the hustle and bustle of Carmel Market. Try Bar Ochel’s juicy kebabs or their succulent steaks. There are also vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options as well as fish dishes. You can opt to sit outside where you can see the market life passing you by.HatraklinLocation: 4 Heihal HaTalmud Street, Tel AvivThis is a French-style bistro lounge housed in a restored mansion. Try their grilled meats and delicious steaks. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can watch a movie while you eat a dish inspired by the film.The Best Asian Restaurants in Tel AvivCa-Phe HanoiLocation: 3 Malkhei Yisrael Street, Tel AvivIndulge in delicious Vietnamese food at this stylish eatery. The restaurant is part of a French-owned restaurant and dishes are inspirational. Try the chicken with ginger and lemongrass that has been soaking in spices for seven hours or the steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves.TyoLocation: 7 Montefiore Street, Tel AvivTyo is a Japanese lounge-bar that tops the Trip Advisor list of best Asian restaurants in Tel Aviv. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful Tel Aviv building and offers a diverse menu with exotic flavors. The ingredients are super-fresh and top quality.Thai HouseLocation: 8 Bograshov Street, Tel AvivAt Thai House you are guaranteed top quality Thai food that makes you think you are in Thailand for an authentic meal beneath a thatched roof. There is an extensive menu that includes vegan and vegetarian options. Typical Asian dishes and Thai street food are created and portions are large so come hungry.The Best Italian Restaurants in Tel AvivRusticoLocation: Sarona Market, Tel AvivRustico has three branches in Tel Aviv all serving typical Italian pizza, pasta, meatballs, pies and other comfort foods. The Italian flavors are authentic and the cuisine and attention to customers will make you think you are in Italy!Nonno Angelo PizzaLocation: 147 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel AvivThis Italian pizza joint is run by two brothers who are continuing their family trade of Neapolitan-style pizza making. You can choose to take your pizza home or sit in the simple interior where the smell of freshly oven-baked pizza will keep your mouth watering.ShineLocation: 38 Shlomo HaMelekh Street, Tel AvivLocals flock to this award-winning establishment for the pizza, Bolognese, pasta, calamari, Gnocchi and tiramisu. They offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The atmosphere is warm and the smell of brick oven baked pizza fills the space.The Best Kosher Restaurants in Tel AvivLuminaLocation: Carlton Hotel, Tel AvivAt the helm of this kosher fine dining restaurant is Chef Meir Adoni. Lumina serves up traditional Jewish food with a modern and innovative twist. Adoni has taken well-loved favorites from various Jewish culinary traditions and given them his unique touch.The Chinese WallLocation: 26 Mikvah Yisrael Street, Tel AvivFinding good Chinese food in Israel is difficult but The Chinese Wall offers not only excellent Asian cuisine but a rare kosher option. The Chinese Wall’s menu includes hand-made noodles; wontons; dim sum, potsticker and more.West SideLocation: Royal Beach Hotel, 19 Hayarkon Street, Tel AvivThis is the place for kosher haute cuisine. West Side offers a seasonal menu of Asian and meat dishes including goose confit and some of the best cuts of meat in the city. The décor is reminiscent of hip New York eateries with a spacious and contemporary design.The Best Tel Aviv Street Food RestaurantsFalafel HakosemLocation: 1 Shlomo HaMelech Street, Tel AvivTrip Advisor rates Falafel Hakosem as the top Tel Aviv fast-food restaurant and it is also listed in numerous “best” lists of Tel Aviv street food. Here they serve classic Israeli street foods including shawarma, hummus, salads, herb-filled omelettes, chicken livers, chicken breast, schnitzel and the best falafel in town.Frishman SabichLocation: 42 Frishman Street, Tel Aviv“Sabich” is a traditional Iraqi Jewish pita sandwich stuffed with fried aubergine (eggplant), hard-boiled egg, potato, herbs, spices, salad and tachini or hummus. Sabich is one of the “must-try” street foods of Tel Aviv. Be adventurous and try some “amba” a mango based spicy relish that adds a totally different flavor to the meal.MiznonLocation: 23 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel AvivThere are several branches of Miznon in the Tel Aviv area but the most central is on Ibn Gvirol Street. serves gourmet Israeli fast food created by one of Israel’s top celebrity chefs, Eyal Shani. Here classic pita bread can be filled with less conventional ingredients all of the highest quality. This is Israeli street food at a fine dining level.The Best Tel Aviv Vegan RestaurantsAlegriaLocation: 165 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel AvivAlegria offers an innovative menu of tasty, healthy dishes created by Chef Motti Nagar. The smoked vegan “cheeses” are particularly good and can be bought to go home. Try the fermented cashew labane or vegan feta or Gouda.NunuchkaLocation: 30 Lilenblum Street, Tel AvivNunuchka is a Tel Aviv vegan restaurant that gets its inspiration from Georgian cuisine. Originally Nunuchka served traditional meat-based Georgian food but when the chef, Nana Shrier became vegan in 2014 the restaurant followed suit. Now Nunuchka’s pastries are stuffed with mushrooms rather than meat and bean cutlets are on the menu instead of beef. You can choose to sit indoors or in the large garden or on the patio or gallery. At night Nunuchka turns into a lively bar with an incredible atmosphere.AnastasiaLocation: 54 Frishman Street, Tel AvivThis Tel Aviv vegan café offers delicious meals and take-home treats. Anastasia was recently voted Tel Aviv’s Best Vegan Restaurant. Everything at Anastasia has been given close attention to detail – from the spacious indoor and outdoor seating; the tasteful décor and knowledgeable staff to the extensive, complex menu. There is also a small shop where you can find hard-to-get vegan products.
By Petal Mashraki

Wineries and Wine Tasting in Israel

Being such a small country Israeli cities are never too far away from the open countryside, farms and rural communities. The country has more than 300 wineries, 25 commercial wineries and 150 boutique wineries. The main wine producing areas in Israel include the Judean Hills where Tzuba Boutique Winery, Agur Boutique Winery and the Tzora Winery are located; Carmel region where there is the Vortman Winery, Maor Winery and the wineries of Zichron Yaakov including Somek Winery. Even in the south you can find wineries like the Yatir Winery, Midbar Winery and the Yatir Winery. There are five official wine regions in Israel – Galilee-Golan, Shomron, Samson, Judean Hills and the Negev. Thanks to the length of Israel it has several micro-climates which can support the growth of different types of grapes. More than 90% of Israel’s vineyards are in the Shomron, Samson and Galilee region while younger vineyards can be found in the Upper Galilee and Judean foothills.Grapes and a glass of white wine. Photo credit: © ShutterstockWine production in Israel dates back to Biblical times; archaeological excavations have uncovered ancient wine presses, storage cisterns, and decorative motifs depicting winemaking, grape clusters, and vines. In the 1990s Israeli wine production really took off, modern techniques and equipment were introduced and about 85% of Israel’s wineries were established in the 90s.More recently there have been many boutique winery start-ups that have sprung up across the country. Some of the stand-out wineries in Israel include Bashan which produces organic wine, Carmel which is the largest Israeli winery, Barkan the second largest, Margalit Winery credited as being Israel’s first boutique winery and Binyamina the third largest winery.Kosher Wine and Kosher-Mevushal Wine in IsraelThere are about 80 kosher wineries in Israel, so what makes wine kosher? Kosher wine needs to be overseen and produced only by Shabbat-keeping observant Jews from the time the grapes are picked to the time it is bottled – from crushing to bottling. This ancient law was created because at one time pagans used wine in their worship of idols and so the Jewish leaders wanted to ensure that no Jew was ever mistakenly given wine that had been used in idol worship.However this wasn’t enough, the Jewish authorities still worried that after opening the bottle might be tampered with (used for idol worship). And so Mevushal wine was introduced. Mevushal wine (literally cooked wine) has been heated to the point where idol worshipers wouldn’t use it in their ceremonies. So the rule is that wine that is not mevushal cannot be served to a Jew by a non-Jew. These laws were established a long time ago and the process of boiling wine would take out all the flavor. Thankfully today a process called flash pasteurization is used to make the wine “mevushal.” The process involves rapidly heating the wine to about 180°F/82.2°C for a minute and then rapidly cooling it. This helps retain the flavor that would be lost if it was really boiled. So wine you buy in Israel could be non-kosher, kosher because it has been produced by Shabbat observant Jews, or kosher Mevushal because it has been flash pasteurized.Grapevinefor harvest.Photo credit: © ShutterstockGolan Heights WineryThe Golan Heights has the ideal soil, climate, and topography for many crops and especially for vineyards. If you want a genuine wine country experience then the Golan Heights can make a great day trip. In the heart of Israel’s wine country, you’ll be surrounded by magnificent vineyards, breathtaking views, and small communities. Start your visit at the Visitors Center of Golan Heights Winery near Katzrin. Here you can get information about the tours and wine tastings available and about the history and production of Israeli wine. In the Wine Shop, you can buy souvenirs and locally produced wines. Open hours are 08:30-18:30 Monday to Thursday, 08:30-17:30 on Sundays, and 08:30-13:30 on Fridays and holiday eves.There are several tour options that are led by knowledgeable guides in Hebrew, Russian, English, French, German, Spanish or Swedish. Tours must be booked in advance on the Golan Heights Winery website. The Classic Visit includes a guided tour that covers the wine-making process, a visit to the oak barrel cellar, and a chance to taste several of the Golan Heights Winery wines. The Classic Visit lasts about an hour. For real aficionados, there is a Professional Wine-Tasting Visit which lasts 2 hours and includes a wider selection of wines in the tasting. You also have the option of a Premium Visit which includes a gourmet meal together with your wine tasting in the VIP room or the wine cellar and lasts 2 hours. The 4 hour Vineyard Tour takes you on a drive through the vineyards in an all-terrain vehicle. Your guide will introduce you to the various types of grapes and the incredible geography of the Golan Heights. This tour also includes wine tasting.Grapevine close-up. Photo by Bill Williams on UnsplashCarmel WineryThe Carmel Winery is located in Zichron Yaakov and they have a new Carmel Wine & Culture Center. The center has a wine store, restaurant, tasting rooms, a screening room, and a barrel room in one of Rothschild’s historic underground cellars. Visitors can choose from several touring and tasting options. On a Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting, you can visit the historic wine cellars, taste wine, and see a film presentation (1 hour, 30 ILS). A Winery Tour and Wine Workshop includes a more professional look at the site and a longer wine tasting session (1.5 hours, 50ILS). An Advances Tour and Wine Workshop includes a customized tour, tutoring about the art of wine tasting, and delicious cheese, vegetable, and bread platter (2 hours, 100ILS). The tours must be booked in advance and are slightly more expensive if you want to visit after 17:00. The winery center is open 09:30-17:00 Sunday to Thursday, 09:00-14:00 on Friday and holiday eves, and is closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.People in the Field Picking Grapes for the Last Harvest. Photo by Tina Witherspoon on UnsplashDalton WineryThe Dalton Winery is nestled in the hills of the Upper Galilee not far from the Lebanese border and overlooking Mount Hermon. The winery was established in 1995 by the Haruni family that emigrated from England. The winery makes about 800,000 bottles a year. Their vineyards grow at an altitude of 800-900 meters above sea level in the rich soil of the volcanic plateau and in the ideal climatic conditions. The winery recently moved to new premises in the Dalton Industrial Park where they can handle up to 1000 tones. The winery is adjacent to the vineyards making it a picturesque and ideal winery to visit. There is also a factory outlet store selling wine and products from Galilee. On the tour of the winery, you get to see the barrel room, bottling line, and taste the wines.Dalton Winery Visitors Center welcomes visitors for tours that can be booked by calling 04-698 7683 Ext. 2. However if you are in the area you can pop in for wine tasting without a prior booking. The Visitors Center is open daily except for Saturdays and Jewish holidays between 10 am and 4 pm. The last tour is at 3 pm. Green Grapes.Photo credit: © ShutterstockOn Fridays, you can visit from 10 am to 2 pm and the last tour is at 1 pm. The tour and tasting take about 45 minutes. A guided tour followed by tasting costs 20ILS. It is possible to arrange a group tour (30-80 people) together with a light dairy meal. Religious guests can arrange a tour and tasting led by the winery’s Rabbi. Note that not all the wines produced and sold at Dalton Winery are kosher-mevushal.All the above-mentioned Israeli wineries can be contacted on their websites, tours should be booked in advance and you should always phone ahead. In addition, you can visit other Israeli wineries including Katlav in the Judaean Hills; Tzora in the Judaean Hills open to visitors Sunday to Thursday 10 am-5 pm and Friday 9 am-2 pm.Avidan Winery in the Sharon region is open to visitors Friday to Saturday 11 am-4 pm; Bazelet HaGolan in the Golan Heights is open to the public Sunday to Friday 9 am to 3 pm; Assaf Winery in the Golan Heights is open daily 11 am to 4 pm and the Margalit Winery near Caesarea is open to the public in Spring.Vineyard at sunset.Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
By Petal Mashraki

Culinary Delights of Jerusalem Machane Yehuda Market

Machane Yehuda is Jerusalem’s primary market, particularly for food. Not only is fresh produce sold at the market but there are also several market eateries which have become iconic and considered some of the best restaurants in the city. There is so much to see in Jerusalem that few tourists ever manage to fit in a visit to Machane Yehuda but if you are a foodie (or just hungry) make a point of visiting this outstanding market. When you visit Machane Yehuda you get true insight into the day-to-day life of the local community. This is where many Jerusalemites do their weekly shop-up.Machane Yehuda is spread out over several lanes; it was established in 1928 for locals to buy their food goods. Today the market sells everything from household items and clothing to books, pet accessories and ceramic ornaments. The market food stalls include spice stalls where large sacks contain different colored herbs or the herbs and spices piled high on tables. You can also find freshly ground coffee; sweets and candy; fresh fish sold by fish mongers; halva; alcohol; nuts and dried legumes; baked goods; fruit; vegetables; pickles; pastries; artisan cheeses and butchers selling fresh meat.Machane Yehuda EateriesUzi-Eli the Market Witchdoctor is one of the most popular stands in the market. Uzi-Eli has a reputation for concocting natural juices from a number of unusual combinations each specifically to treat a physical or mental ailment. He will mix you up a fruit drink which will help your diabetes or one which will help you handle stress. Try one of the drinks with Hilbe (fenugreek) or gat juice.Khachapuri is a small eatery down HaEshkol Street which serves up traditional Georgian dishes. There are a few tables outside so you can do some people watching while you enjoy your food. If it is your first time trying Georgian food get an acharuli, a baked pastry with optional fillings like the classic salty cheese and egg.Mimi’s Bistro is also on HaEshkol Street; here you can find French-style cheese toast, croquet-Madame (fried egg grilled sandwich) crepes, pasta, soup or Belgian waffles. Everything is freshly made and Mimi even hosts French cooking workshops.Mousseline Jerusalem is the markets boutique ice-cream store where you can get unique flavors most of which are based on fresh fruit juices, herbs and spices. For example you could have a scoop of grapefruit, basil and sour cherry sorbet. The store also sells their own blend of coffee made from Ethiopian and Brazilian coffee beans.Ethiopian Ethnic Center on HaEshkol Street sells Ethiopian products including the spices used in Ethiopian food, Ethiopian beer and more. If you’re in the market on a Friday you can try some of the traditional injera, Ethiopian flatbread.Ochlim B’Shuk is an eatery on Hatapuach Street which specializes in Persian cuisine. They cook the food using authentic methods on old kerosene stoves. The eatery has been open since 2003.HaAgas 1 on Eliyahu Banai Street is a vegetarian restaurant which dishes up wholesome healthy vegetarian food. The restaurant is named after a line in a famous Israeli song written by Ehud Banai who’s family used to live above their vegetable store which is now the restaurant.Café Mizrachi on HaShazif Street opened in order to draw clients to the market. That was many years ago and today the café is one of the iconic coffee places in the market and a household name in Jerusalem.Fish n’ Chips on HaEgoz Street is the place to go if you’re home sick for chips with vinegar! OK so it’s not quite like British fish and chips but it comes close.Que-Pasa on HaEgoz Street serves up Spanish and Mediterranean style tapas as well as Spanish beer. The market has cuisine from around the world and this is a perfect example of international cuisine in the heart of the market.Pasta Basta on HaEgoz Street is a play on the Hebrew word for “stall” which is “basta”. This eatery uses the finest raw ingredients from the market plus some super imported Italian products. The pasta is made freshly at the restaurant each morning and customers who arrive early are treated to seeing the pasta-makers at work.Foodie Fun at the MarketIn addition to wandering through the market and sampling the various foods you could take it one step further and take a bakery tour, wine and cheese tour, shuk cooking workshops or a chef-guided tasting tour.Not far from the market (just one street away) is a chef restaurant, one of the best in the country. It is called Machnayuda – a mix of the two words Machane and Yehuda. The highly regarded restaurant is run by three renowned chefs; one of them is Assaf Granite a judge on one of the Israeli reality cooking shows. The restaurant serves delicious dishes using extremely fresh ingredients and often basing recipes on traditional local dishes with an elegant modern twist. For example you can order fettuccine with apricot butter, white wine, cherries and sundried tomatoes followed by a banufi pie (Indian cheese cake) with banana and coconut.Jacko’s Street is another chef restaurant just one street from the heart of the market. It is a kosher restaurant run by four well known chefs. The restaurant produces salads, grilled meats, Carpaccio, cerviche and more. All diners are treated to a free shot of Arak as they wait for their meal.Practical Information:You can reach Machane Yehuda by walking up Agrippas Street from the city center or catch the Jerusalem Light Rail which stops right by the market entrance. The market stretches from Agrippas Street to Jaffa Road.Open Hours: The market is open daily except for Saturdays. Sunday to Thursday 8am-7pm and Fridays 8am-3pm. Several of the cafes and restaurants remain open on Saturdays.
By Petal Mashraki

Tel Aviv Markets

Experiencing Tel Aviv's markets (shuk or souk) is a must on any visit to Israel. All of your senses will be stimulated by the cacophony of sounds; delicious and strange aromas; spices and clothing in every color of the rainbow and the diverse mix of people on the streets. Tel Aviv has markets to suit all tastes and preferences; there are elegant and sophisticated markets; rough and dirty market; markets where the focus is on food and others where you'll just want to people-watch and hang-out with local hipsters. At Tel Aviv markets you'll find produce fresh from the farms; gourmet delicacies; clothing; rip-offs of luxury brands; authentic handmade textiles and junk with a few hidden gems to be discovered. Visit any of these Tel Aviv markets for an experience to remember.Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel) – For Rough and Ready Day to Day ShoppingOne of the Carmel Market stallsTel Aviv's most famous and central market, Shuk HaCarmel is the market visited by most tourists to Tel Aviv. The Shuk runs along HaCarmel Street from Allenby Street towards the beach, ending at a park near the Intercontinental Hotel. The market is usually very crowded with streams of people going in both directions; it's loud and a little grubby (authentic). Stalls on both sides sell groceries, fruit and vegetables, clothing, meat, fish, sweets, spices, household goods, toys, rip-off luxury items, jewelry, perfume, gadgets and more. Shuk HaCarmel has become a hot spot for foodies who come to sample the food sold at eateries and cafes, each with their own unique dishes. Some of the eateries double as street bars where patrons stand on the sidewalk. The food on offer comes from multiple cultures and is often a fusion of many. Don't hesitate to wander through the side streets that lead off the shuk's main drag. Here you'll find hole-in-the-wall eateries, bars, beautiful crumbling buildings and some small unique stores and stalls.Sarona – For Sophisticated Gourmet Goods and Elegant SurroundingsSarona is a restored German Templar Colony originally established in 1871. Today the historic buildings house sophisticated stores and up-market restaurants. In the complex is the Sarona Market; an indoor culinary market with stylish décor reminiscent of La Boqueria in Barcelona. With a focus on food and kitchen products Sarona is cleaner; more expensive and less crowded than other Tel Aviv markets. The specialty goods on sale make it a destination specifically for buying and eating food and not for souvenirs or people watching. If you are a foodie, then Sarona is a must. The products on sale come from across the globe and are diverse in their flavors and cultural origins. Some of the stalls are operated by top Israel chefs and the adjacent restaurants are also gourmet. Unlike most other Tel Aviv markets, Sarona is open seven days a week including Saturdays. There are regular special events such as cooking demonstrations and musical performances.Levinsky - For Hipster Hang-Outs and Ancient Spice StoresThe Levinsky Market in the Florentin neighborhood was once the "bad" end of town; then it morphed into a bohemian neighborhood and finally into a gentrified haven for hipsters with some of the old neighborhood charm thrown in. In the 1950s the market vendors were mainly Iranian and Iraqi Jews selling spices. Now a new generation has blended old with new and stalls sell a mix of traditional market goods and modern necessities. You'll find stores selling Middle Eastern spices from large sacks that spill out onto the sidewalk; dried fruits and nuts; household goods and everyday items. Several restaurants and cafes spread out across small tree-covered plazas and some eateries have even gained a faithful following with customers lining up along the street. Enjoy traditional foods from different cultures from Tunisian sandwiches to Polish salted herring.Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk HaPishPashim) – For Antiques, Junk and Hidden TreasuresThe Shuk HaPishPashim is perhaps the most unique market you can find in Tel Aviv. At first glance the market offers heaps and heaps of junk – some stalls look like they have been stacked high with all those bits and pieces everyone has in one of their kitchen draws. On closer inspection some of the market stalls sell genuine antiques; others sell second-hand goods in bad condition and some of the stalls sell a mix of the two – so you have to dig out the good stuff. Here you'll find vintage items; authentic antiques; classic furniture; souvenirs; home appliances; top designer stores; musical instruments; accessories; car parts; art work; jewelry; and clothing – new and second-hand. Like most of Tel Aviv's markets Shuk HaPishPashim has become a popular foodie destination. After nightfall the market stalls shut down and the place turns into a vibrant nightlife destination with lively bars and chef-style restaurants.Nahalat Binyamin - For Arts, Crafts, Bauhaus and Parisian-style CafesHandmade craft,Nahalat Binyamin MarketRunning parallel to Carmel Market and connected by several lanes is Nahalat Binyamin, a wide, pedestrian-only street lined with Bauhaus houses and some pretty impressive graffiti art as well. The stores in the buildings along Nahalat Binyamin mainly sell fabric but the real attraction is the market set up along the street each Tuesday and Friday. The stalls specialize in handmade arts and crafts and you'll often find the artist or designer manning the stall. Some of the items on sale include wind chimes, handmade soap, unique handmade jewelry, paintings, toys and organic products. This sophisticated market is somewhat reminiscent of European markets. The outdoor cafes along the street will remind you of a romantic European movie with picturesque bougainvillea dripping over the buildings, umbrellas and bustling waiters serving brunch. Nahalat Binyamin has a more relaxed atmosphere than Carmel Market; here you can linger, enjoy an ice-cream or coffee; watch street performers and get to know local artists.More Tel Aviv MarketsBelieve it or not, there are even more markets in Tel Aviv! In an addition to the top Tel Aviv markets listed above you can also explore Bezalel Market for budget items on King George Street; Shuk HaNamal, an indoor farmers' market at the old port; Dizengoff Square antique market on Tuesdays and Fridays; the Greek Market in Jaffa; Rothschild Allenby Market for high-end cuisine and the Friday market on Givon Square for vintage everything.
By Petal Mashraki

Food and Drink Festivals in Israel

Food is always a highlight of any trip to Israel; the country has delicious locally created dishes and many international imports brought to the Holy Land by immigrants. Wine has been produced in Israel since Biblical times and the rich soil and varied terrains provide nourishing earth for the local vineyards. If you are lucky enough to be in Israel during one of these food and beverage festivals then you will have the opportunity to sample some of the country’s best cuisine.Chefs for Peace Food EventThis festival was established by a group of Christian, Muslim and Jewish chefs who want to promote peace by bringing people together over a meal. Using food as a common language they hold events throughout the country and sometimes internationally. At these events you can taste dishes prepared by the chefs and help support their worthy cause. The aim of the Chefs for Peace is to promote understanding and coexistence between the different cultures in the region and hopefully reduce conflict. The chefs see food as the universal means of encountering new cultures. In the past Chefs for Peace events have been held in many countries like Norway, Canada, Italy and most often in Israel. Check out their list of upcoming events on the Chefs for Peace website.So French, So Good, FebruaryFor the fourth year running So French, So Good is putting the spotlight on French cuisine with the help of 28 restaurants and 4 bakeries from around the country. This culinary festival is presented by Israeli chefs and bakeries in collaboration with French chefs to create French/Israeli fusion dishes. The festival is run by the French Embassy in Israel and is held at the beginning of February (February 8-10, 2016). For the 2016 festival one of the participants was Chef Laurent Azoulay, a Michelin-star chef from L’Ekrin restaurant in Meribel, ski resort in the French Alps who joined Meir Adoni of the BlueSky restaurant and judge on one of Israel’s cooking reality shows. Other chefs who have joined together for the festival are Chef Michel Sarran (Michelin rated) from Toulouse who worked together with Israeli Chef Moran Yanai who has his restaurant in Hotel Montefiore. By pairing up French chefs with Israeli chefs many amazing new creations are produced. The ideas and culinary customs of the French and Israeli culture come together to create a unique food. In the 2016 festival chefs came from Acre, Tiberias, Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv. While the international side of the equation was filled in by chefs like Ridha Khadher of the Au Paradis du Gourmand in Paris, Guillaume Gomez, head chef of the Presidential Palace Elysee and Stephane Leger of Archange restaurant in Saint Raphael. The festival will be held in restaurants across the country where the specially created menus will be on offer. In addition to the French culinary delights there are also screenings of food-related films at the French Institute in Tel Aviv, cookery classes at the Sheraton Tel Aviv and French alcohol tasting.Shokoland Chocolate Festival, FebruaryTel Aviv’s chocolate festival is held for three days at the historic Old Station complex – HaTachana. The country’s top chocolatiers come together to present a huge range of chocolates At the festival there are also cooking demonstrations, chocolate making demonstrations, chocolate displays, chocolate tastings, chocolate ice-creams, chocolate sculptures, chocolate fondue and even chocolate beer. The countries chocolate boutique stores will treating you to delicious chocolate in all shapes, flavors and colors.Diner en Blanc , Junehe concept behind this culinary event is to bring people together across a table to share a meal. The dinner is held the night before Tel Aviv’s famous Tel Aviv White Nights when the city’s restaurants, clubs and some stores stay open until the early hours of the morning. 2016 will be the 3rd annual Diner en Blanc event and about 500 people will take part. The location of this pop-up event is only announced an hour before the dinner to people who have previously registered online. Participants need to bring their own white table, white chairs and picnic basket full of delicious food. Dinner in White is an elegant and sophisticated event held in up to 60 locations around the world. The whole event is decorated in white with white table cloths, decorations and balloons. The participants are asked to attend wearing only white clothes. While eating their dinner there is live entertainment and dancing. The event is quiet exclusive with “friends bring friends” so you can’t really get an invitation unless you know someone who is already involved. There are also quite a lot of rules about etiquette and decorum at the event.Taste of Tel Aviv Food Festival ,JuneTel Aviv has literally thousands of restaurants from gourmet fine dining establishments to hole-in-the-wall humus places. You won’t be able to sample all that the city’s restaurants have to offer but you can do pretty well if you attend this festival held in the spring. Some of Israel’s most renowned chefs participate as well as many restaurants from the city. Each restaurant sets up a stall in the festival and offers a selection of food from their menu all at a drastically reduced price. The idea is to bring gourmet food to the general public at affordable prices. The festival is the largest food festival in the country and is visited by over a million people each year (making a profit of over a million dollars). Restaurants offer a tasting menu for a set discount price. Dates for the next festival have yet to be announced but it is usually held in Ganei Yehoshua (HaYarkon Park), Tel Aviv.Herzliya Marina Beer Festival ,JulyThe Herzliya marina is a great place to visit even if you miss the festival; a large up-market mall faces the marina where yachts are docked along the edge of a wide expansive deck and plaza. This is where the festival is held, out in the open on long summer nights. The festival presents a wide variety of beers as well as a beer-brewing competition. While sipping beer and enjoying the sea breeze visitors are entertained by live performances by top Israeli artists.Chef, Eat!JulyUnlike other food festivals this one does not have one location or even one date; it is held in several restaurants across Jerusalem a number of times a year. Participating restaurants offer a two course meal at a discount price. Guests get a starter and main course for under 100ILS plus they can add a few extra shekels for dessert.Jerusalem Wine Festival, August2016 was the 13th year for this annual festival. It is Israel’s largest wine festival and features wine tastings, food stalls, workshops and live musical performances. The Israel Museum hosts this beverage event which feels a lot more cultural because of its surroundings than other alcohol festivals do. The event is held in the grounds of the museum where there are several sculptures and works of art. The festival celebrates Israeli wines and snacks are on offer while live music plays in the background. Approximately 60 Israeli wineries are represented offering over 100 different types of wine. In 2016 20,000 people are expected to attend. At the festival you can buy bottles of the Israeli wines to take home.Jerusalem Beer Festival, AugustThis is perhaps the biggest and most important annual beer event in Israel. Over the course of two days the festival is open from sundown until midnight and sees about 20,000 guests. 2016 will be the 11th year for the annual festival. In the past it has been held in the historic Old Train Station complex and at Gan HaAtzmut. At the event Israeli breweries set up stalls offering a taste of their brew. There are over 150 beers offered each year from large and micro-breweries including international labels. You have the opportunity to sample beer from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Japan and more. There are even some unusual beers like banana infused beer. In addition to the beer guests will be entertained by live musical performances and the beer is accompanied by a great selection of food. There will also be beer making demonstrations and an arts and craft market. In 2015 tickets cost 40ILS.Around the World in Rishon LeZion, AugustThe world food fair (Yarid Colinari, Ta’am Olami) offers a taste of cuisine from countries around the globe and entrance is free. The festival is held in the 140 dunam Shikma Park along the avenue of palm trees and on the lawns of the park. Ten zones of the world are created featuring large models of the country’s landmarks; the country or region’s traditional foods as well as other cultural elements like national costume, traditional folk dancing and the local music. On the lawns of the park will be a Greek-style tavern selling beers, cocktails and wine from around the world. In the same area here will be a special section for cheeses from around the world and those entering the area where alcohol is sold will have to show ID to prove they are over 18. In the past the countries represented were America, France, Italy, Lebanon, China, Morocco, Greece, Russia and India.The Kosher Taste of the City, AugustIsraeli cuisine faces the unique challenge of contending with kosher law – no mixing of meat and milk; no seafood; no fish without scales and fins; meat must be from specific animals, slaughtered in a specific manner and prepared in a specific way. This is one of the rare festivals where kosher-observant Jews can enjoy the food on offer. The event is held on the Hof Argmon promenade in Natanya where kosher restaurants present their dishes for a small price (usually under 80ILS). Kitchenware is sold at the festival and there are a number of activities including kid’s entertainment and life musical performances. The festival lasts 10 days and about 50 kosher gourmet restaurants participate.Taste of the Galilee Food Festival, September/OctoberThis annual event is held in the Galilee region of northern Israel at Montfort Lake Park and select locations in the region usually during the Sukkot holidays. The festival features music, workshops, shows, children’s activities and foods produced and grown in the Galilee region. Cafes, restaurants and kibbutzim will be participating and presenting themed menus. The festival highlights the culinary world of northern Israel, the rich farm produce and cottage industry food products as well as the Galilee’s famous wines. Entrance is free to Montfort Lake Park where you can relax on the lawns between meals, rent pedal boats on the lake and enjoy the live performances in the evening. The festival opens in the park at noon and continues until sundown when the shows begin.Taybeh Oktoberfest, OctoberTaybeh is a small Christian village in Palestine’s West Bank surrounded by the majority Muslim communities. Although the Muslim majority prohibits alcohol for religious reasons the Christians of Taybeh have managed to keep one of the oldest trades in the Holy Land alive. Here the municipality has collaborated with the local brewery since 2005 in holding the West Banks only beer festival. The festival has gone from strength to strength and draws in approximately 16,000 visitors each year for the two day festival. The event boosts the local economy and has put the small village of Taybeh on the international map. The Taybeh Brewing Company’s beer is drunk in countries around the world and they have recently added wine to their product list. The wine is called “Nadim” and is produced in the company’s new winery which is beneath a boutique hotel built specifically to accommodate visitors to the brewery, winery and festival.Visiting the festival supports local businesses and helps to bring stability to this area of the country where life always seems to be in flux. The festival is usually held on the first Saturday and Sunday of October but exact dates for 2016 have not yet been announced. At the festival local music groups perform as well as international guest artists. Performances are in several venues and there are also local arts and crafts on sale as well as village tours, a small museum, a Taybeh beer tour and exhibitions held at the Society for the Preservation of Christian Heritage Historical Center of Taybeh. At past festivals there have been street hockey games, Henna body painting, prayer services in the three local churches, folklore dancing performances, stand-up comedy performances, a children’s program, karate demonstrations and a lottery. You can also buy local products like olive oil and honey. The festival helps to promote a different side of Palestine to that perceived on the international news.A-Sham, Arab Food Festival of Haifa, December2016 was the first year for Israel’s Arab Food Festival. The festival looks to become an annual event and features 25 chefs, Jewish, Christian and Muslim from across the country. Arabic delicacies are created by chefs of all faiths in Israel, there are no borders or political conflict when it comes to Israel’s culinary community. Haifa is the perfect city to host this festival as citizens of all faiths share the city and mostly live in harmony side-by-side. The Holiday of Holidays is an annual event when Hanukah, Christmas and Eid al-Fitr are celebrated together by events held throughout the city. The Arab Food Festival is now a part of the annual Holiday of Holidays events. The festival was the idea of Arab Israeli chef Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the winner of Israel’s 2014 reality show Master Chef (and also a microbiologist). The festival highlights traditional Arabic cuisine which is fast disappearing from the local culinary landscape. The Levantine kitchen is presented in a number of variations to show the cultural context of these dishes and the traditional lifestyles. Many of the traditional Arabic dishes are very labor intensive and many are associated with specific events like religious festivals, weddings and celebrating a new born. Among the traditional Arabic foods on offer there is hilbe, commonly eaten by Yemeni Jews and made out of fenugreek seeds; habisa, a black and white dessert sweetened with carob juice and haroumanieh, eggplant and green lentils prepared in pomegranate juice. Those wanting to enjoy the amazing Arabic foods on offer only need to pay 35ILS (2015 price); you then receive a map of 25 restaurants offering the festival dishes and you can set off to taste them at the various eateries. There are a number of additional festival events including a workshop given by Christian Orthodox Arab women of how to prepare traditional Christmas cookies; tastings of Galilee olive oil, honey, almonds and carob syrup and panel discussions.
By Petal Mashraki
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