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.

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A Weekend Getaway in Haifa

Despite being Israel’s third-largest city, Haifa is not always on the top of people’s places to visit and, having lived in Israel for 10 years, I have not spent much time there. So, when Jessica Halfin, the founder of Haifa Street Food Tours, approached me about spending a weekend in her beloved city, I jumped at the chance to discover its hidden charms.

Originally a baker, Jessica started offering food tours as a way to showcase the local culinary scene and to offer tourists an insight into Haifa’s diverse culture.

We started our tour in Konditoria Hamizrach in the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas, to sample some Arab sweets. This bakery has been run by the Mahroum family for over 35 years and is the offshoot of a larger bakery in Nazareth.

First, we tasted their homemade halva, which was softer and creamier than any I have had before. We also tried their traditional knafeh, made with cheese from Nablus and kadaif noodles from Nazareth, which differs from knafeh in Jerusalem, which is often made with semolina.
Our next stop was Burekas Turki M’Izmir in the downtown Turkish market area. Here the owner let us into his tiny kitchen to see how he stretched the dough to form the burekas before they are baked. As well as the typical potato and cheese burekas, we also devoured an Arabic cheese and fresh za’atar burekas, which is a local specialty. All the burekas were served perfectly with a sliced hardboiled egg, pickles and fresh tomato sauce and it is clear why this place is a popular hangout for students. We accompanied our burekas with some shots of Arnavim Arak, which is a local brand from Haifa marketed to young Israelis.As we wandered around the area, passing many interesting cafes and bars, we admired the murals and street art lining the narrow streets.

Our next stop was spontaneous, but the rows of Arak bottles seemed to beckon us in. Suidan Nehme seemed primarily to be an alcohol store, but also had shelves filled with produce from all over Europe that I have never seen anywhere else in Israel. The friendly owner invited us to drink a toast with him of Ramallah Distilleries Extra Fine Arak, and we also tasted the very rich Abu Salma Arabic coffee made by Nakhly in Shfaram, near Nazareth.
To build up an appetite, we climbed some of the many steps in Haifa away from the port and up to the business district. Our last stop was Hummus Bardichev (kosher), a family-run hummus restaurant that primarily services the surrounding office buildings. The owners have had a branch in the Carmel Center for a number of years and opened this second branch last year. One of the family spent a few years in Jerusalem eating at home-cooked restaurants like Azura in Mahaneh Yehuda and said he wanted to bring something similar to Haifa.

The hummus was warm and creamy and the pita bread fluffy and fresh. The menu included food from Iraq, Morocco and Libya, as well as some traditional Ashkenazi dishes. The highlights for us were the jug of fresh lemonade, which was perfectly thirst quenching and not too sweet, and the vegan malabi, made from coconut cream with candied pistachios on top.
We ended our tour with a glass of Tulip Espero 2015, a blend of syrah, merlot and cabernet franc. The Tulip winery in nearby Kfar Tikva not only produces an incredible range of wines, but is also home to adults with developmental and emotional disabilities, some of whom work in the winery. If you find yourself in the area, it is definitely worth a visit.

Later in the evening we met up again with Jessica to explore the downtown area by night. Although there are numerous bars to choose from, we were particularly curious to learn about the ones run by young secular Arabs. Impossible to find unless you are taken there, the entrance to Kabareet was hidden down a quiet dark alley, but just like an Aladdin’s cave, there were wonderful jewels within. The red painted walls of the cavelike bar and collection of mismatched, antique-looking furniture added character to this unusual establishment.

Kabareet (Credit Wisam Zoabi)

The barwoman who served us was Jewish and chose to work here to get to know her Arab neighbors and improve her Arabic.

It was a perfect opportunity to try another local Arak, this time a Golden Arak from Ramallah. Coming from Jerusalem, it was a refreshing change to see Jews and Arabs socializing so freely, and maybe it is a glimpse of things to come.

As spring approaches, Haifa is a good option for some time away.

Jessica Halfin’s tours are custom-built to client’s specific requirements. For more information: www.haifastreetfoodtours.com.

Click here to read the full article on The Jerusalem Post website or the PDF of the article.

Scala Offers Authentic Jerusalem Food in a Hotel Surrounding

The Scala restaurant in The David Citadel Hotel recently re-opened, having been closed for the last two years. The restaurant is off the hotel lounge, on the fourth floor of the hotel and the décor is similar to the overall style of the hotel. The previous restaurant was a fine-dining concept but the new restaurant serves traditional, Jerusalem food using modern techniques.  The hotel chef, Avi Turjeman, designed the menu to be simple and fresh, while offering authentic local food.

We started the meal with a small bowl of deliciously rich and flavorful meat and vegetable soup, which is a winter chef-special, complimentary to all diners.  Next, we ordered the mezze appetizers which are NIS 48 per platter and one platter was more than enough for three of us. The beautifully presented platter, included Warm Lupin Beans with Black Cumin, Smoked Eggplant, Tabouleh, Creamy Hummus with Warm Chickpeas, Crushed Tomato Dip with Green Chili, Tahina, Amba, Schug and wonderfully crispy Green Falafel.  My favorite part of the platter was the bread which was a light and fluffy, savory pancake-like flatbread with a similar texture to an English crumpet.  The bread worked perfectly dipped in the various sauces and wrapped around the falafel.

For the main course, I chose Veal Schnitzel (NIS 75), one of my favorite dishes and hard to find in Jerusalem.  It was a very generous portion and the dish was tasty, but I found the meat to be too thin, which meant that there was more coating than meat and the meat was slightly overcooked.  I also prefer for a veal schnitzel to be served in one large piece, rather than several small pieces.

Veal Schnitzel

I tasted both the Aged Beef Entrecote Skewer (NIS 55 per skewer) and the Pargit Skewer (NIS 48) which were both good but the chicken was my favorite of all the mains.  There is the option to order two skewers or to mix and match, but one skewer was enough for us, especially after the delicious starters.

Two skewers of Aged Entrecote and Pargit, with Grilled Vegetables

All the main courses are served with a vegetable salad and a choice of side dishes, which include Wheat Freekeh and Lentil Majadara, Basmati Rice or Potato and Sweet Potato Fries.  We tried one of each and the mixed fries were the winner, as they were well coated and we especially liked the purple potato variety.

We accompanied our meal with a glass of the house red wine, Teperberg Impression Cabernet Sauvignon (NIS 28/glass, NIS 110/bottle) which was light and fruity wine.

To finish the meal, we tried three of the four desserts on the menu, each cost NIS 35.   My favorite was the Safra Semolina and Coconut Cake, covered in a warm spiced syrup and served with lemon sorbet. The cake was not overly sweet, despite the syrup, and the lemon sorbet, topped with lemon rind, provided a perfect sharpness to the dish. 

The Fruit Salad was served with blanched almonds, mini meringues and topped with cassis sorbet.  The sorbet was wonderfully smooth and flavorful and the meringues and almonds provided a crunch to the fruity dessert.  Lastly, we had the Falooda ice cream with a marzipan and pistachio “cigar”.  The Persian ice cream, made from glass noodles and rose sugar, was not to my taste, but the cigar, which was drizzled with a warm spiced honey, was delicious.

When tourists come to Jerusalem, they want to try local food and too many of the good restaurants in Jerusalem serve everything but Israeli food.  It is refreshing to find a restaurant in a hotel that is finally giving tourists what they want. For Jerusalemites, it is also great to have a restaurant for special occasions that offers a three-course meat meal, with a glass of wine, for less than NIS 200/person.

Scala will be open for Pesach and the chef already has the menu planned.  This year, the whole hotel will be Mehadrin for Pesach only.

Scala Restaurant (Kosher), The David Citadel Hotel, 7 King David Street, Jerusalem, 02 621 2030. Full English Menu, Sunday – Thursday, 18:00-22:00. Parking validation included.

Press Exposure for Restaurant Club Jerusalem and Israel

Last week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Joanna Shebson of Fun In Jerusalem for Bite Size on the Nachum Segal Network. We talked about how and why Restaurant Club Jerusalem was first founded and the subsequent establishment of Restaurant Club Israel.  We discussed some new restaurant openings in Jerusalem and tips on family-friendly kosher eating around Israel.

Special mentions in the interview include Scala at The David Citadel HotelMemphis BurgerJacko’s StreetWaffle FactoryGillis Steak HouseHarvey’s Smokehouse, and Kitchen by Greg, Sarona.

The full interview is available here.

Debbest-Israel-Slider

Following on from that, I was interviewed by Ariel Dominique Hendelman for an article in The Jerusalem Post entitled “Living to Serve”, about restaurant service in Jerusalem and how certain restaurants stand-out for their level of service.  The article mentions the power of social media and the community aspect of Restaurant Club Jerusalem.

Ariel also interviewed Private Chef Bracha Arnold; James Oppenheim, co-owner of Crave; Joel Haber of Fun Joel’s Israel Tours and Chef Yankale Turjeman, owner of 1868, Zuta and JLM Sushi.

Here is a small extract from the article:

‘For Kandel, the best service in Jerusalem is found at Jacko’s Street near the Machane Yehuda market. She is not shy to rave about the kosher steakhouse and recommend it to Jews and non-Jews alike. Kandel admits that at this point, she knows the owners well and receives VIP treatment, but her admiration for them began a couple of years ago when someone posted in her Facebook group that they were unhappy with their experience at Jacko’s. One of the owners saw the poor review and called Kandel to ask her what she thought they should do. He then called the person and offered them a free meal if they would return, which they did. The subsequent experience was a much more positive one.

“Jacko’s knows that 50% of their customer base is Anglo,” Kandel says. “There are some places who don’t care about their Anglo customers because maybe the majority is Israeli. The other place that really gets it right is Machneyuda restaurant. The experience begins the minute you walk in the door. If for any reason, you’re kept waiting, they bring you something. It’s seamless. They know that the experience is not just about the food and very few restaurants here understand that.”’

Click here to read the full article.

Living to Serve - Snapshot.png

Debbest: Shabbat in Jerusalem – Fast Food

Where to eat in Jerusalem on Saturday/Shabbat is a commonly asked question, especially for first-time visitors.  Even though most of the city closes down on Friday afternoon, there are still plenty of good places to eat all over Jerusalem, you just have to know where they are.  I have decided to split the recommendations into three categories: fast food/takeaway, nighttime and daytime, as the recommendations for these categories are very different.  I am starting with fast food, as it is the easiest one, and the others will follow.

  1. Hasushia

As the only sushi restaurant in Jerusalem open on Shabbat, Hasushia is a popular option.  The restaurant itself is simple and small, with a stronger emphasis on takeaway and deliveries.  As well as the usual selection of sushi, the menu also includes dim sum, Asian soups, salads, noodles and other cooked foods.  Kids meals available are schnitzel and rice or chicken noodles.

Takeaway orders are ready for collection within 40 minutes and for orders over  NIS 50 there is a delivery charge of NIS 8-16 (depending on your location), deliveries take up to 90 minutes.  Online ordering is only in Hebrew (and I could not find an option to pay online), but telephone orders can usually be made in English. This branch serves seafood, meat and dairy together, but vegetarian and vegan dishes are available.

Hasushia, 12 Hillel Street, 02 633 5050

  1. Chili Pizza

Chili Pizza has been around for a several years and serves a traditional range of toppings to satisfy non-kosher consumers, such as ham and pineapple, pepperoni and cheese, bacon and eggs, and spicy beef and sweetcorn. Ready-made pizzas are available by the slice but the freshly made individual pizzas are much better.

The menu also includes some pasta dishes and desserts.  The full menu is online in English and deliveries can be ordered by phone, 11 am to 5 am, 7 days a week.

Chili Pizza, 28 Hillel Street, 02 625 4040

  1. Iwo’s Burger

Iwo’s Burger is a typical burger restaurant with American diner style booths.  The choice of burgers includes beef, veal, lamb or bacon, and among the more gourmet toppings are Emmental, Roquefort and Parmesan Cheese, Bacon, Goose Liver and Truffle Butter.  They also serve a selection of sandwiches and salads, as well as, sticky chicken wings and tater tops with cheese.

The full English menu is available on their website and there is also the option for ordering deliveries in English. Iwo Burger is open until 3am, 7 days a week.

Iwo’s Burger, 24 Hillel Street, 02 622 2513

  1. Domino’s Pizza

As well as the usual pizza selection, Domino’s Pizza also offers the chef pizzas by Asaf Granit, with gourmet toppings such as asparagus, mushroom, parmesan and truffle oil; spinach, cauliflower and pine nuts with an alfredo sauce; thin sliced beef, parmesan with fresh rocket; broccoli, salami, parmesan and roasted almonds, and more.

There is a choice of alternative pizza bases including whole wheat and gluten-free, as well as the option for vegan cheese.

Online ordering is only in Hebrew but telephone orders can usually be made in English.  Deliveries are normally received within 30 minutes or you can collect from your local branch.

Domino’s Pizza, 122 Herzl Boulevard; 1 Etsel Street; 25 Rivka Street, 1700 70 70 70

  1. Captain Burger

Unlike other burger places open on Shabbat, Captain Burger uses only kosher products and does not serve dairy.  Burger meals start at NIS 46 including a 110g burger and fries.  The burgers are not the best in the city but they still tasty and better than chains like McDonald’s. Online ordering is available in Hebrew.

Captain Burger, 4 David Remez Street, First Station, 02 671 9403

  1. P2

P2 serves real Italian thin-crust pizza in the heart of Jerusalem and they recently started selling gluten-free pizza. Other interesting dishes include Panzanella Salad, Calzone and Gnocchi. They do not have a menu online and do not deliver, but you can pre-order by phone for collection, if you know what you want.

P2, 36 Keren Hayesod, 02 563 5555

  1. Mian Noodles

A simple, authentic Asian noodle restaurant near the Old City, which offers five kinds of noodles: ramen, egg, spinach, carrot and rice noodles, with different types of meat and vegetarian toppings.

Mian Noodles, 22 King Solomon Street, 02 994 4333

Our special salad 🍲😋👌🏼

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  1. Aroma

The Hillel branch of Aroma is open 24/7, with a large seating area and free WiFi. The menu is similar to the kosher branches, but also includes a limited amount of meat dishes such as roast beef and chicken sandwiches and chicken salad. The full menu in English is available here and there is also a small branch of Aroma in Yes Planet, which is open on Shabbat.

Aroma, 18 Hillel Street, 02 625 5365; 4 Naomi Street, Yes Planet, 02 656 7787

Decisions decisions…

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  1. Jachnun Bar

For those who are not familiar with Yemenite food, Jachnun is a roll of Malawach pastry (fried flaky bread), which is traditionally cooked on a low heat and eaten on Shabbat morning by Yemenite Jews, with fresh tomato sauce, hard-boiled eggs and schug (spicy pepper and coriander paste).

Jachnun Bar also serves a variety Malawach options filled with salads and dips.  Stand out items include the Shakshukalawach, Pizzalawach, Malawach filled with shakshuka and chocolate filled Malawach.

All the food in the restaurant is vegetarian but as it is open 24/7, including Shabbat, it is not officially. Here is the full menu in English (page 2), they do not deliver.

Jachnun Bar, 28 Hillel Street, 02 566 1919

  1. Black Burger

Although the quality of the meat at Black Burger is superior to other chains, it is still a chain restaurant and the quality and service can vary greatly. It is, however, a great option for a group dinner but if you are going for a pre-movie meal, allow plenty of time, as this is not typical “fast-food” and they don’t do takeaway.

Deliveries are not available but you can call in advance for collecting takeaways. The menu is only available in Hebrew and they claim that all the meat is kosher but they do serve cheeseburgers and the mashed potato is dairy.

Black Burger, 4 Naomi Street, 02 930 9575

January Foodie Roundup

January has been a pretty wet and miserable month, which often prompts people to stay at home in the warmth, rather than eating out, but there are some exciting developments in the Israeli culinary scene this month.

Jerusalem 

Scala (Kosher) at The David Citadel Hotel has re-opened after many years of closure.  The original restaurant was a formal European style bistro but the new one seems to be a modern take on traditional Israeli food, click here for the menu.

Sweet’n Karem (Kosher) has opened a new kosher coffee shop in Ein Kerem with space for chocolate workshops.  The packaged chocolate has always been kosher, but the shop itself used to be open on Shabbat. The new café is the only kosher option available in Ein Kerem and includes seating in a scenic courtyard.

Sofia Restaurant in the Inbal Hotel has closed until May 2018 and the soup festival ended early, due to renovations in the hotel.

A new kosher Arais place is due to open in early March near the shuk, on Agripas opposite Mordoch.

Tel Aviv & Merkaz

Deli Fleishman (Kosher) has closed inside Sarona Market and is now across the road at 112 Derech Menachem Begin. In its place will be another kosher meat stand called Pita Basta (Kosher), who currently have a branch in Ashdod. Menu items include various meat and vegetarian options and most excitingly a chocolate and grilled banana pita.

Ludens Express (Kosher) vegan restaurant has opened in the Sarona complex.

Whiskey Bar Museum (Hashgacha Pratit) in Sarona has opened a cigar bar called Walter Bar at the back of the restaurant.

Etz Halimon (Mehadrin) is a new dairy restaurant in Hod Hasharon. As well as a traditional Israeli breakfast, menu items include Nicoise salad with seared tuna, burrata, gnocchi with chestnuts, parmesan and truffle and whole sea bass with roasted vegetables.

Greco, the popular Greek restaurant in Tel Aviv, has opened a second branch in Herzliya.

Με όρεξη – בתאבון! #ישגםמשלוחים

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Upcoming Events & Other News

So French So Food French culinary week will take place February 5-8, 2018 for a 6th year. A delegation of 18 French chefs will collaborate with restaurants all over Israel. Notable restaurants taking part in Tel Aviv are Shila, Popina, Oasis, Yaffo Tel Aviv and Olive Leaf (Kosher). Jerusalem restaurants include Cow on the Roof (Kosher), Mona, Mamilla Rooftop (Kosher).  Other restaurants around the country are Oratorio (Kosher) in Zichron Yaakov, Oud in Nazareth and Cramim in Beer Sheva.  Participating restaurants will feature special dishes made with the French chefs, for more information contact the restaurants directly.

A report on the recent A-Sham Arab Food Festival in Haifa – Food Festival Brings Jews And Arabs Together In Haifa.

Recent Posts

  1. Authentic Thai food in Downtown Haifa

To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

Authentic Thai food in Downtown Haifa

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

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

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

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

Chang Ba (Credit Avi Shumacher)

December Foodie Roundup

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

Jerusalem 

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

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

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

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

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

Tel Aviv & Merkaz

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon & Upcoming events

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

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

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

Recent Posts

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

To read previous monthly roundups, click here.

A Japanese Gem in Jerusalem

JLM Sushi offers a genuine taste of the Orient

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

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

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

Click here for the full review in The Jerusalem Post

JLM Sushi Credit - sivan shuv-ami

JLM Sushi: Credit – Sivan Shuv-Ami

Debbest: Dining in Sarona

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

  1. Claro

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

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

monday monday so good to me 😎

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  1. Whiskey Bar & Museum (Hashgacha Pratit)

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

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

  1. Fishop by Ziko

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

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

  1. Piazza Rustico

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

  1. Tiger Lilly

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

  1. Ze sushi

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

  1. Benedict

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

  1. Max Brenner

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

  1. Kitchen by Greg (Badatz Mehadrin)

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

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

  1. Anita Gelato

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

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

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