A Roundup of Israel Restaurant Openings in 2021.
It is hard enough for locals to keep track of the ever-changing Israeli restaurant scene but for tourists who have barely been allowed to visit for the last two years, it is near impossible. Friends and family who are finally able to visit have asked me for thoughts and recommendations of new places that have opened since their last visit. So I thought it would be helpful for me to share information on the new restaurants that have opened over the year around Israel, and my reviews of those I have been lucky enough to try.
It is my goal to try as many new restaurants as possible, but there are still some I have not been to. This includes all the most interesting restaurant openings for 2021 and I hope it is clear which ones I have been to personally and can recommend.
Here is a list of the most interesting restaurant openings in Israel for 2021:
- ‘a’ (Not Kosher) is a concept restaurant by Chef Yuval Ben Neriah and Taizu group inside Azrieli Sarona Tower in Tel Aviv. I have received very positive reviews from a reliable source but it is fully booked months in advance.
- Alexander (Dairy not supervised) is a boutique French-style bakery in Tel Aviv. I have tried a few of the pastries at Alexander, which were all delicious and I met the chef himself who was lovely.
Baker Saloon (Kosher) is a cocktail bar in Petah Tikva from the owner of Dreamerie Bakery. The menu includes bar food dishes such as fish cigars, fish & chips, tuna tataki, and mushrooms filled with polenta.
- Bingo Burger (Not Kosher) is a burger restaurant overlooking Gordon Beach in Tel Aviv by Chef Guy Gamzo of NuNuNu.
- Black Iron (Kosher) is a steakhouse bar with a menu focused on Wagyu beef with a few grilled chicken, fish, and vegetable options to go with it. The steaks were juicy and flavorful, especially the fillet, entrecote and rump steak. I would like to see more vegetable side dishes and a variety of sauces to accompany the steaks but the meat itself was very flavorful.
- Cafe Asif (Not Kosher) is a cafe inside the Asif Culinary Institute in Tel Aviv. The cafe is run by the owners of Cafe Puaa and Shifra Deli.
- Capella (Not Kosher) is an exclusive bar in the Pop and Pope complex on the 14th floor of the Hagag Building in Tel Aviv.
- Cena (Not Kosher) is an Italian bar and restaurant in the Theodor by Brown Hotels on Herzl Street in Tel Aviv. The menu is by Chef Tomer Agay of Santa Katarina and much of the food is made in an Italian brick oven.
- Craft Restaurant (Mehadrin) is a pizza restaurant on Shlomtzion in Jerusalem from the owner of Craft Pizza. The sour-dough pizza is made in a wood-fired oven and interesting toppings include smoky beets, camembert & honey, and portobello mushroom & truffle oil. There is also a selection of side dishes and a cocktail menu.
- Darya Restaurant (Kosher) is a restaurant in the Hilton Tel Aviv by Chef Hillel Tavakuli of Animar restaurant. The menu is described as modern silk road cuisine, a fusion of the Far East and Mediterranean food. I have only been once but it was one of the best kosher meals I have ever had. The dishes were incredibly creative in their use of flavors and spices. Each dish was more delicious than the one before and I enjoyed every bite. The menu was so interesting, and I cannot wait to go back and try more from the incredible menu (more detailed review here.)
- FishKitchen (Kosher) is the dairy and fish sister of MeatKitchen in South Tel Aviv in place of Deca.
- Fringe (Kosher) is a dairy and fish restaurant on the ground floor of the Jerusalem Theater from the Talbiye group. The menu is varied and exciting with a mix of dishes from the Levant. Fringe is beautifully decorated but the location in the foyer of the Jerusalem Theater takes away from the ambiance. The food was all delicious and very creative.
- Gelato Variegato (Not Supervised) is an ice cream store on Azza in Jerusalem by the owner of Talbiye and Flora. My favorite flavors are lemon tart and Sicilian (roasted almond, mandarin, and pistachio).
- Machneyuda’s street food restaurant GG Kubala (Not Kosher) has opened a branch in Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. This is the group’s first restaurant in Tel Aviv. Kubala is a combination of Yemenite Kubaneh bread and Challa. I love the corned beef sandwich and the schnitzel Caesar salad and Wagyu burger are also delicious. They also serve the Machneyuda signature polenta.
- Golden Burger (Kosher) is a burger restaurant on Rehov Hillel in central Jerusalem from the Rothschild Group. The burgers are made from 100% entrecote steak and are served on a toasted brioche bun with a signature homemade sauce. The burgers were juicy and well-seasoned. The seared halves added a caramelized flavor and made it easier to eat. I have also tried it via Wolt and was very impressed at how well it was packaged to maintain the heat.
- Gracia Restaurant (Kosher) is an Italian restaurant in Mevaseret Zion by Chef Moshe Dvir. The menu focuses on Italian cuisine with Spanish and Galilean influences.
- Helena (Mehadrin) is a bar and restaurant in a historic building in Beit Shean with a modern menu focusing on meat dishes and a range of cocktails.
- Hudson Lilienblum (Not Kosher) is the little sister of Hudson Brasserie. This branch is less formal, and the menu includes some Hudson classics like the burger, roasted mushrooms and Caesar salad.
- Jonjoli (Mehadrin) is a Georgian dairy and fish restaurant in the business area of Herzliya Pituach with French and Italian influences.
- Lotte by Assaf Granit (Kosher) is a restaurant in the newly renovated Galei Kinneret Hotel featuring some of the chef’s signature dishes, using local Galilean produce. The setting of the hotel overlooking the Kinneret is stunning, and the design of the restaurant is beautiful. As with most of the group’s restaurants, there is a lively and fun atmosphere. While the food itself was good, the service was not. Overall, we had a nice dinner, but the meal lacked the wow factor that I have experienced in other Machneyuda restaurants in Jerusalem and London. I hope they get their act together as the place has a lot of potential.
- Matfuna Etzel Boya (Tzohar) is a meat restaurant in Moshav Ahisamakh near Lod. Matfuna is a special traditional way of slow-cooking meat in a fire pit. Meat cuts include Asado, chorizo, lamb shoulder, lamb neck, and more, all of which are served with a selection of salads, side dishes and soft drinks. The restaurant is only open on selected dates.
- Mitzle (Kosher) is a meat street food restaurant by Chef Avi Levy of Hamotzi on Yafo Street near Shuk Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem. As well as take-away, there is a large round bar to sit at, that surrounds the kitchen and grill. One of the signature dishes is a veal and lamb Turkish kebab.
- Chef Eyal Shani is finally expanding around Israel with a branch of Miznon (Not Kosher) in Moshav Bnei Dror near Netanya and the second one in Kiryat Anavim near Abu Ghosh.
- Naya Jerusalem (Kosher) is the Jerusalem branch of the Asian restaurant Naya in Beit Nekofa. The Jerusalem branch is for take–away and delivery, with a few tables to eat at the location.
- Nihon no-ba (Kosher) is a Japanese bar and restaurant in Petach Tikva by Chef Moshe Segev. The Segev Group has another restaurant by the same name in Hod Hasharon which is not kosher.
- Nomi (Not Kosher) is a modern restaurant in Kfar Monash near Netanya.
- Olé (Not Kosher) is a restaurant in the Selina hotel in Neve Tzedek, in Tel Aviv, by reality star Chef Oren Asido. The menu focuses on Mediterranean food with a nod to his Spanish Moroccan roots.
- Palomino Italian Lounge (Kosher) is an Italian restaurant on King George in Jerusalem with a fish and dairy menu. Overall I really enjoyed the meal, especially the seared tuna and the fennel and zucchini salad. The service was not good and I was disappointed by the cocktails and chocolate tart, both of which were overly sweet.
- Pereh (Not Kosher) is a restaurant on Nahalat Binyamin by Aviad Peled and Uri Steinberg (who previously worked at the Montefiore Hotel).
- Pop & Pope Bakery (Not Kosher) is in the lobby of the Ha’arbaa Towers in Tel Aviv. The European-style cafe serves a selection of sweet and savory pastries, as well as sandwiches by Chef Shahaf Shabtai.
- Rachel Basdera (Kosher) opened a branch in Sarona Market in Tel Aviv serving Rachel’s signature sandwiches topped with sticky tahina and silan.
- Rouge (Not Kosher) is a restaurant in the boutique Pereh Hotel in the Golan, by Chef Roee Dori, formerly of Mashya and L28. The menu uses local ingredients and varies from breakfast to dinner.
- Sahara Palace (Not Kosher) is an Arabic Galilean restaurant in Kfar Nin near Afula from Chef Nashat Abbas of El Barbur in Akko. The restaurant focuses on local ingredients and Arabic cooking methods.
- Sama (Not Kosher) is a rooftop restaurant in the Old City of Akko by Chef Hmodi Okala . The menu focuses on traditional Arab fish and seafood dishes.
- Sphera Kitchen & Bar (Kosher) is a meat restaurant in the Colonia Event Resort in Rehovot, near the Science Park. The restaurant is headed by Chef Beni Madar.
- Sumac (Kosher) is a meat chef restaurant in Villa Galilee boutique hotel in Tzfat. The restaurant is run by Chef Daniel Shalit, a graduate of Game of Chefs, with a focus on Galilee dishes and ingredients.
- Sun Young (Not Kosher) is an Asian restaurant in the new Ink Hotel in Tel Aviv both of which are owned by the Kisu group (Fu Sushi, Kisu and Ni Shi). The restaurant features a full sushi menu and an Asian fish, seafood and meat menu.
Sybaris Coffee (Dairy not supervised) is a coffee bar on Azza that lives and breathes good coffee. I loved the cold brew coffee and the pastries and cakes change daily but everything I have tried so far was delicious. For bonus points, the cups and straws are compostable!
- Talbiye Patisserie (Kosher) is a cafe inside the Jerusalem Theater, from the owner of Talbiye. I am surprised they are allowed to use the same name for a kosher and non-kosher restaurant that are next to each other. I can imagine it will cause a lot of confusion.
- Tirza (Not Kosher) is a wine bar in Tel Aviv by Chef Raz Rahav of tasting menu restaurant OCD.
- Umai (Not Kosher) is a Japanese restaurant in Yaffo run by Chef Alex Abramov who worked in Japan for six years. The menu includes various Wagyu beef and raw fish dishes, but not sushi.
- Weiss Restaurant (Not Kosher) is a brasserie in Tel Aviv, housed in a historic and spectacular building from 1909, just off Rothschild Boulevard. I enjoyed a meal there in the summer, sitting in the outside courtyard. Each dish was presented beautifully and everything on the plate added to the flavor. The setting was very relaxing and the wait staff was helpful and well informed.
- Yauza (Not Kosher) is an Asian restaurant in Tel Aviv in the same building as Serafina, by the same owners. The menu includes various Asian starters and main courses, and a separate sushi menu.
- ZOKO by Izidor Segal (Tzohar) is a smoked meat restaurant in Kiryat Ono. It was originally opened as a pop-up but is now a permanent fixture.
- Zus (Not Kosher) is a Mediterranean restaurant from the Tatami group with Greek influences. The restaurant also includes a cocktail bar and live DJ.
- Zuza Patisserie (Dairy not supervised) in Kibbutz Kinneret is a cafe and bakery serving sweet and savory baked goods and sandwiches. I was there on a very rainy day and just got some bread to takeaway but it was very fresh and the cakes looked delicious.
If you try any of these restaurants, please share your feedback on Restaurant Club Israel or Restaurant Club Jerusalem. Follow Debbest on Facebook, Instagram and subscribe to this newsletter to receive regular updates on the Foodie Israel scene.
Categories: Year Roundup