Israel Travel Blog

The Best Places to Eat Sufganiyot in Tel Aviv

Everyone in Israel has their favourite time of the year. It might be spring, when the flowers bloom, summer where you can spend all day (and night) at the beach, fall (when the weather is perfect) or winter (when the rains - and even some snow - finally arrive).And it’s the same with the Jewish holidays - some people love the atmosphere of Passover, and the traditional seder meal. Others love Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), with moving prayers and apples dipped in honey. There are those who enjoy Shavuot, when it’s traditional to eat dairy products and take your kids to visit a kibbutz. And then there’s Hanukkah.Yes, Hanukkah, the festival that falls every December (the month of ‘Kislev’ in the Jewish calendar) which, although a minor festival in the year, is loved by all - the lighting of candles every night for eight nights, children spinning the dreidel and collecting chocolate coins and then the sugary treats no-one wants to miss out on - sufganiyot.Sufganiyot (a cross between a beignet and a jelly donut) are something you’ll see everywhere at this time of the year - not just in bakeries but in supermarkets across the country. Traditionally, sufganiyot were a humble affair - deep-fried in oil, filled with a tiny dollop of strawberry jam, and dusted with powdered sugar.But, today, with the blooming of so many bakeries in Israel there’s an extraordinary range of them - from simple to gourmet. And what better way to celebrate Hanukkah than by indulging? Here are our trips for the best places to eat sufganiyot in Tel Aviv this month…1. RoladinRoladin really sets the tone for sufganiyot in Israel each year, and although they're pretty pricey, they’re definitely worth it. With a seemingly never-ending supply of flavours (think tiramisu, salted caramel, cheesecake and creme brulee) these are truly bites of heaven.The presentation of the donuts is also very ‘wow’. With flakes and sprinkles and little ‘syringes’ where you can ‘inject’ some of the flavour into your donut before biting in, if you have to choose one bakery to hit at Hanukkah, it should be Roladin.Roladin Sufganiyot. Photo credit: LehamimLehamim (which is another good chain in Israel) can always be relied upon to come up with the goods - and whilst they serve very ‘classic’ donuts, they don’t skimp on the quality (like all of their baked goods, they only use the most top-end ingredients).Lehamim’s sufganiyot usually come in three flavours - quality strawberry jam. Belgian chocolate ganache and dulce de leche. And the fact is that when you bite into one you’ll realise that you don’t need bells and whistles to make something like this tasty.Lehamim BakerySufganiyot. Photo credit:Lehamim Bakery Facebook Page3. Cafe XohoFor vegans, finding great sufganiyot in Tel Aviv can sometimes be a challenge but Cafe Xoho won’t let you down. This hipster cafe in the heart of Tel Aviv, and a stone’s throw from Gordon Beach, pushes the envelopeEgg and dairy-free creations, using almond-nut butter, are delicious - in the past, they’ve come up with beetroot-flavoured icing and fruity toppings - their menus in general are creative and few leave this cafe disappointed. Grab one and head down to one of Tel Aviv’s best beaches…4. ShemoShemo was established by the fabulous pastry chef, Miki Shemo, and is renowned for its patisserie and, in true Hanukkah style, always lives up to the challenge.In previous years, their donuts (which are famously light) have grown more ‘ambitious’ in flavour varieties, sprinkles and toppings. White chocolate ganache, pecan and lemon, plus lots of glitter atop their creations, will greet you as you walk through the door and you will be hard-pressed not to buy just one. Yum.Miki Shemo Special Sufganiyot. Photo credit: SHEMO Bakery Facebook Page5. Boutique CentralIf you’re looking for something decadent, then head to Boutique Central (with locations all over Israel). Along with all the classic fillings, they also sell sufganiyot which are styled like brioche and baked (rather than fried) which comes in the shape of a cake!Fillings of the donuts include Nutella, pistachio, lemon, creme patisserie and caramel - and with stores all across the country, they can be counted on to keep you happy. Additionally, they don’t forget the one million Russians who live in the country and last year produced a creation for ‘NovyGod’ (their version of ‘Sylvester’) which is celebrated at this time.Boutique Central Sufganiyot. Photo credit: Boutique Central Facebook Page6. DallalLocated in the beautiful old neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek, the Dallal Bakery is famous for its delicious pastries (particularly their Danishes, which are reputed to be the best in the city).They won’t let you down over the Hannukah season either - in the last few years, they’ve served visitors with creations made of raspberry ganache, coconut and ‘milk jam’. Dallal has an outdoor seating area, perfect for taking a break, and the vibe is always chilled. And if you want to take yours away, the beach is just a couple of minutes walk…
Par Sarah Mann

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.One of the Carmel Market stalls, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © ShutterstockCarmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel) – For Rough and Ready Day to Day ShoppingTel 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 its 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.Spices at Carmel Market. Photo credit: © ShutterstockSarona – 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.Assorted necklaces at Jaffa Flea Market. Photo byTamara MalaniyonUnsplashLevinsky - 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.Photo credit: © ShutterstockJaffa Flea Market (Shuk HaPishPashim) – For Antiques, Junk, and Hidden TreasuresThe Shuk HaPishPeshim 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 kitchens 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; artwork; 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.Carmel Market, Tel Aviv.Photo byNicole BasteronUnsplashNahalat Binyamin - For Arts, Crafts, Bauhaus, and Parisian-style CafesRunning 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.Fresh strawberry at one of Tel Aviv markets.Photo bybec s.onUnsplash
Par 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
Par 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.
Par 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.
Par Petal Mashraki

Jerusalem Open Restaurants Festival 2017

The Jerusalem OPEN RESTAURANT Festival 2017 is an urban culinary festival held from 14th to 18th November 2017. The festival takes place at venues across Jerusalem and includes many different activities and events. Foodies will love this unique festival which has also been held in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam. The festival events are multidisciplinary and showcase Jerusalem’s cultural institutions, restaurants, culinary personalities and cuisine. Festival events will include food tours, talks, activities for kids, tastings, a competition for the best promising chef and social events. The highlight of the OpenRestaurant Festival is the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” in top Jerusalem restaurants, meet the chefs and see what happens in the kitchens.About the Jerusalem Open Restaurant FestivalThose attending festival events will have an opportunity to meet leading chefs; get to know Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market; sample the city’s best food and even create their own culinary delicacies. The events will be held at a number of venues. Many of the events will take place in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market others are held in top restaurants. Leading Israeli chefs will conduct the workshops and tastings and food vendors, line-cooks and restaurateurs will also be involved. Most of the events at the festival are kosher but there are those that are non-kosher. Some of the events and workshops are free and others require a small fee. Most of the festival events are conducted in Hebrew but there are special packages for tourists which include food tours, workshops and Food Talks.Highlights of This Jerusalem Food FestivalAmong the special events there is an empanadas workshop at Argento Empanadas; A Tribute to the Kitchen of Rama at Rama’s Kitchen; an Evening of Pickling at Hamifaal; Jerusalem inside a Pita Bread at the Dwini Pita Bar and from Asia with Love at Station 9. All of these are top Jerusalem restaurants and the events are run by leading personalities in the Israeli culinary world. The public are invited to enjoy a tasting menu at Machneyuda, one of the country’s top restaurants. Machneyuda also invites the public to enjoy A Jungle of Desserts. At the restaurant Yudale Chef Asaf Seri will take visitors on a behind the scenes tour and show them his favorite market stalls. Take a hands-on baking workshop with confectioner David Laor to learn to make brioche; at The Eucalyptus learn to make easy kubbah and at the restaurant ANNA learn to make handmade pasta.Family and Children’s ActivitiesThere are some events specifically designed for families and kids.The family events will be held at the Bloomfield Science Museum and the First Station Park. In addition kids can join hands-on workshops at Roladin bakery; attend a sushi workshop at Sushi Rehavia and join the Machane Yehuda Market tours. These activities are suitable for children between 6yrs and 18 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult.How to ParticipateYou can buy tickets for the festival online at the Open-Restaurants website. If you want to attend an event that is already fully booked your name will be put on a waiting list. If a place becomes available you will be contacted. All orders must be made and paid for online in advance. Prices range from 30 ILS to 300 ILS and last an hour to three hours long. Among the free events there are Food Talks; the Culinary Innovation Summit and the Food and Hospitality Hackathon. At the Hackathon leaders in the food tech industry will host workshops and try to devise how we can improve our current culinary norms. Although these events are free you still need to book your place online. Apart from the events geared towards children all other events are for participants over 18 years old. Most of the events at the festival are kosher but there are those that are non-kosher. Some of the events and workshops are free and others require a small fee. Most of the festival events are conducted in Hebrew but there are special packages for tourists which include food tours, workshops and Food Talks.
Par Petal Mashraki

7 Restaurants with the Best Views in Israel

What kind of landscapes can you expect on a first-time visit to Israel? The answer is many. Israel is incredibly diverse in so many ways - after all, this is a country where people arrived from the four corners of the globe. And, of course, this will extend to what you see when you travel the Holy Land.From snow-capped mountains in the Golan Heights to rolling green hills in the Galilee; from arid desert landscapes to the rooftops of Jerusalem’s Old City and from urban skylines in Tel Aviv to the Mediterranean coastline, Israel has it all.And what better way to enjoy these views than over a good meal? Our country is famed for its cuisine - from typical Israeli street food to gourmet kosher offerings and celebrity chef restaurants, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.So, why not combine the two: astonishing landscapes with fantastic food? Here’s a rundown of what we think are some of the best restaurants in Israel with a view:1. Manta Ray, Tel AvivThis trendy Tel Aviv restaurant, situated on the beachfront, a stone’s throw from the port of Old Jaffa, is well-known for its wonderful views - look out of the window and you’ll see a sandy beach and then the Mediterranean right in front of you. And whether it’s a hot summer’s evening, and the waves are lapping gently, or a winter’s night and the waves are crashing down, you can’t beat this kind of setting.The Jaffa sunset is almost MysticManta Ray is known for its fish - especially its fresh seafood - patrons rave about the oysters, jumbo shrimp, toasted calamari, and caramelized mussels. The sea bass with gnocchi, eggplant, and cashews is delicious, and meat eaters can tuck into the osso buco (lamb shank) with mashed potato or beef filet with artichoke hearts, served in a red wine sauce.Vegetarians should order the mushroom risotto with Manchego cheese and vegans will lick their lips at the thought of their ‘sweet and veggie’ dish (with a pineapple theme). Manta Ray also has an extensive drinks list, including some killer cocktails.Don't skip Manta Ray if you love Seafood RisottoProTip: Don’t miss this place, if you’re having a vacation in Tel Aviv. Order the ‘Bourbon Street Blues’ cocktail (made of bourbon, Cinzano, and pineapple cassis) as you listen to the sounds of the sea.2.Notre Dame Rooftop Restaurant, JerusalemLooking for a spectacular view of Jerusalem, combined with some top-quality cheeses and wines? Then look no further than the Notre Dame Rooftop Restaurant, which offers both indoor and outdoor dining at the top of the building, directly overlooking the Old City.Notre Dame of Jerusalem has a lovely, romantic atmosphereNotre Dame is just a moment from the New Gate and a few minutes walk from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and offers hospitality to Christian pilgrimstraveling to Israel from all over the world. However, they know that pilgrims need sustenance too! Cheese platters, fondues, imported gourmet cheeses and an extensive wine list await their visitors (the Pontifical Institute also has its own private wine label) along with stunning views of the Dome of the Rock and the two-thousand-year-old walled city, at sunset.Wine, Cheese - and loveAnd if you’re ravenous and want to order a three-course meal, that’s ok too - they serve classical European cuisine. With a professional staff, exquisite food, and a view of your dreams, book a table well in advance.ProTip: the orange creme brulee is divine.3. MoshButz, RamotTouring northern Israel is a good idea; do you want to upgrade your trip with a fine dining experience and eat amazing food whilst enjoying wonderful views overlooking the Sea of Galilee? Then head to Moshbutz, in the town of Ramot located in the eastern Golan heights - where gastronomic delights in the form of all kinds of meat await you.The Sea of GalileeMoshbutz crafts its menu around local produce - everything (including the soft drinks and wines) is from nearby - which means you really are having a ‘farm to table’ experience. We have to say that this is a restaurant that carnivores will delight in - the owners know their meat, and whether you order the steaks, hamburgers, kebabs, sausages, or carpaccio, you’ll be left grinning.Veggies are well-catered for too - there are marvelous salads (apple-cranberry, eggplant, cauliflower) and a wonderful French onion soup.The steaks are just amazing For fish lovers, there’s nothing for it but to order the grilled trout. With attentive staff and astonishing views, booking in advance is essential to secure a table, so plan ahead if you’re traveling to northern Israel.ProTip: their craft beers are excellent, and the knafeh dessert is top-notch.4. Dag al ha Dan, Upper GalileeNestled in the Upper Galilee lies ‘Dag al ha Dan’ which, translated from the Hebrew, means ‘Fish on the Dan River.’ That’s because this beautiful, rustic restaurant is located next to the Hatzbani stream, which is an extraordinarily scenic spot in Israel’s north.The restaurant is located right next to a beautiful stream, shaded by dense vegetationSituated right on top of a confluence of water, you’ll see ducks and swans swimming past and if you’re up for it, you can even dip your toes in the water!As you'd expect from the name, the restaurant’s specialty is fish - locally farmed, it’s utterly delicious (the grilled trout comes highly recommended).The River Trout is as fresh as can beThey also serve plenty of good salads and as you sit under willow trees, on wooden benches, listening to dragonflies buzzing and birds flying above you and tucking into the good fare, you’ll feel you’re in heaven.Dag al haDan is, in essence, a must-visit for nature lovers!ProTip: try the salmon and the pomegranate juice.5.Rosemarine in Beresheet, Mizpe RamonBeresheet is a luxury hotel in the small desert town of Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev desert, and within its walls is the wonderful Rosemarine restaurant which is surrounded by the most spectacular vistas, cashing in on its extraordinary setting.Clear, uninterrupted view of the Ramonerosion cirque craterAs you stare out of the floor-to-ceiling windows, bear in mind that this setting is 220 million years old and the geological formations you see make it the largest erosion crater in the world. You may even see people hiking inside, or rappelling down its side and, of course, the habitat is full of small creatures including scorpions, snakes, and lizards.Rosemarine uses local produce (from nearby farms) in its dishes, which include mushroom burgers with black lentils and potato wedges, peppers stuffed with bulgur in tomato sauce, and tofu schnitzel with french fries.Arich vegetarian Burger As well as being a vegetarian paradise, they also cater to gluten-free and vegan diners. It’s arguably one of the best dining experiences you will find in a desert!ProTip: order a pre-dinner frozen margarita and just sit, sip, and stare.6. Kofi Anan, Golan HeightsKofi Anan, which sits atop Mount Bental, has the honor of being the highest spot in Israel - 1,165 meters above sea level - and if you come here during your Golan Heights Trip to grab a bite, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views, not just of Israel but also Syria and Lebanon.The views from Mount BentalThe name ‘Kofi Anan’ has an interesting story behind it too - Kofi Anan was once the Secretary General of the United Nations, but ‘Anan’ in the Hebrew language means ‘cloud’. And in the clouds, you’ll be (just remember to bring a sweater, particularly in the winter, since it can get cold).This is a place that serves simple fare - soups, sandwiches, pizza slices, cakes/cookies, and great coffee; it offers vegetarian/dairy food but it is open on Shabbat. This is Shakshuka, a local favorite you just have to tryOutside you’ll find art sculptures lining the walkway and next door there are some well-preserved fortifications and an old underground bunker (dating back to the time of the Yom Kippur War in 1973).ProTip: order the shakshuka and then the crepe suzette.7. Fish Market, EilatThis great little fish and seafood restaurant sits right on the Red Sea in Eilat and is just a short distance from the main city area, so isn’t even always crowded. They often play Greek music inside, for some unknown reason, but don’t let this throw you - it’s really Israel!)The views of EilatA bread basket and complimentary appetizers will arrive at your table whilst you’re choosing your main dish - and whether it’s fried calamari, crab casserole, or grilled shrimp skewers, it’s going to be tasty and fresh. The fact that everything’s included in one price also makes it a good deal. The salmon is perfectly cooked and veggies can order the cheese ravioli in a cream-rose sauce or just feast on all of the salad appetizers.A local fish dishEating good food as you stare out onto views of the Red Sea is a fine way to spend an evening, and if you have a late lunch there when you depart you’ll have a view of the mountains behind you. This is nature in overload!ProTip: the Barramundi fish is excellent and, for dessert, you simply must try the chocolate souffle served with vanilla ice cream.
Par Sarah Mann

7 Best Kosher Restaurants in Tel Aviv [2023 Update]

It used to be that if you were an orthodox Jew, looking to keep kosher in Tel Aviv (which means observing the dietary laws) you’d be wandering the streets for hours, searching for hours for a place which kept their milk and meat dishes separate. The best kosher restaurants in Jerusalem were the place to head to if you wanted to eat well; in Tel Aviv, you’d have to settle for falafel and shawarma.Luckily, all that’s changed: Tel Aviv is a vibrant, international city, boasting not just amazing beaches, world-famous nightlife, and charming old neighborhoods full of tiny alleyways, but it’s also a city with a growing food scene. And, the reasoning goes, why shouldn’t those that keep kosher be able to partake?We’ve picked out the 7 Best Kosher Restaurants in Tel Aviv which we really think deserve applause - and the good news is that you don’t have to be religious (or even Jewish!) to eat in them. Go on and try one when you visit the city, whether you're on a Tel Aviv Tour or just exploring on your own.Gourmet Dinner and Kosher as well? You've come to the right place1. Regina - Meat, MediterraneanThe Old Railway Station complex, situated between the Neve Tsedek neighbourhood and Old Jaffa, is a great place to visit whilst in Tel Aviv, and many of the restaurants there are really worth a visit. Set up in a 19th-century building, which is beautifully preserved and boasts original features, Regina, which serves a range of tasty, ‘homestyle kitchen’ tasty meat and fish dishes in a gorgeous setting, is a good place to head if you like relaxed dining.Meat eaters will love the chopped liver, veal kebab and Hungarian goulash and those craving fish should try the salmon or tilapia (which is served with roasted beans). Veggies and vegans will love the seitan burger and meat-free shawarma, not to mention the beetroot carpaccio.As for dessert, you can’t go wrong with their apple strudel or coconut malabi (an classic Middle Eastern pudding, made of milk - or in this case a non-dairy option - topped with sweet syrup or rosewater)Accompanied by one of their famous cocktails (we’d recommend ‘Malka’ which consists of mango, run, mint and orange sorbet), you’re guaranteed to walk out happy.Location: Old Railway Station (close to the Charles Clore Park and the parking lot on Kaufman street), Tel: 03 736-7474Great food, great atmosphere2.Pankina - Dairy, ItalianIf you’re hankering for a taste of Bella Italia, then head to trendy Dizengoff Street and the corner of Gordon. There, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv, you’ll stumble upon Pankina, serving pasta (and a few other dishes besides) that’s almost as good as the bowls you’d find in Rome.Where should we begin? Well, for starters, it’s owned by an Italian so you're in safe hands. The atmosphere is welcoming and cosy, and will make you nostalgic in a heartbeat. The food is incredibly fresh, and a lot of love is put into it - just the right amount of flavoring, balance, and dressing…it’s kosher dairy heaven!What to eat? The focaccia is super yummy, the pistachio-crusted tuna steak is to die for, the blue cheese gnocchi is heavenly (and they have gluten-free pasta options too) and the sea bass comes with grilled vegetarian vegetables and buttery mashed potato that’s perfection. There are plenty of veggie and salad options and the deserts? Well, the tiramisu is a must: not too sweet, very creamy, and with just the right hint of coffee.The staff are so helpful and pleasant, the atmosphere is unpretentious and warm and all we can say is book a table, otherwise, you might have to stand outside and wait quite a while.Location: Gordon 39 Street. Tel: 03 644-9793The gnocchi will please every pellet3. Nini Hachi - Meat, Sushi, AsianThis kosher Asian-Japanese fusion restaurant, in the ‘Old North’ of Tel Aviv (close to the port) is a great favorite with the locals, which should tell you everything about the place before you even walk through the door. The combination of stylish decor, excellent food, and an intimate atmosphere inside is already enough, but the fact that it serves kosher sushi is an even bigger plus.The menu is diverse and the chefs (who are really skilled) use high-quality ingredients, producing dishes so creative you won’t feel compromised by the kosher element at all. Dishes that come highly recommended include the Teppan Yaki chicken, the sushi platter (which is a work of art and looks so lovely you almost won’t want to tuck into it), and the futomaki.The salmon caterpillar rolls are also excellent and veggies can feast on sweet potato maki, and coconut curry. spicy tofu and pad thai. If you’re looking for some ‘quick bites’ their gyoza and wontons are also yummy. As for the desserts - well, who doesn’t like a plate of mochi to round off their meal? And if you don’t care for mochi, then try the tapioca with coconut…or just enjoy a cocktail (their creations with ginger are stand-out).Something else about Nina Hachi is the incredible staff - they are so thoughtful when it comes to recommending dishes and accommodating individual needs (they have a special menu for pregnant women, by the way), whilst being incredibly professional the entire time they’re working.Location: 223 Ben Yehuda Street. Tel: 03 624-9228Yes! Sushi can be Kosher. And fabulous4.West Side TLV - Meat, NYC-style eaterySat inside the upscale Royal Beach Hotel, overlooking the Tel Aviv shoreline, West Side TLV really is high-end in every sense of the world, serving up excellent meat and fish dishes in a relaxed and elegant setting, with a beautiful terrace for good measure!What to eat? Well, for meat-eaters, try the Nebraska sirloin with Jerusalem artichoke, oxtail gnocchi, red tuna tartar, goose liver, or beef carpaccio. Veggies will love the mushroom risotto and the tomato salad with citrus dressing - the superb chef Omri Cohen sends out plates that are beautifully balanced.As for the deserts, you will find it hard to believe there’s no dairy in them. Highly recommended is their version of the British dessert ‘Eton Mess’ - with strawberries, meringue, and cream - but the chocolate mousse and their millefeuille, served with raspberry sorbet gives it a run for its money.Designed in typical ‘NYC style’ - spacious, comfortable, and contemporary - the service is exceptionally professional. This is not going to be a cheap night out, but it really will be worth it.Location:Royal Beach Hotel, 19 Hayarkon Street. Tel: 03 740-5054A meat-lover's dream5.Florentina - Dairy, MediterraneanThis fancy yet quite affordable kosher dairy restaurant located in the hipster neighborhood of Florentin, inside an old stone building, hits the spot in every way you can imagine, with a varied menu selection, generous portions of food, a buzzy, trendy atmosphere, low-key music and an owner and staff who always go the extra mile to accommodate their clientele.What to eat? The salads with halloumi and also goat cheese are fantastic. The ravioli with eggplant comes highly recommended, the stone oven-baked pizzas are yummy and the arancini - well, you won’t be disappointed. They also offer plenty of good fish dishes, a fine risotto and a ‘tapas plate’ selection.. In the spring or summer, you can sit outside in their lovely outside area, and soak up the atmosphere.The desserts are an experience in themselves - anything with choux pastry will leave you smiling, and their chocolate cake - well, it’s extremely good! This is a really special place that is guaranteed not to disappoint.Location: Abarbanel 56 Street. Tel: 03 605-0061The Arancini is great!6.Ca Phe Hanoi - Meat, AsianIf you’re craving the taste of the Far East, then head to Rabin Square (just a 10-minute walk from Gordon Beach) in the direction of Ca Phe Hanoi, where you’ll soon be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to Vietnam.Ca Phe serves all the typical South East Asian food this country is famous for, including Bo buns (with beef and lemongrass or chicken and ginger), traditional salads, and, of course, the country’s signature dish, Pho. All served in traditional bamboo baskets, you can compliment your food with a range of delicious cocktails, served up at their Moo Shoo speakeasy bar.Those who don’t eat meat won’t suffer either - there are veggie spring rolls, hot-cold noodle salads, and a few dishes with tofu and eggplant that are truly delicious! Ca Phe Hanoi believes in offering a ‘multi-sensory food experience’ and the fact that they import quite a few of their ingredients from Vietnam means you’re getting the real deal.Fun fact: the decor is festive, fun and fabulous and - yes - you really should visit the restrooms, to see what all the fuss is about (we will not say more…)Location: Malkhi Yisrael 3 Street. Tel: 03 677-1184Traditional Pho meal7.Fish Kitchen- Dairy, MediterraneanLooking for a gourmet, kosher restaurant in Tel Aviv that really knows how to serve up great plates? Then look no further than Fish Kitchen, the sister restaurant to Meatos, which offers fish, vegetable, and pasta dishes (some gluten-free) in a vibrant Mediterranean environmentThe appetizers are good, the salads tasty and the cheese platter is excellent. As for the fish, we’d have to recommend the sea bass, which is perfectly cooked and utterly succulent, as well as the tempura battered whitefish. Their fish tartare with tabbouleh also comes recommended. For dessert, it’s got to be the malabi or something with chocolate.Fish Kitchen is not cheap but the food is good quality and, even better, it’s close to both the Tel Aviv Opera House and Tel Aviv Art Museum, so makes for a good place to grab dinner after a cultural outing…Location: Shaul HaMelech 33 Street. Tel: 03 693-2002Quality Fish Dish Don't forget: Great culinary is just one part of the celebration that is Tel Aviv: if you'd like to see every special historical spot and learn about the city's art and culture, you can do as many other visitors and pick a guided Tel Aviv Tour. And If you want to make the most of your visit to the holy land, just take a classical Jewish Israel Tour Package.
Par Sarah Mann
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