Restaurants in Israel: The Dining Out Experience

Filed in Cuisine by on 27/12/2012 0 Comments
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Part of your experience in Israel may be sampling local cuisine, but in a country where people have emigrated from all over the world defining local cuisine is no simple matter!

Moroccan Tagine (Photo: StateofIsrael, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Moroccan Tagine (Photo: StateofIsrael, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Restaurants in Israel the Melting Pot

Israel has some wonderful restaurants for all kinds of tastes and varying prices. Israelis go for all kinds of foods and Far Eastern restaurants are just as popular as Middle Eastern restaurants. You’ll find Chinese, Thai, Japanese restaurants, fast food take outs and of course Sushi bars. Take your pick! For more about restaurants around Israel, coupons and deals see the Baruch Haba Restaurant site.

Amazing Variety

Here are some of the other kinds of restaurants you might want to try:

Middle Eastern, Arabic, Bedouin, Druze, Lebanese, Moroccan, Iraqi, Kurdish, Bulgarian, Yemenite, Persian, Italian and Pizza, Spanish, Argentine, Brazilian, Balkan, Cuban, Indian, French, Eastern European, Tunisian, Mediterranean, Romanian, Turkish, Bukharin, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, South African, Tripolitan, Mexican, Ethiopian, Russian, and more.

Whew! Only 7 million people but what a melting pot!

Fun Restaurants

Israel has some great fun restaurants especially popular with families and children. Havayat Ha’rochvimin Kibbutz Bet Oren near Haifa offers horseback riding trips, jeep tours, and bicycling trips around the beautiful Carmel Mountains.  After you and the children return from one of these tours you can dine at their Cat Ballou Restaurant, a kosher steak house in “Wild West” decor with good ole country music and waiters dressed up as cowboys. For further information phone: (04) 824-8474.

In Beersheva’s Old City is a Moroccan kosher restaurant called Yakuta. This popular restaurant with its very welcoming hospitality is decorated in authentic Moroccan decor and the waiters also dress in Moroccan clothes. Many of the featured dishes are baked in clay pots called tangines. Yakuta is located at 87 Mordei Hagetaot Street, corner of 18 Anilevich. For further information phone (08) 623-2689.

In Eilat the Denis Kingdom is a kosher fish and grill restaurant which is part of the Ardag Fish Farm on the Peace Lagoon close to Eilat’s northern border with Jordan. One can first take a tour of the hatchery before sitting down to a delicious meal with the most fantastic view of the Red Sea and the mountains of Edom. For further information or to make a reservation phone (08) 637-9898.
Read more on the Baruch Haba Magazine about dining options including the Nalaga’at Center’s famous Blackout Restaurant.

Israeli Salad Spread (Photo: StateofIsrael, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Israeli Salad Spread (Photo: StateofIsrael, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Kosher in Israel

If you keep kosher, here are a few pointers to help you successfully navigate “kosher in Israel”.  First, there are a number of hescherim that are granted.  See this list which contains many of them: Kashrus Agencies.
Once you decide what hescherim are in line with your kosher requirements, then, you will be looking for restaurants that have a valid, current Teudah (certificate) from that agency. Here are some pictures of teudot for you to familiarize yourself.
In order to be valid, the teudah must:

1.   not be beyond its expiry date;
2.   be an original document not a copy;
3.   have the name and address of the establishment; and
4.   list what the kosher certificate covers.

Without a valid teudah you do not have confirmation from a kashrus agency that the establishment is under kosher supervision.

Book Online

Packed restaurant can lead to long waits. Baruch Haba offers an English website for restaurants with an online booking service and specials and discount coupons; booking on line ensures your table is available and the restaurant is open. During Jewish holidays, such as Passover (Pesach) many restaurants close.

Falafel (Photo: Kudumomo, CC BY 2.0)

Falafel (Photo: Kudumomo, CC BY 2.0)

Falafel, the Favorite Fast Food

You may have heard that the national favorite fast food of Israel is the falafel. These are fried chick pea balls served in pita bread or a lafa.

Pita is a round flat bread that is hollow inside and can be stuffed with all kinds of food. In this case the pita is filled with falafel balls, all kinds of salads according to your taste, chips (French fries), pickles, humous (chick pea paste), tahina (ground sesame sauce) fried egg plants and more.

A lafa is a very thin round pancake-like bread that foods can be rolled up in sort of like a crepe suzette. You can also opt to add hot Yemenite sauce called tzchug made with chillies.

The Hebrew word for hot spicy foods, harif, is a good one to know whether you love or hate hot spicy foods. Lelo harif means you do not want this hot sauce added. Im harif means you do!

Did You know?

At many restaurants the tip is included in the bill. If you are not sure, don’t be shy, just ask.

 

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