Israel has so many fun food options! You might think they have Mediterranean food and that’s all. But you’ve got your Kosher and Halal dishes, food with European influences, and the North American foods - fresh and surprising tastes, each and every time and big portions! At least, this was my take – a vegetarian girl, eating to survive – and not the other way around! Somehow, these influences that I mention are strongest in the heart of Jerusalem. Before you know it, you’ll not only feel that you’ve gone on one culinary journey but several! Bon Appétit!
1. Aroma Espresso Café
Aroma Espresso Café is one of the most popular café chains, in Israel. There are great deals here and you will find it hard to finish your meal, although delicious – because it’s XL in size. Vegan and vegetarian options abound and the desserts are terrific. You should go and try to sample as much as you can!
Aroma Espresso Café
Website: Aroma Espresso Café
2. Café Café
This is a great and friendly Israeli café chain! Café Café has a lot of interesting dishes on offer and this was the place where I experienced my first shakshuka. I loved it, although, at that time, spicy food was a lot to bear for me. The entire place, the staff, and the design felt very accommodating and welcoming - that it is why I fully recommend it!
Address: 44 Emek Refaim St
1868 is one of the most elegant and high-end/fine dining Kosher restaurants in Jerusalem. Why 1868? A short history lesson: it is the year when the construction of the New City of Jerusalem was started and the building hosting the restaurant was one of the first to be erected outside of the Old City walls. Now that you know the history behind the building, you might be even more curious to check out this great restaurant. It is probably a pricier experience than what the rest of Jerusalem offers, but you will be grateful for having selected it. The food and the atmosphere are indeed something special. Did I not mention the desserts that you won’t be able to try anywhere else in the city?
4. Gourmandises by Yoel
Israel meets France on a plate here and as you might have guessed, the signature dishes are the desserts! What you don’t know is that the dishes are themed and that there is live music every day during the summer. You can’t go wrong with one of the offers of the day or with the crêpes, and if you haven’t satisfied your sweet tooth yet, you can take home one of the cakes you have your eyes on and indulge in your own space. Don’t forget to lick the spoon!
Gourmandises by Yoel
Facebook: Gourmandises by Yoel
5. The Culinary Workshop
A seafood and meat restaurant, The Culinary Workshop brings a highly elaborate New York-style interior, blending the design with the creativity of the chef and with fresh ingredients that are run through a minimum of treatment. Yes, you can see the work done in the kitchen before your very eyes. Is that your dish? Hmmm, no, you had that seafood risotto at the end, right? You’ll be eager, waiting to be seduced by the eclectic tastes of one of the finest places in Jerusalem. Are you ready?
The Culinary Workshop
Website: The Culinary Workshop
Are you in for a Kurdish-flavoured experience? You’ve come to the right place! I know it is tiny, but who said the greatest restaurants need to be large? After all, the more condensed, the stronger the aromas! Taste the shamburak, a pastry filled with different meats and/or vegetables. I’ve heard everything’s homemade, from family recipes, and addictive. Dishes come with salads that change every day. Highly recommended: the garlic-tomato jam with anise, carrots with arak, cabbage salad with grapefruit cream or the signature pastry - siske.
It’s said that having your meal at Chakra is one of Jerusalem’s ‘must do’s’. First of all, to lure you in, the atmosphere is very open and relaxed. Then, there are all sorts of surprises ‘on the house’. And finally, there is the ever-changing taste of the dishes served in this great bistro!
8. Beer Bazaar
Why didn’t I list this place under ‘nightlife’? Because of the food! Beer is a great addition to any place, but here, it is in symbiosis. You can choose from over 100 types of Israeli craft beer - from microbreweries all over the country. Best of all, they go well with the salads, the sandwiches, and the appetizers. It looks simple, it is simple, but boy, you’re in for a treat! These guys even have a signature popcorn – homemade, with a dash of beer yeast and paprika; check it out!
Website: Beer Bazaar (website opening soon)
9. Moshiko Falafel
When I first arrived in Israel, I couldn’t drive a certain thought from my mind. That the falafel was invented in Israel. I must say – cross my heart – I’ve had the best falafels of my life in this country and I have eaten them in a fair share of spots around the globe. There is a rumour that the best falafels in Jerusalem are found at Moshiko. Don’t wait any longer. Go and try them out!
Website: Moshiko Falafel (in Hebrew)
10. Hachapuria Mahane Yehuda Market
From the shores of the Black Sea come these traditional Georgian – and more specifically Adjarian – specialties. A very famed cuisine, represented in Jerusalem with passion and warmth. Simplicity is the key - softness and freshness are obtained by on-the-spot baking. Keeping clients happy – they surely know how to do it!
Hachapuria Mahane Yehuda Market
Facebook: Hachapuria Mahane Yehuda Market
I don’t even know how I managed to complete writing this article without booking a flight back to Israel or stepping away from my keyboard to prepare something to remind me of the great culinary experience I had in this country. There’s no time to waste - it’s almost lunchtime and I’m drooling!
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