Many people believe that all food in Israel is kosher. Actually this is far from the truth, many restaurants serve pork, shrimps, and combinations of dairy and meat products, especially in Tel Aviv. There are some advantages – restaurants are open on Shabbat, and the menus are wider with non-Kosher products, and mixtures of milk and meat products. Nonetheless, for some eating kosher food is an essential part of life. There are also people who like to try Kosher food as part of getting to know different aspect of Israel.
What makes a restaurant Kosher?
The word Kosher means ‘fit’ or ‘suitable’ to be eaten. In general Kosher food must keep meat and dairy prodects totally separate and must use ingredients that have been prepared or supervised according to Jewish custom. Certain items cannot be Kosher (such as Pork and Sea Food). To prove that a restaurant is kosher, owners have to display a certificate from the local rabbinate, proving that their kitchen only serves Kosher products, has been supervised and thoroughly checked. You can see these framed on the wall of any place serving Kosher food. There are different levels of strictness of Kashrut, all Kosher restaurants need a certificated by the local rabanout the stricter ones also show ‘mehadrin’ certificates, such as ‘Badatz’ and the Sephardi ‘Beit Yosef’.
To those less strict about kashrut, there are some places that decide on their own to keep kosher, but don’t want to pay the necessary fees. These places often have Kosher writen near their name sign, but no certificate so you have to take their word for their standards. It’s fine to ask a waiter or owner Kosher restaurants have invested a lot into being Kosher and are happy to speak to you about it.
Examples of Kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv:
The Blackstone Bistro & Lounge
The Blackstone Bistro & Lounge, a French-Mediterranean style restaurant, serves an exceptional culinary experience in a fashionable atmosphere. Sumptuous culinary creations are served at the restaurant, with crisp white linens, sparkling wine glasses, and a mood that changes throughout the day and into the night. Enjoy a leisurely drink by the bar or indulge in delicacies from the dairy menu, served in the cozy lobby lounge. A perfect place for business meetings or social events, the Blackstone Bistro & Lounge also offers first class 24-hour room service.
Azrieli Round Tower, 49th Floor, Tel. 03-6081990
2C offers romantic views and great kosher eating. They serve quality steaks and are especially known for their main course of goose leg, quite a specialty in Israel. 2C is not cheap, but their business lunch at between 79 and 99 shekels is a bargain.
Blackstone Bistro & Lounge
Tel Aviv Promenade
145 Hayarkon Street at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Tel. 03-5201169
Pacific Bistro is located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The décor is conservative, make sure to order a table near the windows for the fantastic sea view. The Pacific Bistro serves French/Asian meat and fish dishes - the dishes are fresh, creative and very tasty, even if you don’t keep kosher.
Other Kosher Tel Aviv Restaurants:
1. POSH NOSH, Carlton Hotel, 10 Eliezer Peri Street - meat
2. Ninihachi, Ben Yehuda 228 – Japanese meat
3. Meatos Grill Bar, Weizman 2 – meat
4. Uno Italiano, Weizman 2 – dairy
5. Deca, HaTa’assiya Street 10 – gourmet dairy
6. La Lasagne, Dizengoff 177 – Italian dairy
7. Magic Burger, Ibn Gvirol 54, Herzl 16 – fast food
8. Zota Pizza - Dizengoff 177 – fast food