26 of the Seventh Month 5768
OK. So, I wasn't exactly "tagged" for this meme. In fact, I wasn't "tagged" at all.
I stole it.
I know, I know. You're all thinking:
"Ya'aqov, really! If you have time to sit around, surf the Internet, and actually push your way into silly and annoying, little blogger games, then you REALLY need to get a life!"
But, I couldn't help myself. I had to put my 10 Ag. worth into this crucial question of the Top 5 Five Restaurants in my area. It originally read:
Add a direct link to the post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include city/state and country that you're in.
K'far Tapu'ah, Shomron, Israel
List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.
I'm going to stick with Jacob's lead on this, and list "...my top five favorite places to get food from, not necessarily restaurants." I don't think I going to stick with just five, either. Oh, and, I'm not going to limit myself to one tiny location which is closer to Jordan than the Mediterranean Sea, either. Although most of my entries come from Jerusalem. Oh, yeah, and I'm going to categorize the entries. Hey, I stole it, right? I can play this however I want.
I am not going to tag anyone either. If you are interested in participating by listing your own favorites, and/or debating mine, make sure to leave a comment and link on this post. And, of course, in the self-promotional spirit of the Blogosphere, please DO link back to this post. (wink, grin) So far, only Batya has taken up the challenge.
Let's face it. There's just no such thing as "good pizza in Israel." It's all about the crust. [Native-born] Israelis just don't seem to know how make good pizza crust, unless it's by accident. I heard a rumor that one place actually DID make good crust, but since "Israelis" didn't like it, he had to stop making it.
Anyway, the least worst pizza in Israel comes from Big Apple Pizza (Jerusalem Rabbanut - Mehadrin) in the Center of town, Jerusalem, and Pizza Shai in Beis Yisroel (Eidah Haredis).
Sure, people rave about Dr. Pizza (Rav Rubin), Bar Ilan Pizza (Eidah Haredis) and Pepperolli's (Eidah Haredis). I've had them all, and they are all OK. But, my votes for the above stand.
In all fairness, people used to rave about Pizza Larry, near Har Nof, which I've never tried. But, I believe it has moved.
BY FAR, THE best shawarmah I've had in Israel has been from HaShawarmah (Rav Rubin) in the Shmu'el HaNavi neighborhood,...sort of. It's actually up on Golda Meir St., on the left before the Angels bakery. Both the turkey and the beef are good. I'm afraid I forgot if they have mutton, but if they do, then that's good, too. Their secret (not anymore) is that they don't over roast it. They then finish the cooking on the grill, according to order. It comes out very juicy this way.
Also worth mentioning is Hallo Teman (Rav Mahpud) which branches at the entrance to Jerusalem and at Coca-Cola Junction in B'nei Braq. In the spirit of "at your location," I will mention Baba Grill Bar in Ariel (Ariel Rabbinut, all mehadrin ingredients)
The best Yemenite restaurant could be found on the ground floor of the Tel-Aviv Central Bus Station. Don't laugh! If you look hard enough, you too, can find a treasure or two in this underrated bastion bargains. Unfortunately, the restaurant called HaTemani disappeared a couple of years ago. I may has found it again on Rothschild St. It has the same name, but I'll have to check if it is the same place.
An old standard for reasonably-priced, good Yemenite food is, of course, HaMervad HaQsamim (The Magic Carpet) on King George St. in Jerusalem.
OK. So, to be fair, I had better list the best traditional Ashkinazi food available. That would be Moshe Leiberbaum's (Eidah Haredis) on Shtrauss on the way to Kikar Shabbos in Jerusalem. I cannot recall this restaurant's real name. Everyone just calls it by the owner's name. All your favorites can be found here: Roast chicken, stuffed peppers, potato kugel, and [not necessarily] Ashkinazi salads. Try Moshe's chopped liver! This is a great place to go for Shabbos take out, when you're in a pinch, or even if you're not.
There are a lot of great bakeries in Israel. For mizrahi style, your best bet is in the HaTiqwah Neighborhood in Tel-Aviv. HaMervad HaQsamim (above) also makes their own saluf bread.
The best health/organic bakery is probably The Natural Choice (Belz) near Shuq Mahaneh Yehudah in Jerusalem.
The best "I can't believe they're not milkhig," gooey, chocolate, chocolate chip cookie in Israel is only one of the treats you will find at Habah (Agudas Yisroel), in Mahaneh Yehudah on Yaffo St. Both their separated, parve and dairy bakeries are worth a taste.
For the best "I can't believe they're not milkhig," fancy-shmancy items, go to the Belgian Bakery on KKL in the Sha'arei Hesed neighborhood of Jerusalem. Sorry to be stereotypical, but the Belgians really DO know their chocolate!
Last, but definitely not least, everyone always wants to know where the best Fallafel is in all of Israel. I have actually heard many claim that the best fallafel in Israel can be found in Qiriyath Shmemonah on the Lebanese border. I was only there once, and did not have fallafel, so I cannot say myself. What I have heard is that "green fallafel" is found more often in the north and in Lebanon, than down here in the center of the country, the are with which I am most familiar. "Green Fallafel," obtaining its green color and distinctive flavor from the extra parsley and coriander leaf (cilantro in Spanish and in the SW USA), is my favorite. The best green fallafel I have found is at Arba Ta'amim (Four Flavors) in B'nei Braq (Nahalath Yitzhaq* & B'nei Braq Rabbanut), with additional branches in Tel-Aviv. The other three flavors available are spicy, sesame seed, and regular.
Although I have eaten a great deal of fallafel in my life, I still do not consider my a conosuer. Fallafel King (Jerusalem Rabbanut - Mehadrin) on King George St. in Jerusalem, with its all-you-can-eat salads is not bad. But, I do look forward to YOUR recommendations!
Not mentioned here are the best ice cream in Israel, the best seafood in Israel, etc. Please let me know. The best coffee house in Israel probably deserves its own post. I'm always interested in new places in Israel to try.
Don't forget to leave your opinions in the comments to this post, and a link to your posts if possible.
*I must note that many are concerned with the validity of the Nahalath Yitzhaq Kashruth certification. I will simply state here that one may want to investigate establishments on a case by case basis. The certification is legitimate, but the manner in which the certification was procured may not be.