Israel is an incredible country to visit. It might be small (the country is the size of The Kruger National Park), but it’s jam packed with history, culture, and diversity of people. It’s also home to really good food and if you keep Kosher, there is an overwhelming abundance of options.
We recently spent 10 days in Israel and, needless to say, the food was a big highlight. Below are some places we loved and the food we ate – restaurants, street food and takeaways included.
1. Café Monitin, Tzfat
Café Monitin is located on a charming street high up in the Artist’s Quarter and if you’re lucky you’ll be seated in the section that boasts incredible views of the surrounding mountains. They have a big menu to choose from (including a kiddies menu) and service is fast.
Location: Yerushalayim Street 70, Sefad
Menu: Dairy (including fish and vegan options)
What to Eat: The Shakshuka which was everyone’s favorite. They have four options to choose from and seeing as we tried each one, we can confidently say that the spicy one or the Bulgarian option are the ones to pick. They all come with fresh bread, olives, tahina, and a side salad. Other notable mentions were their falafel, bread (which comes as a side to most dishes), Salmon pad Thai and Butternut Salad.
2. Bella Bakery and Café, Tzfat
Bella Bakery and Café is located in the heart of the old city of Tzfat and is an artisan bakery serving up fresh bread, pastries, coffees and dishes like pizza, focaccia and salads. There’s no indoor eating area, it’s all outside so have that in mind if you’re going to eat.
Location: Haim Arlozorov Street 2, Sefad
Menu: Dairy / Breads
What to Eat: Any of their pastries! They have the most incredible selection of pastries and being pastry lovers, we got one of each to try. The favorites were the chocolate rugelach, lemon meringue croissant and the almond croissant. Their bread and challah is also delicious and they do a really good spelt challah.
3. Mendi’s, Tzfat
Mendi’s is located just up the street from Café Monitin and offers authentic Eastern European Jewish food. There is both the option to sit and eat or takeaway by selecting your dishes, packing them into a tinfoil container and weighing and paying at the till. If you’re in Tzfat for Shabbat and are looking for ready-made Shabbat meals they’re the place to go (but get there early on Friday before the rush begins). They have a huge selection of foods from meats to chicken to stuffed cabbage rolls, kugels, vegetables and rice.
Location: Yerushalayim Street 29, Safed
Menu: Meat (including fish and vegetable options)
What to Eat: Their fire grilled chicken and vegetable rice were the favorites along with their dips – hummus, tahini, and eggplant. However, if you’re looking specifically for Eastern European Jewish food go for the stuffed cabbage, kugels, and liver.
4. Moaz Falafel and Shawarma, Jerusalem
Moaz Falafel and Shawarma is that hole in the wall eatery that offers a tiny menu of really good food. There are shawarma and falafel eateries everywhere and we picked this one because it was recommended by a local and it was the busiest (always a good sign). They offer just falafel and shawarma that you can get in a laffa, pita or bowl. To go with that you have a wide array of salads, vegetables, dips and chips.
Location: King George St 19, Jerusalem
Menu: Falafel (vegan) and shawarma (meat)
What to get: Both their falafel and shawarma was incredible, as was the pita and laffa which was soft, fluffy and fresh. The only tip is whatever you choose don’t forget to add tahini and amba to the top.
5. Katsefet Gelateria, Jerusalem
There are a few things you need to eat when you’re in Israel – shawarma, falafel, hummus, shakshuka and a froyo. Katsefet is where you go for frozen yogurt. The regular frozen yogurt allows you to choose what fruit (or chocolate) you want blended in while the Probi FroYo is plain with your desired fruit (or other) toppings.
Location: There are multiple locations of Katsefet Gelataria around Israel which the only difference being the size which equates to the variety of toppings and gelato options.
What to get: FroYo! I’m partial to the berry options with just a little milk chocolate to make it decadent. If you want more of a yogurt, go for the Bio Yogurt which has a slightly fermented taste and is probably great for your gut.
6. Jerusalem Borek, Jerusalem
One of the many eateries sprinkled inside the Machne Yehuda Shuk, Jerusalem Borek is a must if you like flaky pastries. There is nowhere to sit (unless you can grab an empty seat at the bar next door) so be prepared to eat as you walk.
Location: Machne Yehuda Shuk, Jerusalem
What to eat: The Boreks of course! We had a spinach and cheese borek that came with a side of a hard-boiled egg, grated tomato, tahini and zhug. It was ridiculously good (share if you want to try other places, their portion is generous). After you finish the borek try one of their pastries – they’re a cross between a croissant and filo pastry and filled with pastry cream. The pistachio one was incredible.
7. Café Rimon, Bet Shemesh
Café Rimon was one of the smarter restaurants we went to. They have plush seating (both indoor and outdoor) and smarter service. They have a big menu which includes loads of breakfast options, salads, pastas and desserts.
Location: Yig’al Alon Ave 3, Bet Shemesh (although there are other branches around the country)
Menu: Dairy (with fish and vegan options)
What to Eat: They do a really nice full Israeli breakfast that comes with 2 drinks of your choice, eggs, bread, roasted veggies and a variety of salatim like salads, spreads, cheeses, olives and dips. Their salads are also good and come in very generous portions.