I moved with my family to Israel in August, 2004. In my spare time, I have tried to conquer Israel and I have seen the good, the bad and the ridiculous. I often am asked for tips about Israeli restaurants, movies, shows and cultural events. Please join me on my adventures!
Contact me with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Derech Hagefen located in Moshav Beit Zayit on the outskirts of Jerusalem is a pretty restaurant located in a pastoral setting with pretty indoor/outdoor seating. The food is a variation of the usual café fare, with interesting twists on pasta, pizzas and fish. Derech Hagefen has a sister restaurant located in a greenhouse/nursery in Jerusalem but I found Derech Hagefen's setting and food much more interesting. A special place that is definitely worth a visit.
Derech Hagefen - 1 Derech Hagefen, Moshav Beit Zayit - 02-650-2044 - Call before visiting as the restaurant is often crowded
We recently participated in the Maestro of Milano baking workshop in the family-run Saidels bakery located in Karnei Shomron. There are a variety of workshops offered; this one is recommended for parties with children. Les Saidel ran the four hour workshop which included preparing breads and pasta, as well as an informative tour of the small but extremely professional facilities. While not an inexpensive activity, Les' lovely manner combined with a truly fun and elaborate activity made this a very memorable and special activity that pleased both adults and children.
Mavoch Bemek located in the Emek Valley is a nice activity on the way up North or a great way to spend a low-key afternoon. While the maze does not rival the more sophisticated and complex ones located in the United States, it did take about an hour to complete, and, surprisingly, everyone in our party, including teenagers, participated. And unlike more elaborate corn field mazes, one can see above the vegetation so there is no way to really get lost. There is also a nice area to picnic where all sorts of board games are set up.
I have attended the annual Open House Tel Aviv (a weekend of open houses) for the past several years. What was originally a wonderful and well-run event has become a very unpleasant experience as the organizers fail to grapple with expansion. First, there are the venues which require registration one week prior. The website provides the date that the registration opens but fails to provide the time (roughly 7:00 AM). The event organizer let me in on this little secret when one year I stayed up until midnight the day before to register; according to the event organizer, the time is not disclosed on the website in order to prevent the website from crashing (not sure that her answer is the appropriate solution to the problem). Even with the knowledge that registration begins at 7:00 AM, rarely anyone will succeed in registering for anything. Events closed out so quickly that I actually am starting to wonder if the system is rigged. Then, there are the "open events' where …
We agreed to three hours on a boat trying our hand at wake boarding and wake surfing (think water skiing but with boards instead of skis), despite that none of us had any experience in water sports. To our pleasant surprise, it was an amazing experience where everyone of all ages not only had tons of fun but succeeded! The boat was beautiful (just sitting and enjoying the ride on the lake was lovely) and the very professional instructors were patient and helpful. Most importantly, there is a strong emphasis on safety. For the younger kids, the boats are also equipped with tubing. We definitely plan on coming back to this well-run professional establishment.
As you know by now, I am a foodie who has frequented many of the kosher restaurants in Israel. I have had many excellent meals over the years, but my recent meal at the newly opened kosher Herbert Samuel in the Ritz Carlton Herzlyia is in a class of its own. This is the first kosher restaurant for Jonathan Roshfeld, an Israeli celebrity chef. Words cannot even do justice to the creativity of the dishes, the combination of interesting flavors and the impeccable service. We asked the waiter to choose dishes that he felt would give us the best dining experience. We sampled all sorts of beef, poultry and fish, accompanied by a variety of side dishes - nothing disappointed. The evening was not inexpensive, but it truly was a dining experience that was well worth it.
Herbert Samuel - Ritz Carlton Herzlyia - RESERVATIONS A MUST - 073-203-7707 (hotel desk - 09-373-555)
The newly opened Ariel Sharon Park was constructed on the Hiriya landfill which was in use from 1952 through 1999. The park was built using recycled materials and is slowly expanding to become the largest park in the Middle East. Guides provide interesting explanations regarding the history of the park, as well as the overall problems with the production of waste in the world. It is a lovely place to walk, picnic or just spend a nice afternoon. Currently, the park is hosting the Trash People exhibit - a travelling exhibit consisting of life size figures made entirely out of recycled materials. Even if you don't make it to the exhibit, the park is a worthwhile destination. Ariel Sharon Park - www.parksharon.co.il Trash People Exhibit - www.hadran.co.il NOTE: Cars are left in the parking lot and buses transport visitors to the site
Nili Wine House and Restaurant is a lovely restaurant located on the central pedestrian mall in Zichron Yaakov. The tables located on the terraces are a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon people watching. The food is typical of Israeli café style but is fresh and tasty. The pizza is a sure pleaser.
Nili Wine House and Restaurant - 43 Hamayesdim (on the pedestrian mall), Zichron Yaakov - 04-629-2899
The First Aliyah Museum, located in picturesque Zichron Yaakov, depicts the challenges and hardships faced by the thousands who made Aliyah in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. This museum contains traditional exhibits, as well as multimedia aids, to tell the story of these pioneers. The museum is a bit dated compared to the newer museums built in Israel and may not be an exciting place for young children. However, it is certainly an interesting place to stop as part of a visit to Zichron Yaakov.
First Aliyah Museum - 04-629-4777 - Zichron Yaakov