In recent years, Israel has transformed itself into a gastronomic paradise. Israel with Love has written before about the restaurants large and small that attract foodies from across the globe. But we haven’t written about Israel’s java love-affair. Well, that omission ends now. Whether its Turkish, Americano, hafuch (don’t worry, we’ll explain later) or Israel’s special take on ice cafe known as cafe barad (hail), this country demands its caffeine. As a result, our coffee houses can successfully compete with our European and South American counterparts. Of course, you can enjoy a cup of coffee from the ubiquitous Aroma Cafe and often from Gregg’s or Landwer. These chains offer a consistently good cup of coffee. But we wanted to share with you some of Israel’s lesser-known cafes that locals love and tourists should have the opportunity to enjoy. Below are just a sample of some of Israel with Love’s favorite cafes across the country.
- Cafe Kadosh on Shlomzion HaMalka Street in the heart of Jerusalem has been serving up delicious cake, pastries and meals since 1967. It’s a great place to stop before entering the Old City. With an authentic Jerusalem vibe, you’ll be so happy you stopped here. (kosher -closed Shabbat)
- Cafe Bezalel – This charming cafe is conveniently located downtown but, since it’s not a main thoroughfare, it’s not as noisy as some of Jerusalem’s other cafes. It’s walking distance from the Machaneh Yehudah Shouk (open-air market) and particularly popular with the 20-something crowd. (open on Shabbat).
- Cafe Liwan in Nazareth is a social enterprise. As well as serving delicious coffee, the cafe works to preserve old Arab charm. It’s closed Sundays, but the rest of the week it offers delightful food, coffee, music and a host of cultural events.
- Tel Aviv’s weather is amenable to outdoor dining throughout most of the year. So, why not enjoy your coffee outside as well? Kiosk Est 1920 on Lillienblum Street on the edge of the trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood has nearby benches so you can rest and watch the world go by.
- Edmund Cafe on Allenby Street has succeeded as one of the best coffee houses in Tel Aviv. Its four owners have created a vibe that allows this cafe to thrive in a city that is full of chain cafes.
- Cafe Basma on Louis Pasteur Street in the ancient port city of Jaffa just south of Tel Aviv is the place to go for traditional Turkish coffee. And don’t forget the baklava!
- And, if you keep kosher, don’t worry! Adraba Cafe on the corner of Ben Yehuda Street an Bograshov offers great vegetarian food and delicious coffee as well.
- Art Coffee Mikael in Tzfat (kosher) is located in an old stone building that is cool most of the year. They also serve craft beers so this cafe is perfect no matter what you’re in the mood to drink. Enjoy a stop before or after visiting Tzfat’s world-famous artist colony.
- Cafe Ava in Haifa opened in 1941, seven years before the State of Israel was even born. Catering to a working class clientele, it serves some of the best coffee in Haifa
- Al Yasmeen in the Druze Village of Majdal Shams offers an opportunity for sampling local Druze food and finishing your meal with traditional Druze coffee. One cup and you won’t need to sleep for a week!
So whether you want coffee hafuch (upside down coffee with steaming milk poured into the cup before the coffee), a familiar Americano, or traditional Turkish coffee, you can grab a great cup of coffee anywhere you visit in Israel.
Israel with Love looks forward to seeing you soon!