Al Tanur

Similar to el Babour. Ziad Abas/owner is brother of Usam Abas, el babour owner. Located in Reyna, on main road, near gas station at main circle on east side. (Beware, google might lead you into their shawarma place.) Ask for wild plant specials if in season (akub. olesh. hubeza. tered. gargirey nehalim.) Ask for smallest portions of maza plates. The stuffed neck and stuffed lamb ribs are similar but ribs are smaller portion.

Ali Karavan (a.k.a. Abu Hasan)

Jamal realized only after eating the hummus here, the true meaning of hummus. Life-changing meal had in tiny institute hole-in-the-wall on plastic chairs. Excellent! All they serve is hummus... get all 3 styles and compare. Don't come late. Where Ron ate regularly 1973-1975 during Army service. There are other locations, but stick to the original for true experience!

Azura (w "ayin")

Excellent Kurdish/Iraqi food; authentic, cooked on ptiliyot. For the full experience, come w friends and ask for a tasting meal with ONE portion of each dish. If the owner is around, ask him to tell you about each dish. This will be pricier but worth it. Otherwise, if you order by the dish, it's inexpensive. Come for early lunch, before the crowds, around 10:30/11:00. HaEshkol 4, in the Iraqi square of the market, where the shesh-besh players are.

BellBoy Bar

Best cocktails we had in Tel Aviv. Whimsical, and honestly just kind of crazy. Still regretting not trying the fisting cocktail. Int'l flare; not necessary local. Overly creative in presentation too ("Keep it Clean" in the bathtub, etc.) They won some worldwide competition. Similar to Imperial in general, but much better experience for us at this visit. Happy Hour includes full menu at half price. Sit at bar and watch barman in action.

Burekas Yoshko

A must hole-in-the-wall! (Don't confuse it with the bigger burekas place next door!) Arrive early. runs out around noon (or wait till he makes more.) Order: Spinach burekas w/wo egg. Ask for s'hug on the side. Get yogurt drink". Cheap local dive. If you have room, try the other burekas versions too (cheese, potato) OR... go to the burekas place inside the nearby shuk (market), which is another must visit, and compare! Both are great.

Carmel

Amazing. no frill. low $. all was good. less choices on sunday. Don’t miss: mafrum! also v.good: chrieme, beans n beef stew, beef head stew. Located in Tripolitany in the market (shuk). No sign. Ask the market vendors for directions. Come early for lunch. Don’t come too late.

Diana

Food was decent, but the arak selection was on point! The owner, who I am positive had enjoyed more that his fair share of the backbar that night, poured us 3 different arak from the west bank. Originally, it was one of best arabic in Israel. Their claim to fame are kabobs and chops. Our kabobs were good; chops disappointed; fish (stuffed dennis) was good but partially raw. Overall good but not excellent.

El Babor

One of best mid-east in Israel, especially if you make it clear that you want to try their unique food, not the standards that everybody has. Seems to have slipped some now that they branched into Yokne'am too, but still excellent. Al Tanur restaurant in Reina belong to his brother and excellent too. Some special dishes to try:

  • Various WILD greens, if they have them; typically in spring. (Akub, Olesh, Hubeza,...)

  • Kebab El Babor, the one that baked w tomato sauce under a pita crust

  • Lamb neck stuffed w rice. BEWARE: Will feed 4-6 people.

  • Lamb chops

  • Laffa... fresh cooked

Falafel HaKosem

Very good falafel, w excellent eggplant slices! Good turkey shawarma; avoid the hummus. Excellent burik!! Try their fried eggplant as extra side! Try Sabih (the above eggplant is key ingredient).

Marakey Teyman

Best for Yemenite foods. Excellent; inexpensive; both yemenite AND Tripolitany foods (menu changes daily with some signature items every day). Ask for smaller portions of many tastes.

Some stars: Beef soup, bean soup, couscous, mafrum, israeli salad, (try sides: s'hug, hilba, ...).

Miznon

A MUST! Top creative pita sandwiches. Chef based. (Eyal Shani) Crazy hopping. Seat at the bar. Try to avoid rush time.Also try the signature roasted cauliflower. Also be sure to help yourself to free condiments station.

Refa'el

Excellent upscaled $$$. Modern take of North African, French, Mediterranean. Lunches on Fri & Sat are more creative than other days. Dinners are more formal.

Santa Katarina

Ex exec-chef from Haim Cohen; menu mostly built around a his big taboon oven. Creative Mediterranean/Italian; excellent!

Shaarabic

Excellent inexpensive authentic arabic food in no-frill humble setting; great fresh ingredients; traditional; lots of salads; some wild plants in season; good Kibbe; A MUST. no-menu restaurant. Main Rama entrance, left 1st kikar, about 50m thereafter on left. hidden downstairs.

Shawarma Murad Karam

Top calf shawarma! Nice sides too. Was our best shawarma on the 2016 trip. A bit hard to find, but ask the locals for directions. Ask for the grilled onions/tomatoes that he places under the shawarma spit too. At the commercial center of kfar Yasif.

Shila

Excellent chef driven seafood at reasonable $. Our best high-end meal.

Shuk HaCarmel

Giant non-yuppi Market. Must visit in Tel Aviv. Misc divey and trendy eateries too; ask around what are the best eateries or follow the nose.

Shuk Hanamal

Along the mediterranean shore at north side of Tel Aviv (just south of the Yarkon river). Assortment of booths serving special foods; also outdoor farmers at certain hours/days. Pricier (and smaller) than typical Shuk (Market) but good stuff. (More "yuppi", unlike shuks like HaCarmel)

Shuk Mahane Yehuda

Ron’s favorite place in Jerusalem. Favorite market in Israel! Great busy market. A MUST stroll. Come back at night, and stroll through the party scene; have a drink and maybe a bite. Among the many hidden gem eateries in the market and vicinity are:

  • Azura (Kurdi/Iraqi)

  • Burekas Turki Original

  • Cafe Mizrahi

  • Machneyuda restaurant (Upscalish market ingredients)

  • Shmula. (Ptiliyot)

  • Steakiyat Hatzot (Meurav Yerushalmi)

  • Shuk Hatavlinim (a good source for spices)

Usul K

Near the Police station. Excellent falafel & Hummus. Try the Hummus with "everything" (Hummus, whole chickpeas, Tehina, Foul (fava), Hard-boiled egg). Try the falafel (balls will come as free side with the humus plate, but can also get in pita w condiments)

Hole-in-the-wall; a must if you are in the area.

VADI NISNAS

Awesome time here! This is the AREA where you can walk through old arabic/jewish mix part of town; nice vibes; here you can see/try: Falafel Hazkenim, Falafel Michel Havadi, Shawarma Emil, Small Shuk, some arabic pastries. Jamal found the house his grandparents raised his family in, then ate a killer falafel sandwich at this counter. Not to be missed!!!

VERED HAGALIL RANCH / TIBIS RESTAURANT

This is Ron’s family ranch! (But restaurant is leased out.) On hwy 90, 1km south of Amiad Junction. Beautiful place to lodge, ride horses and visit. As of 2013 Chef Haim Tibi took over the restaurant, remodelled it and changed it. Food is much better now, although some old-timers might yearn for some of the old signature dishes. (But the Chicken In the Basket is still on the menu.) Nice fresh salads, good quality meats/steaks/burger. Somewhat pricey. Note: Haim does not believe in salting some items, especially steaks, so you will probably need to use the salt shaker.