Israel is a top foodie destination thanks to the unique blend of cultures. Here east meets west with flavors brought by immigrants from across the globe. In Israel you’ll find Arabic specialties like dolma; Jewish classics like gefilte fish and mouth-watering dishes like couscous from Morocco, Ethiopian Injera, New York bagels, and Turkish kofta. But it is the homegrown Middle Eastern specialties that have become Israel’s most popular foods.

Top Must-Try Israeli Foods


Hummus (or houmous) used to be a side dish, but today it is served as a whole meal. Chickpeas are ground into a paste together with tahini sauce, spices, lemon juice, and olive oil to produce the delicious spread. Visit the Arab town of Abu Gosh (preferably with an Israeli tour guide), or try hummus at Abu Hassan, in Jaffa; Mashawasha in Tel Aviv; Abu Yusef, in Haifa; Saíd, in Acre, or Lina in Jerusalem.


The most famous Israeli food is falafel, a fried ball of spicy chickpeas. Today it comes in several variations including square falafel, and falafel made with broad beans. Falafel is served in pita bread with hummus, tahini sauce, salad, and pickles. Try any falafel stand where there is a crowd! Otherwise, there is Hakosem, in Tel Aviv; Abu Shukri, in Jerusalem, or Falafel Hazkenim, in Haifa.


Shakshuka started as an Israeli breakfast dish but it can be eaten throughout the day. Onions, garlic, and tomatoes are fried in a pan to produce a delicious tomato sauce. Spices are added according to the chefs’ personal preference then eggs are baked in the sauce. Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa is an iconic eatery run by the legendary Doctor Shakshuka.

Pita Bread

Round, yeast-leaven flatbreads is baked at a high temperature so that the water in the dough turns to steam and the pita puffs creating a pocket in the middle. The pita can then be filled with anything you want!  As long as it is freshly baked in a traditional “tabun” oven it should be pretty good!


A popular Palestinian and Jordanian treat as well as an Israeli dessert, knafeh is a syrup-drenched baked confection of white goat/sheep cheese and string-like pastry. Yaffa Knafeh, in Jaffa; Jaffar Sweets, in Jerusalem, and Knafeh Sheinkin, in Tel Aviv are Israel’s top knafeh places.

More Foods to Try in Israel

Some Israeli foods deserve an honourable mention like the Iraqi eggplant sandwich “sabikh”, and Yemini breads, jakhnun, and kubana. Try Jerusalem mix (meórav Yerushalmi), a fried mix of chicken offal and beef. And enjoy succulent fresh fish at Red Sea Eilat restaurants, or Tel Aviv and Herzliya beachfront restaurants. On the shore of the Sea of Galilee try a delicious grilled St. Peter’s Fish (tilapia).

Instead of trying to find the best falafel in Israel or the ultimate hummus, hire a private tour guide in Israel and they will show you exactly where to try the best Israeli food. Israeli tour guides know where the locals eat and where the true culinary gems are hidden.


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