Authentic Thai food in Downtown Haifa

There are two things that most young Israelis love – eating good food and traveling through Thailand, so I have always been surprised at the lack of authentic Thai food in Israel.

Luckily for those living in Haifa, Chang Ba is the real deal, no doubt thanks to its Thai sous-chef, Dam.

Chef Idan Lifshitz serves his favorite Thai street food and even grows some of his own herbs to make the dishes as authentic as possible. The restaurant was originally situated in a smaller location but moved last year to Hanamal Street in the popular downtown Haifa port area.

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

Chang Ba (Credit Avi Shumacher)

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December Foodie Roundup

Much as I try, I am not able to keep track of all the culinary news around the country, so I apologize in advance to those who have complained that these roundups are too Jerusalem and Tel Aviv centric. I am happy to receive foodie updates for those who live in the north or south and, of course, due credit will be given.

Jerusalem 

The much anticipated Memphis Burger (Kosher) opened their Jerusalem branch on Agripas at the beginning of December. Their burgers are beautifully seared with a crust on the outside and juicy in the middle.  At NIS 55 for 250g, they are more expensive than others in the area, but the quality of the meat definitely makes it worth it.  I have not yet tried the sweet potato fries but the regular fries are nothing special at all – which seems to be an issue in many burger places.

In case you have missed all the rave reviews, Harvey’s Smokehouse (Kosher)  has opened in the city center, in place of Gabriel, by the same owner, Harvey Sandler.  The US style smokehouse serves various meat dishes including brisket, ribs and chicken. Signature dishes include popcorn chicken, Kansas style burnt ends and cherry wood smoked asado.

Azza 40 has reopened in the city center as R&R Diner (Not Kosher).  The menu still has some of the same dishes, with some new additions. Traditional American diner dishes include Mac n Cheese, BLT, Reuben sandwich, burgers, home fries, pancakes and apple pie, click here for the full menu.

My American friend was impressed by the Reuben which was semi-authentic. The corn-beef was thinly sliced but it lacked sauerkraut and melted swiss cheese. If you plan to go at the weekend, make sure to call ahead to reserve, as they are already busy.

Smadar (Dairy-no teudah) in Smadar Cinema is under new ownership and has a new Italian menu.  It is still open on Shabbat so is not kosher but the menu is dairy.  I haven’t tried it myself but a reliable source reported that the food is authentic and well made.

Tel Aviv & Merkaz

Although the opening of the Gindi Fashion Mall in Tel Aviv has been far from successful, it has added a number of new restaurants to the area, including famed burger bar Susu & Sons, Asian noodle bar Zozobra, ice-cream and waffle bar La Gofre, Biga (Mehadrin) and Cafeteria. Ilan’s Café and Tatti Café are due to open soon, more information on all the restaurant options in the fall can be found here.  For now, they are offering three hours free parking (no validation required).

Cafeteria. is a European style coffee shop that has been nicely decorated with teal and pink velvet seats and brass fixtures.  The menu is very eclectic and in my opinion, is trying too hard to imitate an authentic European café.

My friends and I shared some very tasty Arancini (NIS 39) to start, and for the main course, I had Gnocchi with artichoke, asparagus, parmesan and sea bass (NIS 128) which was delicious.  One friend had the gnocchi without the fish (NIS 68) and another enjoyed the mushroom risotto (NIS 65).  We also shared a chocolate and salted caramel nemesis (NIS 38) for dessert, which was addictively good.  We all agreed that the food was very nice but the portions were not very big, compared to the price.  The service was temperamental but it seemed to be due to new and/or inexperienced staff. The full menu, including the business lunch option, can be found here (although it is not 100% accurate).

The Norman Hotel has opened Alena (Not Kosher) restaurant, a Mediterranean brasserie with a local influence, click here for a full menu.

Al Hamayim, Herzliya Pituach – the popular fish and sushi restaurant on Sharon Beach has become kosher.  The menu includes a variety of dairy and fish dishes, along with an extensive sushi selection, click here for the full menu.

Pasha Tel Aviv (Rehov HaArba’a) has closed down, which is a real shame as the food was always very reliable.

Coming Soon & Upcoming events

Liliyot (Kosher) restaurant has closed for renovations and will return with a new concept sometime in January.  I am not sure what it will be but I have been told it will be an exciting update.

Luis Angel, Leah and Yittie Stoffer plan to open a Mexican Taqueria called Tacos Luis (Kosher). Thanks to a Headstart campaign, they have raised over NIS 140, 000, so will soon be bringing authentic Wahacan street food to Jerusalem.

The Taste of Michelin returns to the David Intercontinental Hotel, January 8-14, 2018.  This year Aubergine restaurant will host Chef Daniel Corey of Luce from the InterContinental San Francisco.

Recent Posts

  1. A Japanese Gem in Jerusalem
  2. Debbest: Dining in Sarona
  3. Debbest: Quick Bites in Sarona Market

To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

A Japanese Gem in Jerusalem

JLM Sushi offers a genuine taste of the Orient

On a recent trip to the US, I realized how much I miss authentic, clean sushi. So many of the sushi restaurants in Israel have adapted their menus to Israeli tastes by incorporating ingredients like cream cheese and smoked salmon, which have no place on a real sushi menu. Although there are some good sushi restaurants around the country, Jerusalem has very few.

So it was refreshing to find a sushi restaurant that offers simple, clean sushi, where the focus is on the quality of the fish. Despite the name, JLM Sushi is more of a Japanese bar with a variety of Japanese dishes, including sushi.

Chef Yankale Turjeman, owner and chef of 1868, Zuta and now JLM Sushi, hosted us in this intimate new bar. With such a small kitchen on the premises, it is not possible for the chef to create a menu to the level he desires, so he uses the larger kitchen in his 1868 restaurant to prepare some of the dishes on the JLM menu.

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

JLM Sushi Credit - sivan shuv-ami

JLM Sushi: Credit – Sivan Shuv-Ami

Debbest: Dining in Sarona

Sarona Market has many great places to grab a quick bite (more information here) but Sarona complex also has some great restaurant options for a more relaxed lunch or dinner.  Here is my list of best restaurants in Sarona.

  1. Claro

Probably one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv right now, Claro combines fresh and interesting food with a fun ambiance and beautiful setting.  The huge open kitchen and spacious restaurant, adds to its charm.

The Mediterranean farm to table menu changes regularly but the fresh ingredients and combinations of flavors can be found in all dishes and make sure you leave room for dessert.  The lunch menu includes a starter, main course and soft drink for the price of the main course.  They are also meant to serve a great brunch at the weekend, that I have yet to try.

monday monday so good to me 😎

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  1. Whiskey Bar & Museum (Hashgacha Pratit)

Located in the tunnel basement of a Templar building, Whiskey Bar has walls lined with over 1000 types of whiskey, but it is still enjoyable for non-whiskey drinkers like myself. The setting and décor are very unique and there are plenty of large tables, so it is an ideal place for dinner with friends.

The Beef Carpaccio (NIS 52) and Liver Pate (NIS 52) are tasty starters and the Prime Rib (NIS 48/100g), Rib-Eye (NIS 147) and Lamb Chops (NIS 138) are succulent mains. Non-meat eaters will be happy with the Leaf Salad (NIS 46) or Mushroom Mix (NIS 48) to start and the Salmon Fillet (NIS 96) or Artichoke and Asparagus Gnocchi (NIS 86) for main-course. The Smoked Chocolate Mousse (NIS 42) with smoked whiskey is a shining favorite dessert.

  1. Fishop by Ziko

Although this is a food stand rather than a full restaurant, the style of the menu is more suited for a full meal than a quick bite. Fishop by Ziko is a joint venture between leading restaurateur Aviv Harel (owner of Seatara and Branja restaurants) and Ziko Fish.

The menu includes simple raw dishes such as carpaccio, ceviche and gravlax as well as fish main courses such as Fish & Chips (NIS 44), Sea Bass with roasted tomato (NIS 64), Grilled Sea Bream (NIS 95) and Lobster in butter sauce (NIS 289).

  1. Piazza Rustico

This classic Italian restaurant, Piazza Rustico, has a varied menu including antipasti, salads, pizza, pasta, as well as meat and fish dishes. Highlights include Burrata (NIS 48), Spicy Pepperoni pizza (NIS 59) and Pappardelle with mushrooms and chestnuts (NIS 68), here is the full English menu.

  1. Tiger Lilly

This beautifully decorated Thai restaurant has a varied menu including a large variety of authentic Thai dishes.  Favorites like Som Tam (green papaya salad NIS 35), Tom Yam (hot and sour soup NIS 68), Pad Thai (NIS 58), as well as green, red and masaman curry dishes (NIS 78) and a number of fish dishes. The full menu is on the Tiger Lilly website.

  1. Ze sushi

Although already included in my quick bites post, Ze Sushi is also a great option for full dining.  It has a large rectangular bar in the center of the market, with comfortable seating all around.  As well as traditional sushi options, they also have a selection of noodles and soups and sushi platters for takeaway.  All sushi is made to order so you know it is fresh.

  1. Benedict

It might be a chain but breakfast is still my favorite meal of the day so I love that Benedict serves all-day breakfasts and wish you good morning, whatever time it is.  It is also nice to be able to sit comfortably on the outside of the market.  My favorite options are the signature eggs Benedict but Israeli breakfast with unlimited bread and jams is also very good and if you really want to spoil yourself, order the delicious fluffy pancakes.

  1. Max Brenner

Although famous for its extensive chocolate dishes, the regular food at Max Brenner is also good and it is an ideal location for lunch with colleagues or business meeting.  The business lunch includes a small starter, choice of main course like Greek Salad, Caesar Salad, Schnitzel with Chips, a mini chocolate dessert and a soft drink all for either NIS 49 or 59 depending on the main course. It is spacious and comfortable, but I would recommend sitting in the outside covered section, as inside can be a bit noisy.

  1. Kitchen by Greg (Badatz Mehadrin)

Although Kitchen by Greg is a chain and not fancy, it is a good mid-range kosher meat option in Sarona. The menu is varied, well priced and the setting is tranquil. I recently enjoyed a business lunch with a colleague, which included a starter (from a limited selection) for the price of the main course.  I had the Vegetable Antipasti, followed by the Country-style Salad with Chicken (NIS 52) which was fresh and tasty. My colleague had a rich Bean Soup and the Asian-style Salad (NIS 48), which she found filling and well cooked.  We also found the service to be particularly attentive and efficient.

Kitchen by Greg is a great place for a comfortable lunch or light dinner and in my opinion, it is a far better option than any of the dairy cafés in Sarona.  There are also plenty of vegetarian options for those that don’t want meat, here is a link to the full menu.

  1. Anita Gelato

Who says you can’t have ice-cream for dinner? Anita Gelato is one of the best ice-cream stores in the city and a perfect place for dessert after a meal in Sarona. The store has a wide selection of ice-creams and sorbets, as well as vegan and sugar-free options.

Here is a full list of all the food options in Sarona Market and Sarona Complex, as well as some recent posts about Sarona:

Don’t forget to follow this blog to receive automatic updates.

Debbest: Quick Bites in Sarona Market

The great thing about Sarona Market is that you have the choice of so many tasty places under one roof.  Even if you cannot all agree on what you want to eat, each person can get what they want and sit on the shared tables in the middle.

Another fun option is to eat each course at a different place like pizza to start, sushi for main course and doughnuts for dessert.  Here is my guide to quick bites in Sarona Market.

  1. VIA Rustico

The pizza at VIA Rustico has a perfect crispy base and a range of delicious toppings.  The pizza is sold by the weight and there is no minimum so it a perfect option for a quick snack or a starter before moving onto main course elsewhere. Interesting toppings include eggplant melanzaneh or zucchini with spicy parsley sauce.

They also recently expanded their menu to offer lasagna and soup for winter and have some very good lunch meal deals.

  1. Ze sushi

Ze Sushi has a large rectangular bar in the center of the market, with comfortable seating all around.  As well as traditional sushi options, they also have a selection of noodles and soups and sushi platters for takeaway.  All sushi is made to order so you know it is fresh.

  1. Marinado

For an indulgent meat feast, Marinado is a great option.  All the meat is from their own farm in the Golan and it is expertly cooked to order. The menu includes burgers, meat sandwiches and steaks.  All dishes are cooked to honor the quality of the meat, with simple seasoning and side dishes but the sandwiches are better than the steaks.

  1. Yildiz

Yildiz from chef Aviv Moshe brings Turkish street food to Sarona Market.  The simple menu revolves around beef kebabs made with entrecote and pistachios. The kebabs are served in a laffa wrap, on a plate with a variety of fresh salads,  crumbled onto hummus, or inside a bureka.  Other Turkish dishes include lahmajoun, chicken liver cigar and pullet chicken shawarma style. The simple Turkish Sheikh kebab is NIS 41 in laffa or 47 on a plate.

  1. Chicho

One of the newest openings in the market is Chicho, a Moroccan food bar specializing in meatball sandwiches. The chain started with a kosher place in Haifa and the food is prepared in a central kosher kitchen but the Sarona branch is open on Shabbat. The lunch deal is NIS 38 for a medium meatball sandwich or NIS 45 for a large (about 6 meatballs!) and comes with a side salad, olives and a flavored soda. The meatball options include beef, lamb, fish, vegetarian or vegan. The pita bread is amazingly fresh and there is a spelt option.

  1. Mexicana Mercado

A fairly new addition to Sarona Market, Mexicana Mercado is a branch of the popular Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurant with two other branches in Tel Aviv. The varied menu includes burritos, burrito bowls and tacos with traditional fillings including chicken, beef, chili con carne, chorizo, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

עמית והטאקוס. מקסיקנה מרקדו שרונה מרקט.

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  1. Kukuriku

One of the most appealing things about Kukuriku is watching the golden chickens turning on the spits as they cook.  Chef Ran Shmueli’s stand sells chicken platters and sandwiches, with a selection of sauces and roasted vegetables.

  1. Captain Curry by Yonathan Roshfeld

Chef Yonathan Roshfeld left the world of fine dining at Herbert Samuel (apparently not by choice) and is now focusing on Indian food with Captain Curry. Dishes on the menu include chicken tandoori, sweet potato curry, lamb and chicken biryani and Bombay shrimps – full English menu here.

The Sarona Market branch was so successful that he also opened one on Dizengoff a few months later and they also deliver in Tel Aviv.

  1. HIRO Ramen Bar

Chef Aharoni is known for his love of Asian food and HIRO Ramen Bar is a perfect homage to that passion.  The menu includes various options of chicken, beef or silken tofu ramen, as well as steamed buns, chicken wings, gyoza and various salads.

  1. Ikar H’abriut

For those wanting a healthy alternative, this is a perfect option. The salad bar includes unlimited raw vegetables, as well as roasted vegetables, pasta, quinoa and mixed seeds.  The set price of NIS 35 includes one protein (egg, cheese or tuna) and each additional protein is NIS 3.

Moshe Segev also has Segev Concept in the market, which includes two different stands with street food options, and a third stand with just desserts.

Although there are several dessert options in the market, for me Gulis is the tastiest and the most unique.  Freshly made dough balls are drizzled with a choice of hot chocolate sauces and various other crunchy and sweet toppings. Perfect for sharing or as an indulgent dessert.

Deli Fleishman (Kosher) – this used to be one of the few kosher options in Sarona Market but they recently moved across the road to Derech Menachem Begin, but the sandwiches are so good, it is worth the extra 5 minute walk! Deli Fleishman has a choice of various smoked or grilled meat fillings, as well as some fish and vegetarian options, all orders include a side of pickles and a baked potato.  The sandwiches come with a selection of delicious fresh bread, including ciabatta, rustic sourdough or Moroccan Freneh, NIS 32 for the small and 42 for the large. My favorites are the Brooklyn Corn beef or the grilled Entrecote and the horseradish mayonnaise goes particularly well with both.

Here is a full list of all the food options in Sarona Market and you can read other posts about Sarona hereClick here to read more of Debbest.

November Foodie Roundup

November has been a busy foodie month, especially in Jerusalem where we enjoyed a week of incredible events thanks to the Open Restaurants festival – I will follow up with a specific post on all the great events I attended.

I was fortunate to spend a few days in the Golan and Hula Valley this month, so I have included notes on some places I ate at during my trip.  I will post full reviews of each place during the coming weeks.

Jerusalem 

Gabriel (Kosher) will close on December 12, after 12 years in business. In its place, the owner and chef Harvey Sandler will open Harvey’s Smokehouse in order to appeal to a broader and younger clientele. Until it closes, Gabriel will serve a special menu featuring its most popular dishes over the last 12 years.

Villa Brown (Hashgacha Pratit) – the courtyard of this new boutique hotel is the perfect setting for a relaxing brunch.  The brunch includes a delicious basket of fresh bread and pastries, served with homemade jam, a selection of interesting fresh salads with unlimited refills, a choice of five main dishes, including shakshuka, omelet and green vegetable stew, as well as hot and cold drinks.  The food was all delicious and the service was efficient and attentive.

Valero (Kosher) – even though when it first opened, Valero was not kosher, it recently closed to update the kitchen and has reopened under kosher supervision. The menu was crafted by Chef Aviv Moshe and the restaurant is run by his childhood friends.

DKL Bar (Not Kosher) – the Machneyuda Group has opened a new private bar aimed at over 30s (yeah).  Entrance is only to members with a magnetic access card and each member is limited to one guest.  The fully stocked bar serves a variety of wine and cocktails, as well as a bar-snack menu. Private members clubs are popular abroad, I wonder if this will be the beginning of a new trend in Israel.

Tel Aviv & Merkaz

Resto French Kitchen (Kosher) has opened opposite the Fashion Mall on Ha’Hashmonaim in Tel Aviv.  Another French import, traditional dishes include Duck Rillette, Goose Liver Terrine and Beef Tartar prepared tableside. The service was wonderful and the setting is comfortable but relaxed.

Tartare de Saumon RESTO sur Hahahamonaim 105, TLV

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Yogurt by Anita (Dairy no hechsher) –  Anita Gelato has opened a new frozen yogurt and granola bar at Shabazi 44, around the corner from the main Anita Gelato store. Special toppings include artisanal granola, goji berries and other superfoods.  For now, there is a choice of cow or sheep milk yogurt but they are planning to add a vegan option.

את ANITA YOGURT בשבזי 44 כבר ביקרתם?

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North

The Setai – Sea of Galilee (Kosher) is a new luxury hotel on the east side of the Kinneret, 5 km north of Ein Gev.  Similar to the Beresheet hotel in Mizpe Ramon, all the rooms are cabins overlooking the Kinneret, with either a private plunge pool or a jacuzzi.  The hotel also has an indoor and outdoor pool and private beach.  We enjoyed a relaxing lunch in the hotel lounge, overlooking the Kinneret, with attentive service and a serene setting. There is also a meat restaurant in the hotel.

Beit Haugot (Mehadrin) – even though it was not warm enough to sit in the wonderful garden of this country café, the service was still warm and friendly and the food was fresh and tasty.  We also had the pleasure of trying their fresh Sfinj which were delicious – full review from a previous visit here.

Gilabun Farm (Kosher) – we loved our dinner at this easy-going country restaurant in the middle of the Golan.  It was recommended to me by Fun Joel Tours and was the perfect option for us, driving back from the Hula Valley into the Golan. The log fire and attentive, friendly service accompanied a tasty meal in a great ranch house setting.

Gillis Steak House (Kosher) – I had the joy of returning to Gillis Steak House in Moshav Nov. It was even better than I remember.  An updated review will follow but for now, here is my previous review.

South

Moshe Segev (Kosher) – Chef Moshe Segev has opened his first kosher restaurant in Beesheva. The chef already owns numerous successful non-kosher restaurants including Segev Art, Segev Concept and Segev Express.  He is planning to open a second kosher restaurant in Netanya in a few months and possibly others in the future. The menu includes various meat and fish dishes – full menu on the website.

Upcoming Events

The A-sham Arab Food Festival will take place again this year in Haifa, December 13 -15, showcasing Arab food from the Levant. The director of the event is Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel who won Master Chef Israel in 2014. More information will be available on the festival website.

Recent Posts

  1. Gourmandises by Yoel brings French gourmet to Jerusalem
  2. Hanamal 24 is a European enclave in downtown Haifa
  3. Debbest: Kosher Sarona
  4. Debbest: Street Food in the Shuk
  5. Open Restaurants Returns to Jerusalem

 To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

Gourmandises by Yoel brings French gourmet to Jerusalem

Gourmandises by Yoel in Kikar Hamusica is an authentic French bistro run by the Afriat family.

Livnatt and Yoel Afriat were opticians in Paris with a number of their own shops, but they knew they wanted to change their careers to something that would be more easily transferable to Israel. So Yoel gave up being an optician to become a pastry chef and spent a year at Le Notre, one of Paris’s most prestigious cooking schools. Then he started his own patisserie business, selling his creations from the family home in Paris.

A chance meeting with the owner of Kikar Hamusica at a party in Paris in 2014 led to the Afriat family’s making aliya and the opening of Gourmandises by Yoel just six months later. All the pastries, breads and beautiful desserts are made by Afriat and his team from their factory in Talpiot, while the food for the restaurant is prepared by chef Oscar Zuckerman in the kitchen below the restaurant. Livnatt manages the restaurant and the catering business, which caters events at the restaurant itself for up to 200 people but also provides parve or dairy dessert buffets for weddings and other special occasions.

Many people think that Gourmandises by Yoel is just a bakery or pastry shop, but the varied menu offers so much more, so we were delighted to be invited to sample the dinner menu. In keeping with the musical theme, many of the dishes on the menu are named after French musicians.

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

Hanamal 24 is a European enclave in downtown Haifa

The small streets surrounding the Haifa port in the recently developed downtown Haifa area reminds me of many European cities, with bars and coffee shops spilling onto the cobbled streets and sidewalks. So it is very fitting that when you walk into Hanamal 24, the European theme continues, with the restaurant’s décor reminiscent of a rural Italian courtyard. Although the eatery seats 80 diners, the layout, with its numerous nooks and side rooms, creates an intimate space for all patrons, even on a busy night.

Hanamal 24 is the brainchild of restaurateur Guy Avital and chef Ran Rosh. Rosh trained in France and worked at a two-Michelin star restaurant before returning to Israel to start working with Avital. The menu is in the style of a traditional French bistro with Italian influences.

Avital recommended that we order the tasting menu (NIS 299) so we could try most of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

Rosemary Grissini (Credit Avi Shumacher)

Cream of Onion Soup (Credit Avi Shumacher)


Foodie score 6/10, FODMAP friendly score 6/10

Debbest: Kosher Sarona

One of the questions I get asked a lot is about kosher food in Sarona, so I thought it was time to write a post.

It is important to note that there is a high-turnover of restaurants and shops in Sarona, especially in the market. Most of the kosher places that were there when they first opened, no longer exist and I have seen places open and close within a few months (eg Eco Lima and Fish and Chips).  I will try to keep this updated but please take that into consideration.  If you want to be sure, feel free to message me or ask in the group Restaurant Club Israel.

I have not included exact locations as it is hard to do that but I will distinguish between Sarona Market, which is the indoor market area and Sarona which is the outdoor complex.

In order to provide as much information as possible, instead of creating my usual Debbest selection, I have divided the list into different categories and will also include some kosher places I do not recommend and specify why.

Kosher Restaurants

  1. Deli Fleishman (Kosher)

This used to be one of the few kosher options in Sarona Market but in Jan 2018 they moved across the road to 112 Derech Menachem Begin, so they are still officially in the Sarona area.  Deli Fleishman has a choice of various smoked or grilled meat fillings, as well as fish and vegetarian options.  The sandwiches are made from a choice of delicious fresh bread, including ciabatta, rustic sourdough or Moroccan Freneh. They charge NIS 32 for a small roll and NIS 42 for a large and all orders include a side of pickles and a baked potato. My favorites are the Brooklyn Corn Beef or the Grilled Entrecote and the horseradish mayonnaise goes particularly well with both. There are some bar seats available nearby or plenty of picnic benches in front and the sides of the market.

  1. Whiskey Bar & Museum (Hashgacha Pratit)

Located in the basement of a Templar building, Whiskey Bar has walls lined with over 1000 types of whiskey, but it is still enjoyable for non-whiskey drinkers like myself. The setting and décor are very unique and there are plenty of large tables, so it is an ideal place for dinner with friends.

The Beef Carpaccio (NIS 52) and Liver Pate (NIS 52) are tasty starters and the Prime Rib (NIS 48/100g), Rib-Eye (NIS 147) and Lamb Chops (NIS 138) are succulent mains. Non-meat eaters will be happy with the Leaf Salad (NIS 46) or Mushroom Mix (NIS 48) to start and the Salmon Fillet (NIS 96) or Artichoke and Asparagus Gnocchi (NIS 86) for main-course. The Smoked Chocolate Mousse (NIS 42) with smoked whiskey is a shining favorite dessert.

  1. Kitchen by Greg (Badatz Mehadrin)

Although Kitchen by Greg is a chain and not fancy, it is a good mid-range kosher meat option in Sarona. The menu is varied, well priced and the setting is tranquil. I recently enjoyed a business lunch with a colleague, which included a starter (from a limited selection) for the price of the main course.  I had the Vegetable Antipasti, followed by the Country-style Salad with Chicken (NIS 52) which was fresh and tasty. My colleague had a rich Bean Soup and the Asian-style Salad (NIS 48), which she found filling and well cooked.  We also found the service to be particularly attentive and efficient.

Kitchen by Greg is a great place for a comfortable lunch or light dinner and in my opinion, it is a far better option than any of the dairy cafés in Sarona.  There are also plenty of vegetarian options for those that don’t want meat, here is a link to the full menu.

  1. Paradiso (Kosher)

Paradiso is a typical Israeli dairy café with the usual selection of breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta and fish – basically, they do everything OK and nothing that well.

  1. Biga (Kosher)

When Sarona first opened, Biga was the only option for a kosher sit-down meal and the menu was interesting, the setting quaint and the service was what you expect from a mid-range café.  I am not sure what went wrong, but over the years it has got worse and worse and not only is the food not good, the service is terrible.

It takes a lot for me to walk out of a restaurant, especially when I am hungry.  Bad service can be excused but rudeness cannot. Despite this previous experience, I went back not long after, for a team lunch.  Out of a group of 8 people, we all left unhappy and frustrated, as a series of errors occurred and the staff were not only inefficient at dealing with the mistakes, they were also rude and unhelpful.  When the manager finally came over, she actually made it all worse and my colleague who had chosen the venue felt terrible. My advice would be to avoid Biga but some people seem to like it so I have included it here.

Kosher Shops and Snacks

As well as the restaurants mentioned above, there are also several places in Sarona Market for take away snacks and desserts.

  1. Boutique Central

This popular kosher bakery has a small stand in the market with pre-packaged goods.  Most of the Boutique Central products are dairy but they do make some parev cakes and macaroons.

  1. Paletas

Home-made healthy ice-lollies in a variety of flavors including vegan and sugar-free options. Unusual flavors of Paletas include Pistachio Malabi, Vietnamese Coffee, Mango Chili, Mexican Chocolate and Super Spirulina.

  1. Halva Kingdom

A branch of the popular Halva Kingdom in the Machaneh Yehudah shuk, the Sarona Market store also includes a sesame mill at the back so you can see the fresh tahina being made.

The store has a selection of around 100 flavors of halva and they will normally let you try before you buy.  My personal favorites are the coffee and Belgian chocolate flavors and they recently started selling pre-sealed jars of halva so it can be easily transported. They also sell various savory and sweet flavored-tahina – the chocolate tahina is delicious and makes a healthy alternative to chocolate spread.

  1. Le Boucher

Le Boucher is a well laid out, immaculately clean butcher with an impressive selection of meats, including veal schnitzel, asado and osso buco, as well as pre-made burgers and kebabs.

Kosher – no certificate

There are a number of places in Sarona Market which claim to use only kosher dairy or parev ingredients but as the stores are open on Shabbat, they do not have a kosher certificate.  While this is not an option for everybody, I am including this information for those who are happy with this distinction.

Included in this category are Gulis who make crispy dough balls which are drizzled with a choice of hot chocolate sauces and various other crunchy and sweet toppings. Perfect for sharing or as an indulgent dessert. Frost serves frozen yogurt with a tower of waffle cubes on top, drizzled with chocolate and covered with various sweet toppings. Other dessert options are cookies from Cookie Bucket, chocolates and cakes from Fauchon Paris and smoothies from Rebar.  All the pre-packaged chocolates at Max Brenner are kosher (with a hechsher) but the freshly made items are not.

 

For those wanting a healthy alternative, the fresh salad bar by Ikar H’abriut is a perfect option. The salad bar includes unlimited raw vegetables, as well as roasted vegetables, pasta, quinoa and mixed seeds.

More posts about Sarona will follow soon, but for now, check out top ten quick bites in Sarona Market and don’t forget to follow this blog to receive automatic updates.

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Debbest: Street Food in the Shuk

Street food has been around for centuries but in the last few years it has become more popular the world over and Israel is no exception.  As the street food phenomenon has spread, new places have opened all over Israel but some of the best are in the Jerusalem shuk where you can now find a wide variety of interesting street food offerings including traditional dishes all over the world.

There are so many places to choose from but here are my top picks:

  1. Josef Burger

Even though other burger joints have opened in the area, Josef Burger is still my favorite. My preference is for the Angus Burger (NIS 45) which I find to be more tender and juicy than the house burger. They have a great choice of toppings and the service is normally quick and friendly. There is also a good business lunch deal for NIS 55 including a main, side dish and drink. My standard order is a medium Angus burger with goose breast and green salad and as a special treat I will get goose liver and/or chlli pineapple.

Josef Burger (Kosher), 123 Agripas Street, 073 758 4219 – English menu.

  1. Pasta Basta

The beauty of Pasta Basta is in the simplicity of the offering. First you choose your pasta, then a sauce and finally extra toppings, with the price starting at NIS 21.  The pasta is all freshly made on site and the sauces and toppings are equally fresh. My favorite choices are Gnocchi with butter and Parmesan sauce with extra zucchini (NIS 33) or Whole Wheat Fusilli with coconut curry sauce (NIS 24). They also serve soup, salad and wine from the barrel for NIS 16 a glass!

Pasta Basta (Hashgacha Pratit), 8 Hatut Street – English menu.

Keeping it simple #instafood #israelifoodie #streetfood @pastabasta_il #shuk

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  1. Dwiny Pita Bar

The concept at Dwiny is open or closed sandwiches so each dish can be ordered either inside a pillowy fresh pita, or on top of small toasted pita bruschetta style.  All the ingredients are fresh and interesting with fillings including seared entrecote, ossobuco, fried red mullet and crispy cauliflower.  My favorite dishes are the Entrecote pita (NIS 38) and the Lamb Siniya with tahina and pickled lemon (NIS 42).

Dwiny Pita Bar (Kosher), 6 Beit Ya’akov Street, 050 474 2428 – English menu.

  1. Fishenchips

As a Brit, nothing tastes quite like the real thing but Fishenchips is definitely the closest option I have had in Israel and it has already outlasted all its competition in the shuk.  The Mixed Crunchy Cod Goujons with chips (NIS 42) includes a mixture of batters and is probably the most popular dish but the Panko Red Tuna with chips (NIS 47) is also a delicious and interesting dish.

Fishenchips (Kosher- dairy/parev), 12 HaEgoz Street, 02 624 9503.

  1. Ishtabach

Since Ishtabach opened a few years ago, they have been so popular that they have already expanded twice, but they have managed to keep the intimacy of the service and atmosphere.  The specialty dish is Shamburak, a Kurdish Syrian pastry filled with meat and vegetables, baked in a stone oven and served with various homemade sauces and salads.  Fillings include Asian chicken (NIS 41), asado (NIS 45) and tongue (NIS 54) and there is also a vegetarian option and some salads on the menu.

Ishtabach (Mehadrin), 1 HaShikma Street, 02 623 2997 – English menu.

  1. Falafel Mullah

Everyone has their favorite falafel place, but my favorite is Falafel Mullah. As soon as you approach the stall, the friendly staff offer a fresh falafel to taste and if you just want a snack, there is always the option for half a pita.  The falafel is Gluten Free but the bread isn’t. Falafel in pita is NIS 15 and in laffa is NIS 18.

Falafel Mullah (Kosher), 82 Agripas Street (corner of Beit Yaacov), 052 843 6476.

  1. Pizzeria Flora

Delicious authentic Italian pizza with a crispy base, doughy crust and high-quality ingredients.  Toppings include fresh mozzarella, Italian tomato sauce, rocket/arugula, parmesan, artichoke, egg and zucchini and prices start from NIS 44.  They also serve a great Blue Cheese Salad (NIS 33) with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.

Pizzeria Flora (Dairy – No Hechsher), 2 HaDekel Street, 02 622 2216.

זה החיים שלנו @preismansfoodphotography

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  1. Hatzot

This popular steakiah (meat grill) has a separate takeaway window along with street-side tables.  The extensive takeaway menu includes their famous Jerusalem mixed grill and my personal favorite, succulent pargit (NIS 54 in laffa), both with their secret spice mix. There is also a selection of salads and main courses in take-away containers, if you are extra hundry or don’t want bread.

Hatzot (Kosher), 121 Agripas Street, 073-7584204 – English menu.

  1. Jerusalem Steak House

For an authentic shawarma, Jerusalem Steak House is considered to be one of the best, with a good selection of fresh salads to go with it. Shawarma in pita is NIS 32 and in laffa is NIS 38 and they also do a half shawarma in either pita (NIS 18) or laffa (NIS 22).

Jerusalem Steak House (Mehadrin), 101 Agripas Street, 02 625 2745.

  1. HaChapuria

This popular Georgian bakery, specializes in Hachapuri, a selection of cheese filled breads.  My favorite is Acharuli (NIS 30 small, 35 large) which has a cracked egg on top, designed so you can break off the crispy crust and dip it into the cheese and egg center. They sell a variety of other Georgian pastries but the one with the egg on top is the most popular.

HaChapuria (Hashgacha Pratit) – 5 HaShikma Street (corner with HaEshkol).

Another place that deserves a special mention is is SushiYa, which is not technically in the shuk but is very close by and worth the extra walk.

The menu at SushiYa is limited and there is not much seating but the food is always incredibly fresh and well made.  The type of fish varies based on availability but they have all the standard sushi dishes and also serve a great poke bowl (and have done for years before they became so popular elsewhere).  The Fish bowl is NIS 35 and includes a mix of raw and cooked fish, with a selection of raw, cooked and pickled vegetables.  It is tasty, filling and great value.

SushiYa (Kosher) – 1 Trumpeldor Street (corner with Bezalel), 02 625 9055.

Fish bowl @sushiyabezalel. So tasty and filling #sushi #jerusalem #foodie #foodil

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There are so many other street food places that are worth visiting in the shuk, like Amster Bar for Dutch chips, Jachnun Bar for a Yemenite malawach, Argento for Argentinian empanadas or Pepito’s for arepas and Latin American sandwiches.

There are now also plenty of dessert options, including ice-cream at Mousseline, waffles at Soramelo, crepes at Sabayos or cinnamon buns at Urbun.

2014-01-08 22.13.07

Waffle at Soramelo

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