A Summary of the Top Ten Israeli Chefs & Restaurants Worldwide.
The popularity of Israeli food across the world has grown immensely, mostly thanks to a select few Israeli chefs who have conquered certain cities in the world, such as Ottolenghi in London, Admony in New York and Solomonov in Philadelphia. As the love of Israeli cuisine has grown around the world, some Israel-based chefs have successfully expanded abroad, while still maintaining their local restaurants in Israel. It is probably no coincidence that the most successful of these chefs are also TV celebrities, namely Israeli Chefs Assaf Granit, Meir Adoni and Eyal Shani.
I have only been lucky enough to eat at a few of these restaurants, so it would be impossible to rank these chefs in a specific order, so the list below is in alphabetical order by last name.
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, before moving to New York over 20 years ago, Chef Einat Admony owns a number of Israeli restaurants in and around New York, including:
- Balaboosta, a Middle Eastern fine dining restaurant in New York City.
- Taim, a chain of falafel stores with five branches in New York City and one in Washington DC.
Known for his attention to detail and creativity in flavors and presentation, Chef Meir Adoni has recently closed most of his Israel-based restaurants to focus on restaurants around the world which include:
- Nur, a high-end, modern Middle Eastern restaurant in New York City with a menu that is designed for sharing.
- Layla, a casual fine dining restaurant in Berlin, with a large bar and counter next to the open kitchen. The menu includes modern adaptions to traditional Middle Eastern and Jewish dishes.
- Samna, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant located in an 18th-century mansion in the historic area of Kiev. The beautifully designed restaurant features a copper bridge across the top of the bar area. The restaurant is currently closed.
- Silan, a Middle Eastern-themed tapas bar in Barcelona.
- Dvash, a kosher catering business in London with menus inspired by Chef Adoni’s restaurants around the world.
Adoni is due to open Aniba, a kosher restaurant in Singapore in early 2023 and Saba, a kosher restaurant in a boutique hotel Paphos in Cyrpus.
The chefs first became famous in Israel thanks to their restaurant Machneyuda near the food market in Jerusalem. Chef Assaf Granit became a celebrity chef by appearing as a judge in the TV show Game of Chefs.
As well as several locations in Israel, the MachneYuda Group has the following restaurants around the world:
- The Palomar in Central London has an interesting menu with many of the group’s signature dishes but the restaurant lacks atmosphere.
- The Barbary is a bistro located in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, with a Middle Eastern menu.
- Coal Office is a chef restaurant in Tom Dixon’s showroom in King’s Cross in London. The menu is incredibly creative, and the restaurant has great service and an energetic atmosphere!
- Balagan is a Middle Eastern-inspired bistro in Paris with meze-style sharing dishes.
- Shabour is a Michelin-star restaurant in Paris. Shabour and Balagan are currently closed due to issues with their investors.
- Tekés is a vegetarian restaurant located opposite Shabour in Paris.
- Sella is the group’s newest restaurant in St Barth.
- Berta is a restaurant and cocktail bar in Berlin.
- Joseph by Joseph Hadad is a contemporary fine dining restaurant with art deco décor.
- Mace by Joseph Hadad is a less formal restaurant with a Moroccan-inspired menu and a large terrace.
- CAJU by Joseph Hadad is a casual brasserie with Moroccan and Israeli-inspired food and a varied cocktail menu.
Chef Aviv Moshe has previously owned a number of restaurants in Israel, but currently is only the culinary advisor for a few places. His expansion abroad started with Exodus, a Mediterranean Israeli bistro in the heart of Berlin, and more are expected to follow.
Chef Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner Chef Sami Tamimi both grew up in Jerusalem and met while working for Israeli-owned Baker & Spice in London, before opening their first restaurant together in 2002. Since then, the duo has expanded to include six restaurants across London:
- Ottolenghi is a chain of delis and restaurants with branches in Spitalfields, Islington, Notting Hill and Belgravia. The branches in Notting Hill and Belgravia have very limited seating, but the other two branches have dine-in options, many of which are long shared tables.
- Rovi is a 90-seat vegetarian restaurant with a focus on fermentation and cooking over fire.
- Nopi is a chef restaurant in Soho that has a changing seasonal menu with fresh salads, as well as meat and fish.
The chefs have written several cookery books, including Jerusalem, Ottolenghi The Cookbook, Ottolenghi Simple, Nopi, Plenty, Plenty More, Sweet, and Flavour, and Sami Tamimi published Falastin in 2020.
These two Israeli chefs have been working together ever since they moved to London. They started at the Oxo Tower before moving to the Ottolenghi Group, where Packer was the Executive Chef of Nopi and Srulovich was Head Chef of Ottolenghi Belgravia. The couple now owns three restaurants in central London:
- Honey & Co. is their first restaurant and serves elevated versions of home-cooked Israeli food.
- Honey & Spice is a delicatessen opposite Honey & Co. The menu changes daily but always includes a selection of hot dishes, fresh salads, dips and baked goods for takeaway or eating at the tables outside. The store also stocks all the ingredients people need to make their recipes (spices, freekeh, kadaif).
- Honey & Smoke is a grill house serving Middle Eastern grilled meat, seafood and vegetables, along with salads, dips and falafel.
While most Israeli chefs focus on Israeli food in their restaurants worldwide, Chef Shahaf Shabtay has a love affair with Asian cuisine, which he combines with his classic French culinary training. Over the years he has opened and closed Zenzi in Mumbai and Nithan Thai in Berlin and Tel Aviv. He recently opened Pop & Pope restaurant in Tel Aviv with Giorgio Armani and still has the following restaurants abroad:
- SaSaZu is a luxury Asian restaurant in Prague in the heart of Holešovice Market. The menu focuses on shared dishes.
Famous in Israel for his love of tomatoes, his roast cauliflower signature dish, and for putting everything inside of pita bread, Chef Eyal Shani is also a TV personality and judge of MasterChef Israel. He owns a number of formal and informal restaurants all over Israel, all of which are listed in this post, Everything You Need to Know About Chef Eyal Shani Restaurants.
Here is a selection of Shani’s restaurants around the world:
- Miznon is a street food restaurant with branches in Vienna, Melbourne, Boston, and Singapore, as well as three branches in both New York City and Paris.
- Bella Restaurant by Eyal Shani in the Belle Plage Hotel in Cannes is a beachside restaurant.
- HaSalon NYC is a fine dining restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. The restaurant also includes Bar LEFT with small plate versions of the main menu.
- HaSalon Miami is a partnership with the owners of Carbone and ZZ’s Club.
- HaSalon Ibiza is a farm-to-table restaurant in the Six Senses Ibiza hotel in Xarraca Bay on the Spanish island of Ibiza. The restaurant is open from June to October.
- North Miznon is a cross between Miznon and North Abraxas with branches in New York City, Singapore, and Dubai.
- Seven North is a Middle Eastern restaurant in the 7th District of Vienna with a vibrant atmosphere and menu designed for sharing.
A full list of Shani’s restaurants around the world can be found here, Everything You Need to Know About Chef Eyal Shani Restaurants.
Born in Israel and raised in Pittsburgh, Chef Mike Solomonov is probably the most well-known Israeli chef in the US. He and his business partner Steven Cook are the co-owners of the CookNSolo restaurant group which includes several restaurants in Philadelphia:
- Zahav is an Israeli restaurant focusing on mezze, charcoal-cooked skewers and taboon-baked dishes.
- Dizengoff, a chain of hummus stalls.
- Goldie, a chain of kosher falafel stores.
- K’far is an Israeli-style all-day cafe and bakery.
- Merkaz is an Israeli street food restaurant serving Israeli breakfast, hummus and salads.
- Laser Wolf is an Israeli meat grill skewer house. There is also a branch of Laser Wolf on the rooftop of The Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in partnership with the Boka Restaurant Group.
Here is an interview with Chef Solomonov about his first restaurant Zahav:
Other Israeli Chefs Around The World
- Chef Gal Ben Moshe runs Prism in Berlin with his wife and partner Jacqueline Lorenz. The One Michelin Star fine dining restaurant combines classic European dishes with Middle Eastern flavors and ingredients.
- Chef Alon Shaya owns Saba in New Orleans, Safta in Denver, Miss River, and Chandelier Bar in the Four Seasons New Orleans. He is also the founder of Shaya Restaurant in New Orleans but is no longer affiliated with the restaurant.
- Uri Scheft’s Breads Bakery has three locations in New York City serving a selection of Israeli baked goods, including his famous Chocolate Babka. Breads Bakery is the sister restaurant of Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv.
- Chef Eran Tibi owns Bala Baya in South London. The restaurant serves traditional Israeli dishes with a modern twist.