When I ask unaffiliated Jews if they know what Shavuot is, the answer is almost always the same: “Isn’t that the cheesecake holiday?”. Yes it is. One day a year where you must eat cheesecake. It’s a religious imperative. Those who are slightly more affiliated know that the custom is actually to eat any kind of dairy. Cheesecake being the most fattening dairy thing on the planet, we Jews have chosen it as the dairy representative for the holiday. In honor of Shavuot, here is a list of fabulous dairy eateries all around Israel where you can get more than just cheesecake.
There are sooo many. It’s like picking your favorite child. But we had to narrow it down and tried to pick a sampling of different types of dairy restaurant experiences.
Nocturno: Nocturno is a coffee shop and restaurant located in an Artists cooperative right near the Bezalel School of Art. So you can enjoy their yummy food and then walk around through artists workshops and studios.
Piccolino: This incredible restaurant is located in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlat Shiva. At night there is often live music playing in the adjacent square to accompany the fabulous Italian food. This is a “special night out” kind of restaurant.
Mousseline: This is not a restaurant, but rather a boutique ice cream shop located in Machane Yehuda. You may not have realized that you need to try basil flavored ice cream. But you do.
In Tel Aviv
It’s a little harder to find kosher food in Tel Aviv than one would think. But more and more, great kosher options are opening up in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is no longer the only place to get great dairy food. Here are a few:
Blue Sky: Located on the top of the Carleton Hotel Tel Aviv, world renowned Chef Meir Adoni created this place for kosher, dairy loving foodies. Who like to eat great food while looking out at the city of Tel Aviv and the mediterranean sea. They meals are accompanied by superb wines and fabulous cocktails.
Uno Italian Restaurant: Right in the heart of Tel Aviv, this incredible Italian restaurant is the place for fantastic pizza and homemade pasta. The ambiance is warm and inviting with sofas and cozy booths.
Deca: This seafood (and Kosher L’mehadrin) restaurant, is why frum tourists can now eat well in Tel Aviv. The food is that kind of simple that is most difficult to pull off. They don’t overwhelm you with weird stuff that makes you feel like a poser for eating it. Just incredible fresh food from the ocean and the local markets.
In the North
It gets even harder to find kosher food once you leave the cities, but don’t worry. It’s there. You just have to know where. Here are some suggestions:
Gan Eden (Tzfat): This family owned restaurant is located on top of Har Canaan. So you not only can enjoy some great dairy food and fresh baked bread, you can sit out on the shady deck and take in the view of nearby Mount Meron.
Rozalia Cafe. You can visit Be’et Shaan archeological park as an excuse to go to Rozalia, or you can just go straight to Rozalia and bypass the archeology altogether, because it’s awesome. The cafe was opened by 2 pastry chefs, so leave some room for dessert.
Pastaria (Ranaana). Not anything that will blow your mind, but a solid choice for pizza and pasta. The ambiance is nice, the service good, the food tasty. And you won’t have to curtail your planned shopping after you get the bill.
Nili Wine House and Restaurant: Any restaurant in Zichron Yaakov should rightly be serving wine as it is in the middle of Israel’s wine country. This little mehadrin restaurant is a wine bar, wine store - and of course, dairy restaurant. They serve sushi here as well as many other gluten free options.
Have a favorite dairy place in Israel? Post below and let us know about it.