Great Food & Restaurants Easy to Find in Israel

a toast with a great Israeli red wine L'Chaiim!

Jonathan & I share a toast at Zepra with a great Israeli red wine — L’Chaiim!

One of the first questions I seem to get when I travel overseas is about the food, usually as simple as “What is the food like there?” Sometimes more about “What kind of places did you eat in?” And that’s a question I always enjoy talking through because so far, everywhere I’ve traveled has had some aspects of their diet that I absolutely loved! So what did I think about the food in Israel?

Options of Sabbath/Shabbat

Since we arrived in Israel during the sabbath (shabbat in Hebrew), we learned a lesson quickly when friends Jonathan and Chagrit came to take us to a local Tel Aviv restaurant for dinner. The options for a traditional local meal are limited as more devout Jewish establishments are closed. But that didn’t mean we didn’t have an incredible meal!

We ate at an Asian place called Zepra where the waiter suggested he handle the ordering & what a great move that was! We had some of the freshest vegetables, tastiest mushrooms, and most tender beef… Wow. And by having small plates just coming to the table throughout the evening, we were able to enjoy a relaxed pace which was perfect for us (meaning dinner lasted three hours or more). The blog linked above mentions one of the dishes I remember us having — the Buddha salad that we all loved. Those of us who were meat eaters also found the beef to be one of the best dishes we had had in a long time. (Zepra’s site is in Hebrew though it appears they plan to translate it. In the meantime, Google Chrome translated it for me.)

The next weekend we had dinner at our hotel which we found was more simple than the previous evening. I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed it a bit more than other nights! On Saturday, we were traveling during the day and were able to get Chinese food in Jerusalem for lunch. Seems like lots of our group was happy to have something so familiar. Especially since a Filipina did some of the cooking! Another day we had pasta and we tended to have the hotel buffet in the evening.

Typical Israeli Meal

salad course options

salad course options

It took almost 18 hours from arrival in Israel to have a typical Israeli meal. And I have to tell you, it was a HUGE HIT with our crowd. Our meal was in Jaffa at di consiglio restaurant. As we arrived, lots of small salad’s were delivered to our tables with fresh baked pita bread. Among the “salads” (really small plates of salad, veggies, etc) that I recognized quickly and easily were hummus, babaganoush and grilled eggplant. There were many more that were familiar to me from previous trips through Mediterranean countries and some new ones. They were amazingly fresh and the lightness really grabbed us.

Of course, all of that was before kebabs came out! We had both shish kebabs of lamb and chicken kebabs. We had similar meals a couple of times during our week including on the way back to the airport on Saturday evening. (FYI – we ate in a town called Abu Ghosh — great dinner!)

Breakfast in Israel

Mediterranean breakfast in Israel

Mediterranean breakfast in Israel

Since I’m not a morning person, I didn’t take many pictures of breakfast. LOL! But I did enjoy breakfast most everyday! What’s not to enjoy with a whole selection of cheeses and olives! Add to that fresh fruits and breads and you’ve got me addicted!

Each of the hotels we were in also offered several traveler-friendly choices. Cereals and yogurt, omelets cooked to order, eggs (especially boiled eggs)  as well as a number of different pastries which tended to be awesomely not that sweet. Since there are a lot of citrus trees in the Jaffa area, I ate oranges and grapefruits several times but most admit with the heat, watermelon and other fruits were at the top of my list at breakfast (and several dinners too!).

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Other posts on my recent vacation to Israel include:

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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