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 menu combines modern dishes like Hamachi Sashimi and Pani puri with smoked eel, with more traditional dishes like eggplant carpaccio and oxtail hummus.
- 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.
- Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort near Thessaloniki in Greece offers kosher catering by Meri Adoni for breakfast and dinner during the summer season.
Adoni is due to open a kosher restaurant in a hotel in Dubai and a non-kosher restaurant also in Dubai.
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 appearing as a judge in the TV show Game of Chefs.
As well as eight locations in Israel, the MachneYuda Group have the following restaurants in Europe:
- 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 the group’s second restaurant in Paris which recently earned its first Michelin star. The restaurant’s menu features dishes like haminados eggs with caviar and lobster and squid risotto.
- 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, most famously Messa and Quattro. He recently left Messa and the Italian Quattro was replaced with Asian Makoto. His expansion abroad has started with Exodus, a Mediterranean Israeli bistro in the heart of Berlin. It is expected that more will 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 own 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:
- Mess in Shanghai merges Middle Eastern, European and Asia culture and cuisine and is co-owned by Chef Shabtay and Chef Eliran Gavriel. While most dishes on the menu are Asian, many include Middle Eastern ingredients such as tahina, kadaif and shakshuka.
- 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. In Tel Aviv, he owns HaSalon, Port Said, Romano, North Abraxas and Malka (kosher) restaurants. His street food chain Miznon has several branches in Tel Aviv and recently opened its first branch outside of Tel Aviv with more due to follow.
The following are Shani’s restaurants around the world:
- Miznon is a street food restaurant with branches in Vienna, Melbourne, and Singapore, as well as three branches in New York City and Paris. The Paris branch is not supervised as kosher but serves kosher meat and wine and no dairy or shellfish.
- HaSalon 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 Ibiza is a farm-to-table restaurant in the Six Senses Ibiza hotel in Xarraca Bay on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
- North Miznon is a cross between Miznon and North Abraxas in the Upper West Side of New York City.
- Seven North is a Middle Eastern restaurant in the 7th District of Vienna with a vibrant atmosphere and menu designed for sharing.
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, 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, an Israeli-style all-day cafe and bakery.
- Merkaz, an Israeli street food restaurant serving Israeli breakfast, hummus and salads.
- Laser Wolf, an Israeli meat grill skewer house.
Solomonov and Cook also own other restaurants in Philadelphia that do not serve Israeli food (Abe Fisher & 10 branches of Federal Donuts). 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 and Safta in Denver. His new restaurant Miss River is due to open 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.
Categories: Top 10