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Showing posts from 2012

Beresheet - truly a five star hotel

Unlike the case of most Israeli hotels, the (very) high price of Beresheet, a hotel built on the Mitzpe Ramon crater, does correspond to an outstanding place.  The architecture and the outstanding views of the hotel will leave you breathless.  The many public areas (including beautiful outdoor and indoor pools) are beautifully done and the rooms are tastefully appointed.  The food was not great, but it was plentiful and good.  We splurged for a room that faced the crater and had a private pool.  Yes, the pools are not truly private nor very large, but we thought it worth the extra cost. 
TIP - this is a hotel where equally priced rooms are not equal.  Location of a room is very critical since some rooms are more private and further from the service road and gas station right next door.
Beresheet - www.isrotelexclusivecollection.com/beresheet/ -reservations required

Dalton Industrial Park - a wine lovers dream

The Dalton Industrial Park contains three wineries and a brewery, making it a great place to go"bar hopping".  At Butterfly Brewery, we had a quick tutorial and sampled the delicious beer (there is also a meat restaurant where we did not eat).  We tasted the excellent wine at Dalton but the staff of the visitor center was not particularly welcoming or friendly.  But if you are looking for the best experience rather than the best wine, Adir Winery and Dairy beats the competition.  There is a ten minute film about the family owned business followed by an excellent brunch overlooking the vineyards.  And for 25 shekels per person, we followed the bunch with a great wine tasting with a staff member. 
The wineries are located in the Dalton Industrial Park, Galillee.  Visitors Centers are open to the public but tours should be scheduled in advance.
Dalton Winery - www.dalton-winery.com - 04-698-7683 - guided tours should be reserved in advance
Butterfly Brewery - www.bfbeers.com 04-6…

Cafe Gidi - Tel Aviv - a nice stop for food

Cafe Gidi is a lovely cafe not far from the Tel Aviv beach.  The food is very tasty and interesting.  We tried the pizza and the beet gnocchi - both of which were very good.  There is a nice outdoor space in the back.  I found the indoor space a bit tight.  I would not make a special trip but if you are in the area, this is a great place to have a good meal.
Cafe Gidi - 20 Frishman, Tel Aviv - 03-522-1178

Roberg Restaurant - OUTRAGEOUS!!!

When you walk into a restaurant located in a moshav that is literally in the middle of nowhere and the place is packed on a weekday evening, you know you have discovered something special.  The Roberg meat restaurant is a family business (the Robergs even live downstairs) that has a homey feeling; the family members circulate throughout the meal which is long and leisurely.  But do not be fooled by the lack of pretense in decor or ambience (though the views of the Kinneret are pretty amazing). Opt for the tasting menu where you will be wowed by dishes that are both creative and delicious   (fish in tempura with cherry sauce and wasabi sorbet really works!).  I am still dreaming of my meal.
Roberg - Moshav Livnim, Galilee - 04-671-5656- RESERVATIONS A MUST!

Kadosh Cafe - a Jerusalem icon

Several of my Jerusalem friends have been raving about the Kadosh cafe which has been around for over 40 years; finally I had an opportunity to visit this Jerusalem icon.  The small cafe contains an extensive menu of breakfast fare, pastas, quiches, sandwiches, salads, and of course, baked goods.  The food is very good but the baked goods - specifically the croissants - are truly the stars of this show.  Be warned - it is not a large space and it fills up quickly.  Next time I am in the area, I might just buy some of the baked goods to go.

Kadosh Cafe - 6 Shlomzion Hamalka, Jerusalem - 02-625-4210

Bakery 29 - Another Hidden Gem in Tel Aviv!

I love to wander around Tel Aviv and I always stop at one of the several cafes that make my go to list.  I can now add Bakery 29 to that list.  Located on the first floor of a charming Tel Aviv renovated building with seating on the porch or inside, Bakery 29 is a great place to have an enjoyable breakfast or lunch.  I sampled the frittatas and the croissants - all of which were delicious.  And the ambience is lovely.  Best of all, the profits go to an organization called Impact!, which funds higher education for former Israeli combat soldiers who lack financial means.

Bakery 29 - 29 Ahad Haam, Tel Aviv - 03-560-2020

Tel Aviv Houses from Within Does It Again!

Houses from Within - a yearly event where select buildings and private homes are opened to the public - was recently held in Tel Aviv.  Some of the locations and tours require pre-registration while others are open houses.  Be warned that the venues/tours requiring registration close out quickly.  I visited the Kol Yehuda Synagogue, a synagogue established by the Aden Community in Neve Tzedek, where Danny Goldschmit, one of the founder's grandsons, provided a history of the buildng and the community.  I also signed up for an excellent tour of the ceramic tiles that were designed by the Bezalel Art Studio in the 1920s and displayed on many of the facades of Tel Aviv buidlings.  
Houses from Within - http://www.batim-il.org/DefaultEng.aspx
Kol Yehuda Synagogue - 5 Lillenblum, Tel Aviv
Tour - Tehila Koenigstein - Discover Tel Aviv Center - 9 Ahad Haam, Tel Aviv - 03-517-7304 or tiki@discover-telaviv.co.il

Angelica - Pretty Amazing

Tucked away in a small hotel right near the center of Jerusalem, Angelica is an upscale grill restaurant that provides a very nice dining experience.  The food is very good, the ambience is lovely and the service was attentive.  While it is not my most favorite eating establishment in Jerusalem if you are looking for a nice night out in the area, this is definitely worth a visit.

Angelica -  7 Shatz Jerusalem - 02-623-0056 - RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED

Israel Museum and Tel Aviv Museum of Art - New Wings

I recently made another visit to both the Israel Museum and Tel Aviv Museum of Art.  The newly created spaces in both museums are definitely worth a visit.  At times, both buildings actually impress more than the actual exhibits.  And while I did not have time to visit either of the cafes at the museums, they do look welcoming and lovely.
Israel Museum - Ruppin Boulevard, Jerusalem (near the Knesset)
Tel Aviv Museum of Art - 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd, Tel Aviv

Shuk Bites - Machne Yehuda for Novices

Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda (the "Shuk") is one of Israel's most colorful and charming places to visit, but it can overwhelm newcomers.  Shuk Bites is the solution; for 99 shekels, a punch card purchased online creates a self-guided tour of ten food stalls in and around the shuk.  Many (but not all) of the listed food stalls are a sampling of the best that the shuk has to offer in terms of food.  Make sure that each merchant gives you a history of his stall (along with the tasting samples).  Shuk Bites is a great way to sample some of the best food stalls in the market at a pace that works for each person.  But don't forget to spend some time just exploring on your own!
Shuk Bites - to purchase a card, go to www.machne.co.il

Jaffa Tales - A Fun and Quick Way to Learn About Jaffa

Jaffa - filled with history and charm - is a great place to wander around.  But to learn about Jaffa's history in a quick and entertaining way, visit Jaffa Tales in the center square of Old Jaffa.  This 40 minute multimedia experience conveys the history of Jaffa through two entertaining short films and a small sample of the archaeological finds of the area.  A perfect way to learn in an entertaining way!

Jaffa Tales - Jaffa, Tel Aviv - To reserve call 03-603-7700 or email tourism@oldjaffa.co.il

Al Dente - Amazing Amazing Amazing Italian food

We visited this tiny unassuming restaurant based on an off the cuff remark by a friend who had heard about it. When we entered, our expectations were very low. By the time, we left, this quickly became one of our favorite restaurants. The most difficult part was deciding what to order from the endless choices of fish, pastas, pizzas, calzones, breads and desserts. Everything is fresh and homemade (including the pasta which we watched being made as ordered). Everyone in our party from age 8 and upwards absolutely loved their food (no small task in our family of very critical eaters) - enough said!
Al Dente - 50 Ussishkin Street, Jerusalem - 02-625-1479 - RESERVATIONS A MUST!

Tel Aviv Museum of Art New Wing - If Only the Art Was that Amazing

After much fanfare, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art recently opened its new wing. There has been much criticism that the building as a piece of art overshadows, rather than enhances, the displayed artworks. I agree with this sentiment but not because I think the architecture of the building should have been toned down. Rather, it is unfortunate that an art museum, located in a city that prides itself on being on par with other international metroplises, lacks an impressive art collection (and stellar temporary exhibits are few and far between). In the absence of a great art collection, the very modern and chic wing is artwork worth visiting!

Tel Aviv Museum of Art - 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd., Tel Aviv - www.tamuseum.com

Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts - meant for kids but even better for adults!

Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts currently offers scavenger hunts in the the Old City and the Nachlaot section of Jerusalem. The activity runs approximately 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours and is meant to be an interactive and educational activity. I loved the historical tidbits as we moved from one designated spot to the next and it is a great way to get to know these two charming and interesting parts of Jerusalem. It is not really ideal for younger children who may lack the patience or ability to assimilate all the information. And, you do need to know your children - my friends' kids loved this activity; to be honest, mine, not as much. But it is a great activity - certainly for college age and older who are looking to do something fun and educational!

Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts - http://www.jerusalemscavengerhunts.com/ -

Biking Through Derech Burma

Derech Burma is known for the pivotal role this road played in 1948 to get food supplies to the Jews in Jerusalem. The trail runs approximately 15K. Al Derech Burma, located at the beginning of the trail, will rent bikes, helmets and baby seats for two to three hours. It is a great family activity that is not too difficult for most bikers. Be aware that the equipment is quite rudimentary and not in the greatest shape. However, this is perfect for those who are just visiting Israel or who do not want to bother bringing their bikes with them.


Al Derech Burma - http://www.alderechburma.com/ - 074-703-0029 - off of Highway 38 (take Shaaar Hagay exit off of Highway 1)

Sandcastle sculptures - messing with success

A couple of summers ago, there a professional sandcastle exhibit on the Haifa beach (behind ropes of course). Besides the fact that it was free, the exhibit was open during the day and each sand castle was well placed for maximum viewing. I imagine that in the interest of making money, this past summer the sandcastle exhibit was moved to the Eretz Israel Museum; the theme was children's fairy tales, and, again the sandcastles were constructed by experts from around the world. This time around, a fee was charged for entry. The fee may be a legitimate way to cover costs. But, unfortunately, the viewing space was much smaller and crowded. Even more upsetting was that the exhibit was only open during the night. Each sandcastle was lit up but much was lost by the absence of natural sunlight. Not sure I would run back next time.

Tales in Sand - Eretz Israel Museum