Points Summary

The Various Eats in Israel


There is so much to eat in Israel that I could not imbibe it all and the main cuisine is Mediterranean food. Aside from the fact that breakfast was included in most of our hotels, it was tough to try and taste everything but hopefully you will get a glimpse of the various eats in Israel.

We started off in Bethlehem after having breakfast at the Sheraton Tel Aviv. There are many narrow side streets filled with food vendors near Manger Square across from the Church of the Nativity.

I was trying to look for a great place to eat in Manger Square when a shopkeeper invited us inside for some hot mint tea. It’s definitely rude to refuse a drink in Palestine and Arabic culture and happily imbibed.

The mint tea was so good that after leaving, I was in search for a vendor who was selling that drink. I stumbled across a restaurant in Manger Square called the Bethlehem Peace Center Restaurant and was delighted that mint tea was offered. Since it was a hot day, I ordered the ice blended version.

We decided to have lunch and ordered a Mediterranean salad with hummus and pita chips as an appetizer.

We ordered two entrees which were 1) lamb, rice, and soup 2) chicken with grilled onions over pita bread.

The meal was fantastic and gave us a glimpse of Mediterranean food infused with Arabic cuisine. I highly recommend dining at the Bethlehem Peace Center Restaurant which is listed in Tripadvisor as the number one restaurant in Bethlehem and gives it a 4 and a half star rating.

For dinner, it was tough finding restaurants open late since we were still jet-lagged. We walked around Bethlehem late at night to find a small hole in the wall hookah bar that also served food. We had chicken pizza which was literally chicken and cheese over pita bread. The chicken pizza also came with a small Mediterranean salad which was really good. For the second entree, I ordered a chicken quesadilla with fries and Mediterranean salad.

I know what you’re thinking about eating pizza and quesadillas in the Middle East. It was late and practically nothing was open except for this one restaurant within walking distance of the Intercontinental Bethlehem hotel.

In Old City Jerusalem, you can find great shopping at the Kaloti Oriental Bazaar. Think of this place as the Spice Market or Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. With the many small passageways, the Kaloti Oriental Bazaar felt like a labyrinth of vendors trying to sell you local delight, spices, and treats.

Outside of Old City Jersualem near the Jaffa Gate, you can find various vendors selling fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and hot steamed corn on the cob.

In Ein Bokek, which is also known as the Dead Sea hotel circuit, the food was very limited in selection aside from eating at the hotel. The only two places that I could find were the Mc Donalds and Aroma Cafe and chose the latter. Be sure to ask for an English menu at Aroma Cafe since entire menu board is in Hebrew. I had the vegetable barley soup and a roast beef sandwich that came in a whole wheat pita bread.

At the Negev Camel Ranch, the owners provided us with hot desert mint tea which was absolutely delicious.

After leaving the Negev Desert, it was tough looking for food because it was the day of Shabbat. In Hebrew, Shabbat means the Jewish day of rest and mostly if not, all the restaurants and shops close except for those in the touristy areas of Tel Aviv. Luckily, we found a restaurant called Netahim that was open located in the own of Yad Mordechai near the Gaza Strip border in Southern Israel. We ordered a Mediterranean salad, margherita pizza, chicken pasta, and washed it down with an iced cold mint tea drink.

We arrived in Tel Aviv on our last night and wanted to experience a top restaurant that was highly rated so we decided on Goocha based on Tripadvisor ratings of 4 and a half stars with rave reviews.

I ordered the seafood medley which was delicious and I highly recommend sitting at the patio since you can people watch on the famous Dizengoff Street while dining.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of things to eat in Israel, but it was such a short trip that we didn’t have time to try everything out. Next time, I definitely want to try the street food in Bethlehem and more Arabic food. I didn’t get a chance to explore much of Tel Aviv and the restaurant scene, but I’ll save that for next time when I visit Israel.

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