I love to travel. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do in my spare time, or whenever I can carve out time to take a trip; but going on vacation for me has become more about the destination, what I can see and do and less about the food. Don’t get me wrong as an avowed foodie I absolutely love to eat, but as a kosher keeping orthodox Jew many of the places I’ve traveled too severely limit my options on what I can and will eat.
That’s why Israel is one of my favorite foodie destinations. Everything from the street food, to the most high class restaurant can be found with a teuda (kosher certification). This makes traveling to Israel a kosher foodie’s dream come true, but with so many kosher options how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
On my most recent trip to Israel ( I just got back to the states a little over a week ago) I was lucky enough to sample a whole new array of delicious food. Which is why I jumped at the chance when Shannon asked me to share with all of you my top 5 Israel foodie destinations from my most recent trip.
On your next trip to Israel I hope you’ll give these places a try; also do your own exploring, eat and taste your way through the country. In my opinion there’s no better way to see the land!
Jem’s, Petach Tikvah, http://www.jems.co.il/
Jem’s is a really unique place that you would never find in the American kosher scene – a beer factory that is also a kosher pub! They serve all sorts of traditional, greasy bar food that pairs great with their microbrews. Things you must try: beer battered onion rings, sausages, and meatball hero. And don’t forget to wash it all down with one of their refreshing microbrews. For more info check out a full review from YeahThatsKosher.
Hambuerguesa, Ibn Gvirol 22,Tel Aviv
Hambuerguesa is a great spot featuring a hamburgers and fries-only menu. They have an array of unique burger combinations including the Spanish burger which is topped with guacamole, salsa, red onions and lettuce; and the Hawaiian burger topped with grilled pineapple. If you love hamburgers, leave Burgers Bar behind and give this place a try!
Odelia, 89 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv
If you are looking for authentic Sephardi-Israeli food try out Odelia, which is a mix of Moroccan, Libyan and Tunisian cuisine. It’s a very family friendly place where they even have special kids plates and utensils – pretty cool. The couscous with marak-soup and vegetables is delicious as is the potato mafrom – potatoes stuffed with ground meat and spinach and cooked till tender in an allspice, and coriander tomato sauce.
Tokopaya, Nes Ziyyona, http://tokopaya.rest.co.il/he/home/
In Israel there’s a difference between a regular restaurant with a cook and what they call a “chef restaurant” – literally that a trained chef does the cooking. Our cousins took us to Tokopaya, the place where they go for special occasions. It’s an elegant meat restaurant with beautiful (and delicious) presentation of food. The standouts for me included the focaccia bread that gets placed on each table served with roasted garlic cloves and a lemon garlic aioli; the pesto salmon; and the chocolate soufflé and créme bruleé dessert combo. If you’re in the Rechovot neighborhood and looking for a “special” meal, then definitely try Tokopaya.
Grand Café, Baka Neighborhood, Jerusalem
Looking for an excellent dairy restaurant? Then you must try Grand Café in Jerusalem. They have a full menu of dairy delights that good for breakfast, lunch or dinner! If the weather permits, sit outside with a coffee and one of their delectable pastries and enjoy the people watching. Some standouts: the Fried Pesto goat cheese; raw shaved beet salad with lemon vinaigrette; and the homemade pasta with rose cream sauce.
Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.
Pronounced: yuh-HOO-dah or yuh-hoo-DAH (oo as in boot), Origin: Hebrew, Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers in the Torah.