What and where to eat in Israel: Traditional cuisine

Israel is a very special country. It is well-known for many reasons, one of them is its delicious typical food, influenced by other styles of cuisine, such as Jewish and Mediterranean. Although there are many typical dishes, I will show you next the most outstanding ones that you cannot stop trying on your way visit to the country. In addition, if you have a low budget, I am going to recommend you several restaurants where to eat in Israel at a very affordable price. So, let’s go there with this post about what and where to eat in Israel at the best price.

  • HUMMUS

Mainly made out of chickpeas and tahini, I would say that it is the most famous Israeli dish and the one that most people want to try during their visit. From all the places where I had the opportunity to taste it, I would especially recommend the following two:

    • THE HOUSE OF HUMMUS (TEL-AVIV)

"HUMMUS OF THE HOUSE", in The House of Hummus (Tel-Aviv)
MENU of The House of Hummus (Tel-Aviv)

This hummus has been awarded as the “Second best hummus of Israel”. Yes, you are reading correctly. This place has received such mention and the truth is that it is totally deserved. AMAZING hummus. In addition to being delicious, the portion is very fulfilling, one of those that force you to unbutton your pants. Although we opted for the dish called “Hummus of the house”, they have other options, as shown on their menu.

As we were told, in most of the restaurants in Israel, hummus is served accompanied by 2 pitta breads and vegetables (onion, tomato and pickles). This means more food and more food means more happiness, YAYYY! Well, for all this we paid only €7, very cheap considering the quantity and the quality. For all these reasons is why I think that it is a great restaurant where to eat in Israel. Highly recommended!

    • BEN SIRA HUMMUS (JERUSALEM)

Without getting too far away from the Old City (where the food is much more expensive), there is an establishment full of local people (good sign), where we ate sooooo good. In fact, I could not say which hummus was better, if the previous one, or this one.

On their menu, which I will share below, two options are offered: hummus directly in pitta bread and hummus in a plate. My recommendation is to choose the one in a plate. Why? Because in that way you can rationalize it as you want and in addition, it is accompanied by two pieces of pitta bread, vegetables and falafel (another of Israel’s most famous dishes, which I will talk about below).

CAULIFLOWER HUMMUS IN A PLATE, in Ben Sira Hummus (Jerusalem)
MENU of Ben Sira Hummus (Jerusalem)

As you can read on the menu, the “Cauliflower Hummus” dish, accompanied by 2 Pita breads, 3 falafel balls and vegetables, cost us only €8’40 per person. Yes, this restaurant where to eat in Israel is a true must if you visit Jerusalem! We cannot be happier to have tried one of the most typical dishes there.

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  • FALAFEL

    • FALAFEL HAZKEMIN (HAIFA)

Continuing with this article about what and where to eat in Israel, it is the turn of falafel, another of the most famous dishes of the Israeli cuisine. In addition to being very yummy and a great vegan option, it is usually the cheapest and easiest alternative to find around the country.

From all the ones we tried (which are quite a lot, since we were on savings mode), the best was the one we ate at an establishment called Falafel Hazkenim (in Haifa), for only €4,5.

FALAFEL, en Falafel Hazkemin (Haifa)
  • SHAKSHUKA

    • BASMA COFFEE (TEL-AVIV)

There are many different ways to make this typical Middle Eastern dish, but, generally, it is made out of eggs in a tomato sauce, chili peppers and onions. Its delicious flavor is due to the many spices that are used when cooking it.

Undoubtedly, after having the opportunity to try it a couple of times, the one we enjoyed the most was the first we ordered. In fact, it was the first typical dish we tried when landing in the country. That day coincided with the Shabbat festivity (period during which most stores are closed) and just this establishment and a few more were opened at the time in Tel-Aviv.

SHAKSHUKA in Basma Coffee (Tel-Aviv)

About the price, this dish full of flavor costs €12. I think that it’s the highest price we paid for a meal, but considering that it was Shabbat (when you do not have many options of places where to eat) and how good it tested, it was totally worth it.

  • HALVA

    • CARMEL MARKET (TEL-AVIV)

Another of the products that you cannot stop trying when in Israel is Halva. It is a typical sweet with a very similar texture to that of soft nougat and from which there is a wide variety of possible flavors to choose from.

My friend Sandra and I tried two pieces of Halva at the Carmel market in Tel-Aviv. There, besides finding a huge variety of flavors of this sweet, many other types of food are offered at the different street food stalls. 

According to the price, it depends on the weight. So, if you do not want to run out of cash in a matter of seconds, you’d better go there with not so much appetite.

Different types of HALVA offered in Carmel's Market (Tel-Aviv)
  • RUGELACH

Firstly, it may look like a common croissant, but no. This Jew sweet of Polish origin and one of the most typical of the Israeli gastronomy, is full of chocolate in the many layers of its interior. A real bomb for the palate, which can be found in most Israeli bakeries and supermarkets. Even so, I recommend trying it in bakeries, since the quality is much higher than that of supermarkets.

    • ENGLISH CAKE (JERUSALEM)

The three nights we slept in Jerusalem were in a hostel called Stay Inn (super recommended). A few meters away from it, in the same street, this artisan bakery is located. It is very easy to identify because of  the smell of its products that have just been baked and which said: “Eat me. Eat me.” 

Among the diversity of sweets they offer, one of them is the famous Rugelach. After trying it, I would say that it is a good place where to buy and enjoy it. After finishing it, you even want to lick your fingers (the same happens with its delicious Cinnamon Roll).

RUGELACH from English Cake bakery (Jerusalem)

One Rugelach and one Cinnamon Roll cost €2 (the price depends on the weight). I highly recommend you ask to have them warmed up, so that the cinnamon roll dough gets even softer and the Rugelach chocolate melts.

Israel’s tap water is drinkable and all locals must serve it for free. So, do not forget to ask for it, besides taking your water bottle with you on the trip.

I hope I  have given you useful information in this article about where to eat in Israel for low-budget travelers. Do not hesitate to leave your questions in comments, as well as information about other places/restaurants that you have already tried and that you recommend, in case you have already been in Israel before. Both other possible travelers who read this post and myself, are going to appreciate it for sure.

Moreover, if you have read this post, I guess that it is because you like to enjoy food wherever you go. I encourage you too to follow @thisisfoodieness on Instagram, where I publish the locals and dishes that I recommend the most from the places I visit. As we say in Spain: “Sharing is living!”.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE UP TO DATE ON ALL MY TRIPS? IF SO, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM (@thisislorens) AND FACEBOOK (Travel with Lorens). TOGETHER WILL BE MORE FUN!

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