Restaurants in Israel
Over the years, restaurants in Israel have gone well beyond the classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean staples of falafel and shwarma (rotisserie meat) sandwiches. Most restaurants offer some level of kosher dining, so you may notice menus that offer dairy (like the fabulous local cheeses) or meat (just no pork)— but not both. Around Tel Aviv and near the beaches, you're more likely to find shellfish. Here are some of the best restaurants in Israel:
Darna. This Jerusalem eatery is acclaimed among Israel restaurants for expertly creating Moroccan cuisine and ambience, catering to the large Moroccan Jewish community that lives here.
Catit. This bold Tel Aviv restaurant showcases creative Israeli cuisine in multicourse gourmet meals—perhaps starting with calamari stuffed with lamb, and ending with an excellent version of the local dessert, the cheese pastry kadaif.
Bardak. It may not taste quite like the pies back in the States, but this cozy, friendly pizza-and-beer joint offers a great take on pizza Jerusalem-style.
Mantras. This popular restaurant in Jerusalem offers a Euro mix of Italian and French foods, s well as tapas, seafood and homemade bread. Just be sure to reserve ahead of time—or just come for a late dinner.
Tel Aviv was woefully lacking in quality kosher restaurants until the arrival of this upscale fish-and-dairy establishment in the city’s industrial center.
Overlooks the water in Jaffa and serves simple, beautifully prepared Mediterranean and Israeli dishes.
A languorous, partly outdoor restaurant that joylessly specializes in dishes like golubets, a stuffed cabbage peppery and garlicky enough to register on the taste buds.
This restaurant has closed.
Despite the name, actually a lively bistro.
An open-air waterfront bar and restaurant named after a well-known Israeli psychiatric hospital. Tel Avivans throng here on weekends under an expansive canopy of woven palm fronds; the setting could just as well be Santa Monica.
Everything is anchored around a taboon (stone oven). Try the baked breads and whole fish. The veranda here overlooks the Mediterranean and the West Bank's Judean Hills.
A wide variety of Middle Eastern-inflected seafood, served on a terrace steps from the Mediterranean.