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Top 15 Israeli Chef Restaurants

Although Israel may not be the first place that pops into your head when you think of good food the small country does have some outstanding chefs and restaurants. In fact in 2015 four Israeli restaurants made it onto La Liste, the annual list of the world’s top 1,000 restaurants published by the French Foreign Ministry. With its diverse melting pot of immigrants and cultures plus the readily available fresh produce it is no surprise that Israel has a thriving restaurant industry.
, Written by Your Way Team
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1. Manta Ray, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)
This beachfront restaurant was one of those on La Liste, its unique Middle Eastern kitchen produced seafood and fish dishes are under the watchful eye of Chef Romen Skinezis.

2. Herbert Samuel, Herzlia (Kosher)
One of the La Liste restaurants here Chef Johathan Roshfeld prepares the food. Roshfeld is a judge on Israel’s Master Chef and a colorful character. The chef is passionate about food and his fine dining cuisine is prepared in an open kitchen. The Mediterranean menu features fish, meat and vegetable dishes all with Roshfeld’s unique twist and often an Asian or Indian touch. There are many fish dishes like Peruvian salmon tartar with togarashi crispy bean noodles, chili sauce and cilantro. Dishes to try include chopped entrecote or beef chateau.


3. MachneYuda, Jerusalem (non-Kosher)
This great restaurant is in the Machne Yehuda market where they source their fresh local ingredients. The geniuses behind this restaurant are Chef Uri Navon; Yossi ‘Pappy’ Elad and Assaf Granite, a celebrity chef and judge on the Israeli Game of Chefs. The dishes have influences from around the world, mixing techniques and techniques from different cultures like the Mexican Amberjack sashimi with Mojito Vinaigrette, lime and onion. This is definitely one of the top 5 restaurants in the country.


4. Helena BaNamal, Caesarea (non-Kosher)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               This restaurant has a unique setting in the ancient Roman sea port. The menu is modern Israeli created by Chef Amos Sion who previously worked with top chefs like Schein, Roshfeld and Komorovsky. The kitchen uses local raw ingredients, meats, seafoods, seasonal plants and local wild plants. There are many inventive variations on classic Israeli dishes like shawama as well as classic international dishes. End your meal with an Arak sorbet.


5. Gouje & Danielle, Tel Aviv (Kosher)
With a focus on natural raw ingredients you can sit on the balcony and look out over an orchid as you enjoy your food. The cuisine is French and Italian with touches of Mediterranean influence. The Yarsin brothers who run this place are also owners of successful Israeli chain restaurants Tony Vespa and Moses.


6. Ha’Salon, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)
At the head of this restaurant is another master Chef judge, the charismatic Eyal Shani known for his dramatic and emotive descriptions of food. He focuses on fresh, quality ingredients and aims for a balance of texture, smell and taste in his dishes. The dishes are described poetically on the menu and presented as a work of art. Shani also owns other restaurants including the celebrated North Abraxas.


7. Catit, Tel Aviv (Kosher)
The celebrity chef running this restaurant is Meir Adoni, a judge on the Israeli Game of Chefs and owner of three other restaurants Lumina, Mizlala and Blue Sky. This is an intimate eatery with just 22 places and the food is exclusive, precise, artistic and minimalistic. The food is inspired by Moroccan cuisine but combined with culinary traditional from across the globe. Dishes are modern and westernized yet with roots in traditional eastern cuisine.

8. Jaffa-TLV, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)

This restaurant is owned by yet another Master Chef judge, Haim Cohen who is inspired by comfort food and the concept of food bringing people together. The food is Italian in nature but leans on Cohen’s Ashkenazi roots and love of Israeli cuisine. If you’re really hungrey this restaurant is a great choice as you can order dishes like entrecote by weight. 

9. Aria, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)
For contemporary cuisine drawing on many culinary traditions this is fine dining with a focus on seasonal and raw ingredients. The ever changing bistro menu features dishes like ceviches and handmade pasta. Aria is run by celebrity Chef Guy Gamzo and has an innovative menu using elements of the Asian kitchen to create unique fusion dishes. Housed in a historic building there is a restaurant upstairs and a lounge bar down stairs.


10. Raphael, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)

Running this restaurant in the David Tower Hotel is Chef Raffi Cohen whose food is influenced by his Moroccan heritage, the Turkish and Kurdish neighbors he had growing up and his love of French cuisine. His culinary career started at the age of 13 when he began working as an apprentice pastry chef at the King David Hotel. The kitchen turns out authentic gourmet fusion dishes.  

11. Messa, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)
At Messa the food is prepared by famous Chef Aviv Moshe. The restaurant oozes NYC style with completely white décor and a black bar. The haute cuisine is created by Chef Moshe with raw ingredients and a blend of Provencal techniques and skills learnt in his mother’s kitchen. The restaurant has been visited by several international celebs.


12. Eucalyptus, Jerusalem (Kosher)
Chef Moshe Basson runs this restaurant which is known worldwide for its modern interpretations of Biblical cuisine. Inspired by the local plants and herbs his dishes use natural ingredients like hyssop and meloukhia. The menu is ever-changing to include seasonal ingredients which the chef often forages in the Judean Hills. The location, in a historic house overlooking the walls of the Old City adds to the dining experience.


13. Popina, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)
In the picturesque historic neighborhood of Neve Tzedek this restaurant has Chef Orel Kimchi at the helm. The award winning chef creates masterpieces using quality seafood for the restaurant’s unique menu. The menu has five sections each devoted to a different cooking techniques used to prepare the dishes – cured, baked, seared, slow cooked and steamed. For the “Popina” experience it is recommended to choose dishes from each of the different sections of the menu.

14. Claro, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)

Located in the beautifully restored Templar settlement in the heart of Tel Aviv where there is a farmers market, this restaurant is run by Chef Ran Shmueli, The emphasis is on local produce, creative ingredients and an open-kitchen to add to the experience. Here you can taste fresh fish, handmade pasta and bread baked in the tabun brick oven. The philosophy behind the menu is “farm to table”. 

15. Pronto, Tel Aviv (non-Kosher)
One of the country’s finest young chefs, Chef David Frankel runs this Italian restaurant. Frankel is known for his attention to detail and interesting flavor combinations using homemade pasta, seasonal ingredients which bring a new dimension to Italian food. The menu features a lot of excellent seafood dishes like blue crab tagliatelle and gourmet ingredients like truffles.

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