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A Look Inside Israel’s Food Scene

In recent years, Israel’s culinary scene has officially arrived on the international culinary scene, driven by a uniquely diverse set of food traditions originating from around the world - from Bulgarian street food to Parisian-style Brasseries. Behind the flavorful landscape lies a key ingredient: arguably some of the freshest agricultural products in the world. And the allure of Israeli food is continuing to grow, as famous Israeli chefs both in Israel and around the world make headlines and receive top accolades.

Visitors to Israel can experience the country through its food with an “eat-like-a-local” itinerary, featuring mouth-watering market tours, home-cooked meals and more.

Start the Day with an Israeli Breakfast

Indulging in an Israeli breakfast is one of the pleasures of a visit to Israel. The legend begins on the communal Kibbutz farms of the early 20th century, where workers would return from the fields famished after early morning shifts. Breakfast consisted of what was available on the farm, and the famous ‘Israeli breakfast’ of fresh produce, eggs and dairy products was born. This field-to-table institution remains strong today as hotels, families, restaurants, and of course, kibbutzim serve up tempting, fresh breakfast buffets. For a local favorite, try shakshuka, a bubbling egg dish cooked in a tomato and roasted eggplant sauce.

Photo by Dana Friedlander

Strike a Bargain in the Market

No trip to Israel would be complete without a visit to the market, locally referred to as the shuk. Tel Aviv’s largest market, the Carmel Market, is known for its plentiful range of colorful produce, artisanal dairy products and even designer clothing. For a truly ‘local’ experience, head to Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda on Friday, as crowds scurry from stall to stall in preparation for the Sabbath. The Netanya market was originally established by Tunisian and Libyan immigrants in the 1950s, famous to this day for its spice shops and Tripoli-style restaurants.

Photo by Gilad Kavalerchik

Stroll the Streets for an Authentic Taste

To understand the unique history behind the country and its people, head to the streets for an overwhelming culinary experience. From Iraqi breakfast sandwiches drizzled with mango chutney (sabich) to melt-in-your-mouth Eastern European desserts (rugelach), a tour of Israel’s streets offers a cultural glimpse into the communities that have shaped the country. And, of course, no visitors to Israel can leave until they’ve indulged in a piping hot falafel or shawarma.

Photo by Dana Friedlander

Feel at Home with Local Hospitality

The ancient tradition of opening up one’s home to travelers goes back to Biblical times and remains an important part of Israel’s culture today. Several organizations now make it possible for visitors of all religious backgrounds to join locals for a truly authentic experience as they celebrate the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Considered the focal meal of the week, the post-sundown Friday dinner brings families together and is celebrated throughout the country.  Tourists can experience this truly authentic tradition while meeting locals and indulging in home-cooked Israeli food.

Photo by Shabbat of a Lifetime

Experience the Rising Haut Cuisine Scene

In addition to the open-air markets and bustling street stalls throughout Israel, a new generation of fine dining establishments are popping up in the country’s top cities. In Tel Aviv, the country’s cultural hub, award-winning restaurants and chefs offer first-class cuisine, influenced by culinary trends and traditions from around the world.  Like most port cities, many of Tel Aviv’s top restaurants range in style from fusion bistros to Mediterranean fare, with often breathtaking views of the sea or Tel Aviv skyline. In Jerusalem, many gourmet restaurants are accommodated in heritage buildings, museums and even in the midst of bustling markets. Some of the most popular upscale restaurants today build their menus around daily local produce delivered straight to their kitchens from organic farms.

Photo by Kosher90210, Instagram.com\kosher90210

Escape to the Vineyards

There’s nothing new about wine in Israel - where production occurred more than 2,000 years before the vine even reached Europe. The past few decades have seen a major overhaul of the industry as Israeli wineries have brought experts from around the world to test varietals throughout the country’s diverse climates. From frost-bitten grapes in the snowy Golan Heights to cutting-edge irrigation technology in the Negev Desert, Israel offers a diverse and exciting collection of wines and opportunities to visit the vineyards themselves. With roughly 300 wineries (in a country about the size of New Jersey!), Israel has captured the attention of wine connoisseurs worldwide.

Photo by Dana Friedlander

Journey through Trendy Neighborhoods

Some of the oldest neighborhoods in Israel have recently been revived, merging the old with the new and creating new pockets of hip, trendy restaurants and cafes. Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world, has seen a recent surge of contemporary art galleries and trendy food vendors throughout its ancient alleyways and famed flea markets. Once a German colony, Sarona has become a high-end indoor culinary market and the new heart of Tel Aviv, hosting the country’s top art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. In Jerusalem, some of the trendiest eats can be found around the Ben Yehuda Street bar scene, where night owls finish the evening with giant waffles, pizza and, of course, falafel.

Photo by Guy Yechiely


Pease visit our website Israel.Travel to learn more about our delicious destination.

 

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