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.

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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.

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.

Click here to read more of Debbest.

October Foodie Roundup

As well as information about openings and closings, I have also included reviews of some newish places I have visited recently. There are also some great food and wine events coming up this month so make sure you read to the end.

Jerusalem 

Pergamon Restaurant – a new vegetarian restaurant on Horkanos in Jerusalem. The food is Mediterranean style and they also serve cocktails with a focus on Gin and Tonics.

Azza 40 closed down on Azza and will soon reopen as R&R Diner at 33 Yafo in the city center. It will be interesting to see if the style is the same and I wonder what will open on Azza instead. Any ideas?

Tel Aviv & Merkaz

Resto French Kitchen (Kosher) has just opened next to the Fashion Mall on Ha’Hashmonaim in Tel Aviv.  Another French import, dishes include Salmon Tartar, Beef Tartar, Beef Bourguignon and Tarte Tatin.

Bar B Que (Kosher) is a new restaurant in Herzliya Pituach which is a great option for groups to share lots of dishes and platters. Our favorites were the chicken wings, Asado and the smoked pulled beef. Will definitely go back and try the burgers, here is the full menu. The service was efficient and friendly and there is spacious seating.

L’Aile ou la Cuisse (Kosher) in Tel Aviv is the sister of one with the same name in central Paris, with the exact same menu (full menu here). There are a few dishes that they are not always available (like Foie Gras Terrine and Veal Shnitzel) but otherwise, the menu is that of a typical French Rotisserie and we loved everything we had. The restaurant is well designed with a relaxed atmosphere and you can see into the kitchen to watch the chef perform his magic. The service was efficient and friendly and we all loved our food and the experience in general. They also have a business lunch from NIS 59.

Kitchen By Greg (Mehadrin) Sarona, Tel Aviv – although this place is not fancy, it is the only kosher meat cafe in Sarona (not including fast-food stands in the market). The menu is varied, it is well priced and the setting is peaceful. I enjoyed a business lunch with a colleague, which includes a free starter (from a limited selection) for the price of a 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.  Kitchen By Greg is a great place for a comfortable lunch or light dinner, here is a link to the full menu.

Taj Indian Restaurant (Kosher) Or Akiva – for those looking for a kosher Indian experience, this small restaurant near Caesaria seems to be a good option.  Click here for a full review in the Jerusalem Post.

Night Cookie (Dairy – No Hechsher) – Tel Aviv has a new late-night food delivery service, specializing in cookies fresh from the oven. Deliveries are Wednesday to Saturday 21:00-02:00 and include traditional cookie flavors, as well as more interesting Toffee Caramel and Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate and Chili, as well as three vegan flavors. Cookies are NIS 8.50 each and delivery is free with a minimum order of NIS 30.

Upcoming Foodie Events

Round Tables by American Express, October 31- November 17, 2017. There are still tickets available for some of the events – more information here.

Mateh Yehudah Wine Festival, November 2-25, 2017. Special events will take place in various wineries all over the area every weekend in November, but the main event is the opening at Yad Hashmona Hotel.

Open Restaurants Jerusalem, November 14-18, 2017. This year the festival comprises 80 events, including some English food tours – more information here.

In other news

Asian American food blogger Mark Wiens of Migrationology documented his foodie tours of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Bethlehem, Ramla and Nazareth. The narration style is slightly over-enthusiastic (he reminds me of a cartoon character but I cannot work out which one) and everything he tries is “wow” but it interesting to see which places are included in these documentaries and there is a list of all the venues in the description section below each video so you don’t have to watch them.

October Posts

  1. Debbest: Tasting Tour of the Shuk
  2. Debbest: Shopping in the Shuk
  3. Debbest: Top Ten Kosher Restaurants in Israel
  4. Succot in the Holy City – 2017

To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

Debbest: Top Ten Kosher Restaurants in Israel

People are always asking me for my top ten favorites and I do believe there is no definitive list as it depends on occasion, age, style of food and of course, most importantly, personal taste. Having said that I do like lists so why not write my own!

I have started with a list of my favorite  kosher restaurants in Israel, as that seems to be the most requested and will move onto other categories in the next few months.  This list is based purely on my personal experience and I have eaten at all of these places as a paying guest.  The menu in some places varies seasonally so I have tried to recommend dishes that are consistently on the menu or a similar variation of the same dish.  There is a carnivorous focus to my suggestions as that is my personal preference when eating out but I have included the link to a full review, if available, so you can find more suggestions.

  1. Jacko’s Street, Jerusalem

It will be no surprise to anybody that knows me personally or follows this blog that Jacko’s Street is my favorite restaurant in Israel (not just kosher ones) and will always be top on my list of recommendations. It is my go-to place for taking out-of-town guests and even those who don’t eat kosher are impressed by the creativity of the menu and energetic atmosphere in the restaurant – it epitomizes the expression “fun-dining”.

The menu is a Middle Eastern fusion, with many dishes offering an elevated version of traditional home-style recipe. My favorite starters are the Asado Bruschetta or the Red Tuna Fricasse and for mains, I normally order the Gourmet Burger, the Charred Steak or the Prime Rib, if I have a willing partner to share. After 9 pm the music is lively so if that is not what you are looking for, either go early or find somewhere else.

Jacko’s Street, Agripas 74, Jerusalem 02 581 7178 – full review here.

It's all about the meat

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  1. La Regence, King David Hotel, Jerusalem

For those looking for truly creative kosher dining, the tasting menu at La Regence is a unique experience.  As you would expect from The King David Hotel, the service is efficient and attentive.

The style of the menu is European with an Israeli twist. Signature dishes include the Tomato Leather filled with Sea Fish Salad and the Chicken Consommé to start, Roasted Duck confit with Black Garlic for main and the Chocolate & Olive Oil is an extraordinary dessert. At a cost of 380 NIS per guest, it is definitely a special occasion option for most people and it is a very formal, old-school hotel style restaurant. There is also the option to order from the regular menu.

La Regence, King David Hotel, Jerusalem, 02 620 8795- full review here.

Tomato “leather” filled with sea fish salad

  1. Rooftop, Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

For the ultimate “Jerusalem” setting, Rooftop RestaurantMamilla Hotel is a must.  The view over the Old City is incomparable and the menu is always fresh and interesting with mostly Mediterranean dishes with a Middle Eastern influence.

I love the Iron-Rich Herb Salad, Duck in a Blanket and Grouper Shawarma starters. For main I cannot resist the Entrecote as it is one of my favorites in Jerusalem, but the Lamb Chops and the Bass are also great dishes. The service is slightly hit or miss but the view and quality of the food make it worthwhile.

Rooftop, Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, 02 548 2230 – full review here.

  1. Herbert Samuel, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Herzliya Pituach

I have been fortunate to eat in Herbert Samuel in the Ritz Carlton Herzliya on a number of occasions.  There can be issues with consistency and service but my overall experience has been very positive.

I tend to start with a light raw dish like the Red Tuna Crudo or Beef Tartare.  The Tomato Salad is the Herbert Samuel signature dish and very popular.  If you are dining with a fellow carnivore then I recommend ordering the Beef Chateau or the Prime Rib as they are both great options for a minimum of 2 diners. I have often been with non-meat eaters who have been very happy with their fish main course. All the chocolate related desserts are always incredible and worth saving room for. There is also a very impressive wine menu and the wine fridges line the length of the restaurant.

Herbert Samuel, Ritz Carlton Herzliya, Herzliya Pituach, 073 203 7596.

  1. Blue Sky by Meir Adoni, Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Yet another hotel restaurant, but the rooftop setting overlooking the Tel Aviv skyline and shoreline is spectacular, even in the winter.  Chef Meir Adoni is an incredibly creative chef who experiments with unusual flavor and texture combinations.

The menu changes regularly and the dishes I had are no longer on there but we all enjoyed everything we ordered. The menu is now entirely fish dishes and has more of an Asian twist than I remember, and I really don’t like his sister restaurant Lumina since it became some weird fusion, so I hope Blue Sky is still as good as it once was.

Blue Sky by Meir Adoni, Carlton Tel Aviv Hotel, 03 520 1830.

  1. Gillis Steak House, Moshav Nov

Although Gillis is not a real restaurant, the food is so good it still qualifies for this list.  Gillis Steak House is only open on a Thursday night, the rest of the time it is a cattle farm and butcher.

The menu is simple – meat! Some dishes can be ordered individually, including a token chicken dish but for real carnivores, the tasting menus are the way to go.  There are various options depending on how much meat you want to receive, but it is all unbelievably delicious so I recommend going all out and getting the Just Beef tasting menu at NIS 238 per person.

The most unique aspect about the place is that the cooks are actually the farm workers, who just know how to cook the meat well and honor its true flavor – there are no special sauces or fancy plating, just delicious well-cooked high quality beef.  The service is incredibly warm and the Gillis family personally host all their guests.

Gillis Steak House, Moshav Nov, Golan, 04 676 3555 – full review here.

  1. Muza Bahar, Shoresh

Day or night, Muza Bahar is a scenic way to enjoy a very good meal. The Duck Fillet is a clear winner in the starters.  The duck is well cooked and it is served with caramelized apples and a Calvados foam, which perfectly complement the flavors of the duck.

For main I normally order the Cote de Boeuf (500g Rib Eye) which is a serious piece of meat but it is well aged and the bone marrow accompaniment makes it even more indulgent. The Trio of Mini Burgers are also very interesting and the Salmon Fillet is a great alternative for non-meat eaters.

The desserts are all beautifully presented but the Deconstructed Lemon Pie was the most interesting and least parev tasting of them all.

Muza Bahar, Shoresh, 02 624 6897 – full review here.

Muza Bahar. (photo credit:PR)

  1. Roberg, Moshav Livnim

I have not been back to Roberg for quite some time but previous visits were so consistent that I still believe it deserves its place on this list. The restaurant is the top floor of the family home in a Moshav overlooking the Kinneret so if you have a chance to go during daylight, I highly recommend doing so.

The menu is fixed price at NIS 150 for four courses or NIS 180 for five and both options include a selection of starters and mains to choose from.  There is a warm friendly atmosphere and service is always with a smile.   As well as the plethora of delicious salads that accompany the tasting menu, you can also ask for refills if you want more of a specific protein dish. There is no specific dish to recommend, it is more the entire dining experience that keeps people coming back for more.

Roberg, Moshav Livnim, 04 671 5656.

  1. Minato, Herzliya Pituach

Possibly one of the best sushi restaurants in Israel, the quality of the ingredients and the precise of the preparation is what distinguishes Minato from most sushi places in Israel. The menu also includes some delicious cooked dishes like Agedashi Tofu, Katsu Chicken and Minato Yakiniku (entrecote with a mild mirin sauce).

The design of the restaurant and the dishes used are beautiful and add to the dining experience. The only downside is that the restaurant is on the small side so space is limited.

Minato,  Ha’menofim 8, Herzliya Pituach, 09 773 1703.

  1. Whiskey Bar & Museum, Sarona Tel Aviv

I debated whether to include Whiskey Bar in this list as the food and service were not perfect both times I was there (hence number 10) but the setting and concept are so unique that I believe it deserves to be included and it is also much better than many of the other kosher meat restaurants in Tel Aviv.

It is located in the basement of a Templar building in Sarona, with walls lined with over 1000 types of whiskey, but it is still enjoyable for non-whiskey drinkers like myself.

The Beef Carpaccio and Liver Pate are tasty starters and the Prime Rib and Lamb Chops are succulent mains. The chocolate mousse with smoked whiskey is a shining favorite for everyone.

Whiskey Bar & Museum, Sarona Tel Aviv, 03 955 1105.

Some other favorites that didn’t quite make the list are 1868 in Jerusalem,  Oratorio in the Elma Hotel in Zichron and the restaurants in the Beresheet and Cramim hotels.  Although I find hotel restaurants often lack atmosphere, the fact that they cater to tourists often means the standard of food and service are better.

I should mention that I have not eaten at either Cà Phê Hanoi or Olive Leaf in Tel Aviv but both are meant to be great kosher restaurants. I would love to hear what other top ten lists you want to see and what your top kosher restaurants are.

Click here to read more of Debbest.

September Foodie Roundup

I decided to write the August Roundup post as a way to easily update those who are often asking about new places opening or don’t know about places closing.  It was purely an experiment – but apparently a good one as in just a few days it became one of the most viewed posts on my blog and three different restaurant owners go in touch with me wanting to make sure I had the information I needed about their business.

So, it looks like this will become a regular feature and as always, I would be happy to hear feedback, but I cannot promise that I will follow it 😊.

Jerusalem News

JLM Local Sushi (Kosher) – the owners of 1868 have decided to close Marvin Wine & Food and replace it with a sushi restaurant. They officially opened this week with a fish and meat menu but vegan and vegetarian dishes are clearly marked – click here for the dinner menu. I am sure the food will be just as delicious and creative as the rest of the restaurants in the 1868 group (1868 review and Zuta Bar review).

Villa Brown (Hashgacha Pratit) – a boutique hotel from the Brown hotel group has opened on Ha’Neviim Street and includes Cave Bar, a cocktail and wine bar in the basement of the hotel.  Rumor has it that the hotel serves high-tea, I plan to visit soon and will report back.

Valero (Not Kosher) – new chef restaurant and bar from Chef Aviv Moshe (Messa & Quattro) on the corner of Agripas and Beit Yaakov has finally opened.  The name Valero is apparently the originally name for the shuk area. It is a soft opening with a trial menu and 20% off – click here for the menu in Hebrew. The place is beautifully decorated and well laid out and I hope the food is as good as his other restaurants!

Orient Jerusalem – Isrotel have finally opened a hotel in Jerusalem at the crossroads of Emek Refaim and Derech Bet Lechem.  The hotel has a dairy café in the lobby and buffet breakfast and dinner.  The food at the Isrotel Exclusive Collection hotels is normally excellent and reports so far have been very positive.

Urbun (Mehadrin) – Urban café near the shuk, which opened at the end of June, has changed its name to Urbun and will focus only on desserts and pastries.  People are raving about their Cinnamon Buns.

Babka @Urbun

Tel Aviv & Merkaz News

Bar B Que – Australian Grill (Kosher) – a new restaurant in Herzliya Pituach industrial area, focused all types of meat. The owner is Australian with South African origins so expect amazing flavors and sauces! The picture below says it all!

Cà Phê Hanoi (Kosher) – it may have been open for a few months already but this Vietnamese restaurant with a French and Israeli twist is definitely the hot ticket in town. If you can actually get through to make a booking, then apparently it is worth the wait, so far I have not been so lucky.  Apparently the service is hit or miss but the creativity of the food makes up for it.

Our version of love ❤

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Upcoming Foodie Events

Round Tables by American Express, October 31- November 17, 2017 – which includes Mona in Jerusalem and one kosher option at Hayakron 99 at the Dan Tel Aviv – full details here.  It is nearly sold out so book fast!

Maido Peru - Vegan Cheesecake

Maido Peru – Vegan Cheesecake

Open Restaurants Jerusalem – 14-18 November 2017 – some of the events are already listed on their website but the full schedule, including some events in English,  will only be up in early October and booking starts on October 15 so there is plenty of time to have a look and decide what you want to go to.  Here are my posts on Open Restaurants 2016 and a cocktail workshop I attended last year.

Coming Soon

Memphis Burger (Kosher) is planning to open a Jerusalem branch on Agripas after the chagim. Those who have been to the Tel Aviv branch, will know how exciting this news is.  Even though there are already a number of burgers places in that area and I am a died hard Josef Burger fan, the taste and quality of the burgers at Memphis is amazing.  Last time I was there, I had the 250g burger (NIS 55) which was thick and juicy, with a great crust on the outside, something you don’t get in the other places.

Memphis Burger

In other news, Israeli Social Eating company EatWith has been sold to European rival VizEat, read the full story here.

To read previous monthly round ups, click here.

Round Tables Culinary Festival – November 2017

Israel might not have its own Michelin restaurants but the American Express Round Tables Festival bring a taste of Michelin to Israel for the third time.  A total of 60 chefs and restaurateurs from 14 restaurants worldwide will once again take part in the international culinary festival.

Each international restaurant pairs with a leading Israeli restaurant to serve a tasting menu featuring signature dishes of the guest chefs, with a local twist added by the Israeli hosts.  Before the festival begins, the Israeli chefs spend a training period in the restaurants abroad and begin the preparations for the event.

Of the 14 international restaurants involved this year, two of them hold two Michelin stars, six hold one Michelin star and three have been listed as the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.  Among the visiting chefs will be Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura of Maido in Peru, who is ranked number eight in the world and is the highest-ranking chef to ever participate in the festival. He will be cooking at Japanese Bistro Ya Pan in Tel Aviv.

Maido Peru - Vegan Cheesecake

Maido Peru – Vegan Cheesecake

L’Air du Temps from Belgium, led by the Korean-Belgian chef Sang Hoon Degeimbre, will bring its two Michelin stars to Pastel and 7132 Silver, located at a luxury spa hotel in the Swiss Alps (two Michelin stars) will join Chef Shahaf Shabtay in the Nithan Thai kitchen.

This year the festival includes a kosher restaurant where Mallorca’s Andreu Genestra Restaurant (one Michelin star) will partner with Dan Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon 99.  For the first time, the festival is not restricted to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem’s Mona will host British restaurant The Elephant (one Michelin star).

The full festival runs October 29 – November 17 but the individual restaurant events last around five days each.  Tickets range from 269 to 399 NIS per person for a five-course meal without drinks, with special offers for holders of Israeli American Express cards. Some of the events are already sold out so if you are interested in taking part, book your tickets soon.

All the information about the restaurants involved is on the festival website, https://www.roundtablestour.com/en/.

Ricard Camarena Restaurant Spain – Mango Maduro Curry

August Foodie Roundup

As the restaurant scene in Israel is so dynamic, I thought it would be helpful to start writing updates on recent openings and closings.  The focus will be on my hometown Jerusalem, but I will also include other news from the last few months.

Jerusalem Openings 

  1. Urban Café (Mehadrin) – a small dairy chef cafe near the shuk with elevated salads, sandwiches and pizzas.  The ingredients are fresh and the menu is creative.  I loved the tuna melt and their brownies and cookies look delicious.
  2. Bakshish (Kosher) – the sous-chef from Jacko’s Street has opened a tapas and cocktail bar in the old Jacko’s Street location.  Very much a bar with food, the decor is beautiful, the bar is very well stocked and the tapas dishes are nicely presented and executed.  Mostly an Israeli crowd, but it is good to have a fancy bar in the shuk area.

    Roast Beef Bruschetta @Bakshish

  3. Ofaimme (Kosher) – Ofaimme Farm has opened a second branch in Beit Hansen serving organic farm to table produce with a focus on cheese and pastries. There is also a shop attached to buy produce to take home.
  4. Rachel ba Sdera (Kosher) – thanks to Rachel from MasterChef, Jerusalem finally has its own Boulevard cafe on Sderot Ben Maimon in Rehavia.  The small kiosk sells salads, sandwiches and drinks.
  5. Amster Bar (Mehadrin) – Dutch style chips/fries in the shuk (Rehov Haegoz) with loads of interesting sauces including chocolate, peanut butter and alfredo. They also have sausages and a large selection of beers.
  6. Hatch – a craft beer taproom with artisanal sausages which is directly opposite Amster Bar (where Steam used to be). Not been myself but reports so far have been very good.
  7. Hamotzi (Kosher)– moved location and is now on Rehov Yafo, right next to the entrance to the closed shuk.  The location is much bigger with an upstairs gallery and lots of tables outside.

Crispy desserts from Hamotzi opening party

Tel Aviv Openings 

  1. Kukuriku (Not Kosher)– Chef Ran Shmueli of Claro fame, has opened a rotisserie chicken stall in Sarona market.
  2. Calypso (Not Kosher) – Tel Aviv finally has a chef restaurant on the beach, thanks to Omer Miller of HaShulchan and Susu & Sons.  The traditional seafood tavern on Frishman Beach is open day and night.

Closings

  1. Fish and Chips by Fauchon in Sarona Market has closed down – the setting and concept never seemed to work.  It will be interesting to see what opens instead in such a prime position. Netachim inside Sarona Market has also closed but Fleishman Deli is still open and their sandwiches are delicious.
  2. Crubis and Tahrir in the Jerusalem shuk have both closed down, leaving two more stalls for new places to open in.

Coming Soon

Chef Aviv Moshe, one of Israel’s best chefs, is opening a bar and restaurant on the corner of Beit Yaakov and Agripas called Valero. He is most well known for his restaurants Messa and Quattro in Tel Aviv so I am excited to see what the concept will be for this new venture in Jerusalem.

My Recent Reviews

  1. La Padella brings a taste of Europe to the Jerusalem Shuk
  2. Hotel Review: Ultimate Urban Style at Ultra
  3. Jacko’s Street: A Winning Combination
  4. Les Jumelles – A new French Café near Abu Ghosh

Let me know if you like this style of posts and if there is anything else i should include in the future.