May Foodie Roundup

Each month when I come to prepare this newsletter I am always surprised at how much news there is. There seem to be some interesting openings this month, especially among kosher restaurants. As always, I would love to hear your feedback and if you want to get ongoing updates, please follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Kosher

The Jerusalem shuk might be full of bars but most of them are no longer places that people over 30 want to hang out. So I am particularly excited by the opening of Samantha Jones Jerusalem and I hope it will provide a welcome alternative. Named after a character in Sex & the City – the concept is meant to be a bar run by women, with a kitchen that offers female chefs a comfortable place to work, but when I dropped in last week, the chef on duty was a man.  They still have a test menu with a variety of incredibly predictable dishes like beef carpaccio, burger and steak, so I hope that the food is good or that they will develop some more unique dishes soon.

Another potentially exciting addition to the Jerusalem kosher dining scene is Andalucia Cocktail Bar in Kikar Hamusica. It is being advertised as a tapas bar but the dishes are a mixture of Spanish and Middle Eastern and not traditional tapas dishes. For now, the menu is only available in Hebrew and all dishes are NIS 55.

Tel Aviv is also gaining a new Spanish kosher restaurant called Carmen. The owners are North African Jews who moved to Israel from Toulouse and the menu embraces dishes with Spanish, French and North African influences. The chef Maurice Avitan previously worked at Par Derriere and Idelson 10. Starters include grilled spleen and goose liver, while some of the main dishes on offer are Toulouse-style sausages with goose confit and a grilled Rossini burger with a slice of foie gras and wine sauce.

A new Georgian bar has opened in Be’er Sheva named after the Georgian national drink, Chacha. The menu includes various Georgian Hachpuri pastries such as the popular Acheroli filled with melted cheese, egg and butter; Lobio soup and of course lots of alcohol. The bar is Kosher with no hechsher.

Caphé Hanoi has opened a gluten-free and vegan café next door called Bowl & Juice. All dishes are NIS 45 and include hot Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, as well as Buddha bowls, acai bowls, vegan desserts, shakes and cold press juices.

Purple Rain for a Monday 💜

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The Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv has once again opened Veranda bar by Kyoto restaurant. The terrace overlooking the sea is open Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Friday and Saturday from 12pm until late.

Table for 3 please! 🍸🍹 For reservations follow the link in bio 🥃

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Chef Meir Adoni has opened a second branch of his street food restaurant Dunya, in central Tel Aviv on Ben Yehuda. Traditional dishes include shawarma, arais, kubeh, sabich, burger and malabi.

Not Kosher

A new uber-cool restaurant has opened in Florentine called Kirkas.  The names of the dishes are all strange play on words but the food itself seems pretty mainstream, like fish ceviche, sweetbread salad and Jerusalem artichoke tortellini.

R2M Group (Brasserie, Coffee Bar and Hotel Montefiore) has opened Disco Tokyo in the Herzl 16 compound in Tel Aviv. The concept is not so much a traditional Japanese restaurant, rather a fun restaurant with a Japanese style, as well as many Korean dishes. Menu items include bao buns, beef in Agadashi sauce and Korean dumplings.

Captain Burger (originally from Jerusalem) has opened two new branches. The first is in Tel Aviv on Ibn Gvirol, where Wolfnights used to be, and the second in Hadera.

Café Popular recently opened in Jacob Samuel Hotel in north Tel Aviv, spread over two floors. As of now, only a bar with a dining menu is open on the lower floor, the bistro will open at a later stage and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is owned by four Tel Aviv restaurateurs and the kitchen is run by Chef Avi Bitton, former chef of Adora.

We’re speechless 😶

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Asia in the Yaffo flea market closed at the end of May, as did Ad Haetzem in Herzliya Pituach after 30 years of business. Ad Haetzem Express branches across Israel will remain in business, including a kosher branch in Raanana and the 12th branch will open in Herzliya Pituach, in place of the restaurant. This seems to be a trend with the move from old-school restaurants, in favor of high-end street food.

Other News and Events

Tel Aviv Cocktail Week takes place 27 May – 2 June 2018. Over 30 bars are taking part including The Norman, Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar, La Otra, Double Standard, and Tailor Made.

Eat TLV will be held in Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv 29-31 May 2018. The event features food stands from some of Tel Aviv’s best restaurants and all dishes are up to NIS 35.

There will also be a Tel Aviv Cocktail Festival at Hatachana 6-7 June, 2018. Tickets are NIS 80 each and include 3 cocktails.

A new restaurant is opening in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in Jerusalem called Ben Hamataim. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it looks like it will be a coffee shop and a chef restaurant.

Recent Posts

  1. Hotel Review: A charming oasis in the heart of Haifa
  2. Debbest: Cafés and Diners open in Jerusalem on Shabbat
  3. YTK – 24 New Kosher Restaurant Updates from Israel – Q1 2018

To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

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YTK – 24 New Kosher Restaurant Updates from Israel – Q1 2018

My debut article for Yeah That’s Kosher, features 24 New Kosher Restaurant Updates from Israel for Q1 2018. Click here to read the full article.

Look out for more updates in the months ahead.

Fillet Steak At 5th Avenue Eilat

April Foodie Roundup

I started a new job last month so I have not had as much time as usual to blog, but between Pesach and work events, I have still managed to eat some great meals. To see more photos from my culinary adventures, follow me on Instagram.

Kosher

Sushi Kebab – east meets west in the Jerusalem shuk. I am not really tempted to try it but it seems to be more kebab in the shape of sushi, than sushi with meat.

Pita Basta opened in April 2018, in place of Fleishman in Sarona Market and the menu has a number of interesting pita options.  I tried the Heavy Pita (NIS 34 – not a typo, their play on words) which was grilled chicken liver, silan, lemon sauce, tahina and other delicious toppings. They also serve a dessert Pita Loti (NIS 10), a crispy grilled pita with nutty chocolate and banana – maybe next time!

Chicho in Sarona Market is now officially kosher. The meatballs always came from a central kosher kitchen but this branch was originally open on Shabbat. They recently decided to close on Shabbat and become certified kosher.

So now there are two great kosher meat options in Sarona Market.

Bastia by Chef Sharon Gabay in the Ra’anana Mall – dishes include freeneh with falafel, arais, and Arab dishes such as freekeh, root vegetables and meat, vegetarian stuffed dishes.

Racha Georgian restaurant is kosher once again.  The original Jerusalem branch was kosher, but it closed in 2016 and reopened in Tel Aviv non-kosher. Less than two years later, they have returned to their kosher status – with a menu, similar to the one they had in Jerusalem, with the addition of some of the dairy dishes, using tofu cheese.  I remember the food to be interesting and tasty, but the service to be temperamental.

Biga in Sarona Market has now become Mehadrin, just like Biga in the Fashion Mall.

Non-Kosher

Chef Raz Rahav of OCD has opened Barvazi Urban Sandwich in central Tel Aviv. Gourmet sandwiches include mac & cheese, baby rib croissant and pineapple and smoked labane.

סנדוויץ׳ – מאק אנד צ׳יז.

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Groneman 8  is a new café in Ramat Aviv with a selection of healthy sandwiches and gourmet pizza.

בוקר טוב עולם, מה שלום כולם? @gronemancaffe

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Other News

Mateh Yehuda Food Festival takes place over three weekends from April 27 to May 20, 2018. This rural food festival has been held for over 10 years and offers unique events to food and wine lovers.  The festival includes events at restaurants, wineries and private homes which are open throughout the year, as well as one-off events that take place only for this festival. All the information can be found in Hebrew on the website.

Recent Posts

 To read previous monthly roundups click here.

Café 65 offers a relaxing business lunch in a tranquil setting

Business lunches are a great way to try high-end restaurants at a reduced price and are also a good opportunity for a working lunch. I have tried business lunches in a number of places in Tel Aviv, so I was excited to see how the lunch at Café 65 compared.

Café 65 is situated in the 65 Hotel, part of the Atlas Hotel chain, located at 65 Rothschild Boulevard. The café is in the hotel lobby, and there is a spacious patio overlooking the street. Although this is a busy area, sitting in the café was lovely and quiet, and the tables were spaced far enough apart to allow for private conversations.

As with many business lunches, the price of the main course included a starter and a soft drink. A colleague was my dining companion, and we have been to a number of business lunches in the area together. We both that the lunch at Café 65 was better value and higher quality than others we had tried recently. We appreciated that all the starters on the menu were included in the price of the lunch, unlike some places where they try to upsell you with starters that incur an extra cost. In addition to the eight main courses on the menu, there were three chef specials, which all sounded wonderful, but we both opted for dishes from the set menu.
Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post 

NOTE: Even though the main menu is just dairy, Cafe 65 is not kosher and they sometimes serve seafood specials.

Salmon Fillet Cafe 65 Credit Yonathan Ben Haim

February Foodie Roundup

There are lots of updates this month so I will keep the intro short. I have changed the format to Kosher vs Not Kosher – please let me know in the comments below if this is helpful or if you prefer it to be ordered by location.

Kosher

There has been a lot of movement on Emek Refaim in Jerusalem recently.  Hayouka BaPita by Chef Aviram Hayouka opened in early December. Waffle Bar has officially closed down. Bagel Café (Mehadrin) has temporarily moved a few doors down while they renovate.  They are also due to open a branch in Kanyon Hadar. Aldo has moved from the small store next to Bagel Café – to the doomed corner of Rachel Imenu.

Netanya has had an explosion of new kosher restaurants.  A few months ago Chef Uri Arnold (owner/chef of Arnold’s) opened a meat Greek Tavern on the beach called Souvlaki. Now, Chef Moshe Segev has opened a second branch of his kosher restaurant called Moshe Segev.  This restaurant follows the opening of Segev’s first kosher restaurant in Beer Sheva a few months ago. The menu is only available in Hebrew.

Chocolate and gold # kosher שוקולד וזהב …

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Chef Meir Adoni has opened a new chain of Middle Eastern fast food restaurants, called Dunya.  The first branch opened in Ramat Hachayal in mid-February and eventually, Adoni aims to bring his food to the whole of Israel, including Nazareth and Rahat. The prices will be higher than most fast-food chains but all the dishes are designed by Adoni himself, using high-quality ingredients.

תכף פותחים בע"ה

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Atmosphera (Kosher) is a new grill restaurant in Ashdod.  The menu includes a selection of small tapas dishes, Mediterranean style starters, as well as fish and meat main courses, such as baby grouper, green seabass, asado on the bone, a burger with a selection of toppings and various steaks, here is the full English menu.

Babam (Kosher), Ashdod – the trend of smoked meat is spreading around the country and Ashdod is the latest city to open a smoked meat restaurant by Chef Eran Hessel. Items on the menu include hot smoked pastrami, asado, smoke entrecote, goose breast, smoked bone goulash soup and a smoked hamburger.

The Croladin is back for good.  Roladin’s version of the Cronut, is now going to be permanently on the menu and not just for Hanukah.  Fillings include coffee amaretto, pistachio, chocolate, crème patisserie and white chocolate.

ועכשיו בגרסה האפויה #קרולדין

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Chiripom by Chef Avi Levy has closed in Tel Aviv.  He has decided to focus all his time on his Jerusalem restaurant, Hamotzi.

Chef Aviv Moshe of Messa and Quattro has launched a kosher vegan catering service called Berry Fields. For more information, call 09 955 9544.

Luciana has opened a new branch in Modiin.  The decor looks beautiful, but I hope that the food and service are more like the original Emek Refaim branch than the Mamilla branch.

יופי זה לא הכל בחיים אבל מי מאיתנו יתנגד

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Eilat has two new kosher restaurants: 5th Avenue by Chef Aviv Moshe is newly kosher and Karibu by Tel Aviv’s David Ve Yossef has opened in the Queen of Sheba hotel, in place of Chicago.

Click here to read my full review of the new Scala restaurant in The David Citadel Hotel.

Not Kosher

After 16 years in business, Argentinian Chef Victor Gloger recently closed Chloelys restaurant in Ramat Gan and has now opened Hola Brasserie (Not Kosher) in the Dan Tel Aviv, where Rafael used to be.  The concept of the new modern European brasserie is to offer a less formal and less expensive menu. The menu features dishes like Tuna Tataki (NIS 56), Pizza Beets & Blue Cheese (NIS 69), Seafood Paella for two (NIS 195). There is also a smoking bar called Barola, with an extensive wine and cocktail menu and bar food. The kosher branch of Chloelys (Kosher) in the Hilton Tel Aviv will remain open.

Chef Omer Miller, the owner of the popular burger chain Susu & Sons (Not Kosher), has opened a pizzeria on Rothschild in Tel Aviv, called Sabba & 300 Rabbits (Not Kosher). Unusual pizza toppings include carrot, pumpkin, pasta, pancetta, osso buco, jalapeno and shredded short rib. They also have a number of sweet toppings for dessert pizzas.

Coming Soon

Since Liliyot closed for renovations a few months ago, we have been waiting to hear what the big update will be, well it is even more exciting than expected.  The new Liliyot restaurant will be Chef Eyal Shani’s first kosher restaurant in Israel.  Shani is one of Israel’s celebrity chefs, whose restaurants include, Port Said, North Abraxass, HaSalon and Romano (Not Kosher) in Tel Aviv and Miznon branches in Tel Aviv, Vienna, Melbourne, New York and a kosher branch in Paris.  Shani is most famous for his whole roasted cauliflower and his love of tomatoes. The restaurant will continue to hire at-risk youth and is due to open in early March.

Kosher restaurants by celebrity chefs are becoming a trend in Israel.  Chef Yoram Nitzan will be opening a new kosher restaurant in the David Intercontinental hotel.  Nitzan spent 20 years as the chef of Mul Yam specializing in seafood, until it burnt down in July 2015.  He was also the chef of Bindella Osteria which closed last year.

Recent Posts

  1. A Weekend Getaway in Haifa
  2. Scala Offers Authentic Jerusalem Food in a Hotel Surrounding
  3. Press Exposure for Restaurant Club Jerusalem and Israel
  4. Debbest: Shabbat in Jerusalem – Fast Food

 To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

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.

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.

Update – they were recently closed down for food poising 80 people – they have now reopened but be warned!

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. Pita Basta (Rabbanut)

Pita Basta opened in April 2018, in place of Fleishman.  They currently have a branch in Ashdod and the menu has a number of interesting items.  I tried the Heavy Pita (NIS 34) which was grilled chicken liver, silan, lemon sauce, tahina and other delicious toppings. They also served a dessert Pita Loti (NIS 10), a crispy grilled pita with nutty chocolate and banana – sounds delicious!

  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 (Mehadrin)

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 was 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.

Ludens Express (Kosher) vegan restaurant has just opened in the Sarona complex, serving fresh salads and vegan burgers and sausages.

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.

Deli Fleishman (Kosher) 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.

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.