Cruise Port Atlas | Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel Restaurants | Food

Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel Cuisine | Where to Eat

Popular Local Cuisine: The original cuisine of Palestine was derived from the agricultural products of the area known as the seven staples: olives, figs, dates, pomegranates, grapes, wheat and barley. While that Old Testament diet is making a comeback in popularity, the dramatic and contentious history of the region has produced a particularly vibrant food culture. The Jews of Spain (Sephardim), expelled around 1492, brought with them the Spanish influence of the Iberian peninsula, including the spicy poached egg dish, shakshuka, which is still a popular breakfast. Around the same period, the Ottomans came to dominate the eastern half of the Mediterranean as well as much of the Middle East. These conquerors brought with them their traditions making Greek influenced Balkan foods such as stuffed grape leaves, eggplant and peppers along with a wide variety of yoghurts. Jews from North Africa introduced couscous and tahini. Yemenite Jews brought jachnun, a fried bread stick, along with their variation of the Shabbat stew hamin, with whole eggs still in their shells.

Many of Israel's most famous foods originated elsewhere but have been refined and altered over time. The most ubiquitous of all Israeli foods is hummus, which holds the same place as peanut butter does in the United States. Other street foods which are worth trying are falafel, a fried chickpea patty most often served with tahini and vegetables on pita bread. Shawarma is processed turkey with lamb fats roasted slowly on a spit and sliced into pita. The local bagel is a stick-shaped sweetened bread often topped with sesame seeds. Chicken and turkey are the most popular meats in the country. Ashkenazim, from Central Europe popularized turkey schnitzel and it remains a staple. Fish is commonly available, including the European preserved fish known commonly as gefilte fish.

While the traditional wines of Israel are the sweet kosher varieties, since the 1980s, Israel has developed European style dry whites and reds that have recently begun to garner international praise and awards.

Photo of Shakshuka by Gilabrand

Criuse lines that visit Haifa: Voyages to Antiquity, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Celebrity, Holland America, Costa, MSC Cruises,

Key Attractions: Haifa, Baha'i World Center, Elijah's Cave, Stella Maris Monastery, Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Diaspora Museum, Gordon Street, Old Acre, Rosh HaNikra, Khan al-Umdan, Sea of Galilee, Tiberius, Jesus Trail, Capernaum, Mount of Beautitudes, Tabgha, Golan Heights, Kfar Harub Kibbutz, Caesarea Maritime, Nazereth, Church of the Annunciation, Tzippori, Safed, Old Jerusalem, Temple Mount, Tower of David, Western (Wailing) Wall, Cardo, Hurva Synagogue, Knesset, Israel Museum, Shrine of the Book, Bible Lands Museum, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Church of All Nations, Chapel of the Ascension, St. Andrew's Church, Christ Church, St. Georges Cathedral, Church of St. James, Church of the Redeemer, Church of Maria Magdelene, Noble Sanctuary, Dome of the Rock, AA Mosque, Yad Vashem, Holocaust Museum, Hall of Names, Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity, Ein Kerem, Qasr al Yahud, Yad Kennedy

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Photo of Sufganiyot by Yoninah