Updated: September 2019 when Meatkitchen closed.
People are always asking me for my top ten favorites and I do believe there is no definitive list as it depends on the occasion, age, style of food and of course, most importantly, personal taste. Having said that I do like lists so why not write my own!
This list is based purely on my personal experience. The menu in some places varies seasonally so I have tried to recommend dishes that are consistently on the menu or a similar variation of the same dish. There is a carnivorous focus to my suggestions as that is my personal preference when eating out, but where it is relevant I have included the link to a full review so you can find more suggestions.
- Jacko’s Street, Jerusalem
It will be no surprise to anybody that knows me personally or follows this blog that Jacko’s Street is my favorite restaurant in Israel (not just kosher ones) and will always be top on my list of recommendations. It is my go-to place for taking out-of-town guests and even those who don’t eat kosher are impressed by the creativity of the menu and energetic atmosphere in the restaurant – it epitomizes the expression “fun-dining”.
The menu is a Middle Eastern fusion, with many dishes offering an elevated version of traditional home-style recipes. My favorite starters are the Moroccan Cigars and Sea Fish Tataki, and for mains, I normally order the Gourmet Burger, the Charred Steak or the Prime Rib, if I have a willing partner to share. After 9 pm the music is lively so if that is not what you are looking for, either go early or find somewhere else.
- West Side, Royal Beach Tel Aviv
The food and service at West Side are probably the best in Tel Aviv and although the hotel setting reduces the ambiance, it is the perfect setting for a business or more formal meal.
The varied and creative menu offers classic Mediterranean food with some Middle Eastern twists. Be sure to whet your appetite with either the Brioche with schug or the Jerusalem Bagel with tahina and tomato. For starters, the Grouper & Cucumber Tartare, Mushroom & Chestnut Risotto, Lamb & Pine Nut Katayef and Red Tuna Pizza are all delicious but my favorite is the Goose Liver Pate which is rich and creamy with Amarena cherries and toasted brioche as the perfect accompaniment.
For the main course, the Salmon and Grouper Fillet are both very tasty but for me, nothing beats the Beef Fillet served with a creamy mash, topped with a perfect amount of truffle sauce, bok choy and an enormous piece of bone marrow is an indulgent treat.
The desserts are beautifully presented and perfect for sharing. West Side is the perfect restaurant for those looking for an exquisite meal with fabulous service.
- La Regence, King David Hotel, Jerusalem
The style of the menu is European with an Israeli twist. Signature dishes include the Tomato Leather filled with Sea Fish Salad and the Chicken Consommé to start, Roasted Duck confit with Black Garlic for main and the Chocolate & Olive Oil is an extraordinary dessert. At a cost of 380 NIS per guest, it is probably a place for a special occasion for most people, although you can order from the regular menu. The style and ambiance of the restaurant is very formal and slightly old-fashioned.
- Rooftop, Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem
For the ultimate “Jerusalem” setting, Rooftop Restaurant, Mamilla Hotel is a must. The view over the Old City is incomparable and the menu is always fresh and interesting with mostly Mediterranean dishes with a Middle Eastern influence.
I love the Iron-Rich Herb Salad, Duck in a Blanket and Grouper Shawarma starters. For main I cannot resist the Entrecote as it is one of my favorites in Jerusalem, but the Lamb Chops and the Bass are also great dishes. The service is slightly hit or miss but the view and quality of the food make it worthwhile.
- Herbert Samuel, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Herzliya Pituach
I tend to start with a light raw dish like the Red Tuna Crudo, Salmon or Beef Tartare. The Tomato Salad is the Herbert Samuel signature dish and very popular. If you are dining with a fellow carnivore then I recommend ordering the Beef Chateau or the Prime Rib as they are both great options for a minimum of 2 diners. The fish dishes are also delicious, especially the salmon and grouper. All the chocolate related desserts are always incredible and worth saving room for. There is also a very impressive wine menu and the wine fridges line the length of the restaurant.
- Gillis Steak House, Moshav Nov
Although Gillis is not a real restaurant, the food is so good it still qualifies for this list. Gillis Steak House is only open on a Thursday night, the rest of the time it is a cattle farm and butcher.
The menu is simple – meat! For those looking for a full experience, I recommend going all out and getting the Just Beef tasting menu at NIS 238 per person. Having had the tasting menu a few times, I always order the Beef Fillet as it is always perfectly cooked and so soft and flavorful.
The most unique aspect about the place is that the cooks are actually the farm workers, who just know how to cook the meat well and honor its true flavor – there are no special sauces or fancy plating, just delicious well-cooked high-quality beef. The service is incredibly warm and the Gillis family personally host all their guests.
- Malka, Tel Aviv
Malka is Chef Eyal Shani‘s first kosher restaurant, with the same rustic style of all his other restaurants. Shani is great at making the vegetable the hero of the dish, with starters including A Bag of Green Beans, Zucchini Baby Lollies and Lima Beans. The main courses are elevated street-food dishes like Schnitzel filled with mashed potatoes, Minute Steak on a bed of tahina and Chicken in a Coffee.
Most of the food is designed for sharing and served on brown paper. Having eaten in a number of his non-kosher restaurants, I can safely say that the quality of the food is the same and I hope Shani will open more kosher restaurants for everyone to enjoy.
- Muza Bahar, Shoresh
Day or night, Muza Bahar is a scenic way to enjoy a very good meal. The Duck Fillet is a clear winner in the starters. The duck is well cooked and it is served with caramelized apples and a Calvados foam, which perfectly complement the flavors of the duck.
For main, I normally order the Cote de Boeuf (500g Rib Eye), which is a serious piece of meat but it is well aged and the bone marrow accompaniment makes it even more indulgent. The Trio of Mini Burgers are also very interesting and the Salmon Fillet is a great alternative for non-meat eaters.
The desserts are all beautifully presented but the Deconstructed Lemon Pie was the most interesting and least parev tasting of them all.
- Minato, Herzliya Pituach
Possibly one of the best sushi restaurants in Israel, the quality of the ingredients and the precise of the preparation is what distinguishes Minato from most sushi places in Israel. The menu also includes some delicious cooked dishes like Agedashi Tofu, Katsu Chicken and Minato Yakiniku (entrecote with a mild mirin sauce).
The design of the restaurant and the dishes used are beautiful and add to the dining experience. The only downside is that the restaurant is on the small side so space is limited.
Minato, 8 Ha’menofim St., Herzliya Pituach, 09 773 1703
- 5th Avenue, Eilat
Beautifully presented food, great raw ingredients and rich and flavorful dishes. 5th Avenue became kosher in February 2018 and the menu was designed by Chef Aviv Moshe of Messa and Quattro in Tel Aviv. Delicious starters include beef empanadas, salmon tartar and goose liver mille-feuille. For the main course, indulge yourselves with beef fillet and truffle mash, or the tortellini of veal cheek served with a goose liver and teriyaki sauce. The desserts are worth saving room for, especially the creme brulee semi fredo and the textures of chocolate.
Other great kosher restaurants include:
- 1868 in Jerusalem
- Blue Sky by Meir Adoni, Yakimono and Chloelys in Tel Aviv
- Pescado fish restaurant in Ashdod (full review here)
- Beresheet and Cramim hotel restaurants.
Although I find hotel restaurants often lack atmosphere, the fact that they cater to tourists often means the standard of food and service are better.
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