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By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks

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If you’re looking for heat, Israeli dishes are a mixed bag of cultures not afraid of spice. Israel’s food culture is an excellent insight into its history and people, so stopping by a local restaurant is a must.

Israeli dishes have a lot of influence from Middle Eastern flavors like those found in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco restaurants. So, you could say it’s an all-around trip for your senses.

Check out these top-rated Restaurants in Israel for the best tastes in the Middle East.

Foods You’ll Find in an Israel Restaurant

  • Falafel:  While the origins of this dish can be traced to Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine, this is the national dish of Israel. It’s usually made with a fragrant mix of spices and chickpeas, but Flava beans are often used as a substitute.
  • Hummus: Another chickpea staple in Israel is this blended dip or spread. People usually eat it with raw onion instead of bread in Israel.
  • Jaffa Orange: Also known as ‘shamouti orange,’ this fruit variety was created as a mutation of oranges the in the 19th century. It is slightly different from a usual orange in that it’s oval, somewhat sweet, and has few seeds. You’ll find this in both savory and sweet dishes in the country.
  • Israeli Breakfast: You’ll see this option on many Israeli restaurant menus. While the west favors a meat-heavy start to their day, in Israel, you can expect an assortment of dairy products, bread, fresh vegetables, and fish instead.
  • Shakshuka: Many people know this Middle Eastern dish as it’s grown in global popularity over the years. The vegetarian dish consists of eggs poached on top of a tomato sauce seasoned with spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is best eaten straight from the cast iron pan.
Restaurant Shakshuka in Israel

Best Israel Restaurants

If you’re looking for a restaurant in Israel, here are a few of the best ones in two of the country’s major cities. These restaurants range from high-end to more budget eateries.

Tel Aviv Restaurants

Many best restaurants in Tel Aviv expertly bring blends of local spices and flavors into high-quality dishes, no matter your budget.


Mendele Mokher Sfarim St 5

One of the fine-dining restaurants in Tel Aviv, as there are many in the capital city. What sets this restaurant in Mendeli Street Hotel apart from the others is its focus on design. Not only in the restaurant interiors but also in its cooking and plating techniques.

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Its interior shapes a relaxed atmosphere with carefully curated furniture and table wear handcrafted by global artists and designers. Similarly, their dishes are equally curated with fresh ingredients and dishes that change daily.

They serve dishes made of everything from seafood and meat to vegetables and grains. You can experience their craftsmanship from Wednesdays to Saturdays for dinner or as a brunch buffet every day of the week.

Restaurant Mashya in Israel
Image by Mashya on Facebook


Rabbi Hannina St. 3, Flea Market Jaffa

The Jaffa Port is one of the oldest ports in the world, with the city mentioned four times in the bible. Modern-day Jaffa now sits as a part of the capital city which you can visit for its markets, picturesque views, and Onza — a Turkish Tel Aviv Restaurant.

Onza’s motto is “food & vibe.” For this reason, it is a laid-back restaurant that encourages the Israeli habit of sharing food among loved ones. It has indoor and alfresco seating options and an extended drinks menu that keeps the Jaffa nightlife alive.

Its menu incorporates some of Turkey’s favorite comfort foods with a fresh twist. Their international IPA and fresh ingredient cocktails pair well with their selection of mezze.

But, if you’re looking for a more substantial meal to soak up your drinks, dive into their taboons or main dishes like shawarmas, beef tartare, and seafood.

Restaurant Onza in Israel
Image by Onza on Facebook


Derech Menachem Begin 23

Taizu has won several awards from Time Out Magazine, ranging from best restaurant to Chef of the Year. So, it’s no wonder this Asian fusion restaurant is on the tip of many people’s lips in Israel.

Chef Yuval Ben Neriah opened this restaurant’s doors in 2013 and has continued bringing Southeast Asia’s tastes to Israel since.

His dishes incorporate themes of the five elements of water, wood, metal, earth, and fire. This means that not only will you be well fed, but Taizu will take you on a well-thought-out food journey.

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Similarly to Middle Eastern culture, dishes are prepared to be shared among loved ones, so you’ll find many small dishes like dumplings, tartar, and salads on the menu. There is also a separate Indian dinner menu with its own selection of flavourful dishes.

Taizu Restaurant in Israel
Image by Taizu on Facebook

La Shuk

Dizengoff St 92

La Shuk is one of the more mid-range restaurants Tel Aviv has in the buzzing Dizengoff Square. This square is where the city’s shopping mall, boutiques, shops, and many other restaurants are for first-time Tel Aviv travelers to try.

You’ll find La Shuk among these shops. The restaurant offers its patrons a diverse brunch and dinner menu, from starters to desserts. There are a few vegetarian dishes, but the restaurant mainly serves meat, poultry, and seafood.

You’ll find A La Bar next door, where you can expect a mellow nightcap with wine and hand-mixed cocktails. Happy hour is from 6 pm to 8 pm. And, on Fridays, you can order a few bites or light meals too.

Restaurant La Shuk in Israel
Image by La Shuk on Facebook

Yaffo Tel Aviv

Yigal Alon St 98

Chef Haim Cohen takes the old (Jaffo or Yaffo) and mixes it with the new (Tel Aviv) to create Yaffo Tel Aviv. By doing so, he manages to combine authentic flavors and techniques with modern skills to reveal a fine dining experience.

The dinner and lunch menu comprises dishes prepared by hand, including hand-made and pressed pasta and tortellini. Main courses include rich dishes like tenderloins, seafood msabbaha, and veal.

For dessert and wine, the menu is equally as luxe with treats like Sicilian flan, goat cheese kadaif, and vintage champagne.

Yaffo-Tel Aviv Restaurant in Israel
Image by Yaffo Tel Aviv on Facebook

Jerusalem Restaurants

The best restaurants in Israel have intertwined their flavors with the many influences around them over the years. Jerusalem is considered the heart of the holy land, filled with mouth-watering foods relaying the stories of centuries of techniques.


Beit Ya’akov St 1

The best restaurants Israel has are usually the ones that are quaint, laid-back, and without much fuss. Ishtabach is one of those restaurants.

This small space is a kosher eatery specializing in Kurdish-Syrian pastries. Each dish is passed down from generations of recipes.

One of these recipes comes in the form of their signature pastry called the siske. It is crammed with chimichurri, mashed potatoes, bell peppers, and an amazing 15-hour slow-cooked beef.

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This is just one of their creations jam-packed with hours of dedication mixed with years of flavor and spice knowledge. Meals are accompanied by three salads that change daily.

Siske in Israel


Ha’Eshkol 4, Mahne Yehuda Market

If you’re looking for authentic restaurants, Israel’s Azura is the correct place to be. It is a small and unpretentious vegetarian eatery at Mahne Yehuda Market.

Even with its humble location, it has grown so much in popularity that it amasses long queues with customers such as politicians and celebrities.

So why all the buzz? Azure knows that any restaurant’s main focus should always emphasize the art of cooking and flavor balance.

Fortunately, it is quite budget-friendly, with dishes like kibbeh, kebabs, and stews prepared the old-fashioned way.

Restaurant Israel Azure in Israel
Image by Azura on Facebook

The Eucalyptus

Felt St 14

The Eucalyptus offers its guests a dreamlike setting among plants, brick walkways, and sparkling archways. The restaurant’s name comes from the owner and executive chef, Moshe Basson.

He opened up this restaurant under the eucalyptus tree he planted from the seed as a child on Tu Bishvat.

Today, it is a crowd favorite among Jerusalem locals and tourists due to its regional and global menu. The tasting menu is an ideal way to work through the menu’s best dishes.

This restaurant serves light dishes, so it’s a good idea to work through each dish slowly, savoring the craftsmanship instead of eating here to fill up.

While you’re there, you can even pick up a few cooking tips from the restaurant’s cooking classes and city tours led by expert chefs.

Restaurant Israel Eucalyptus in Israel
Image by The Eucalyptus on Facebook

Restaurants in Israel

There you have it. Some of the best restaurants Tel Aviv and Jerusalem has to offer. Both cities provide different perspectives of what they consider Israel’s top dishes and flavors. All the while, they still manage to uplift the country’s best fares.

Despite being a Middle Eastern country, Israel is quite diverse. Its locals and tourists enjoy tasting dishes from top chefs from all over the east. Which restaurants in Israel are you hoping to try?

Adventure Awaits


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