It’s been a long time since the culinary output of Israel was known mostly for hummus and Jaffa oranges. These days, Israeli restaurants have received accolades as some of the most exclusive in the world.
The latest acknowledgment comes from Gault & Millau, the French restaurant guide second in importance only to fellow French restaurant-rater Michelin.
Gault & Millau recently published a list of the 147 best restaurants in Israel along with another 57 “recommended” street eateries. To make it onto the list, a restaurant had to receive a grade of at least 10 out of 20 points.
Coming in next, with 15 points each, were Chef Meir Adoni’s Blue Sky in the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv (kosher), Dinings at the Norman Hotel (not kosher) and Tel Aviv’s open-kitchen restaurant OCD (not kosher).
Gault & Millau named Tomer Gal of the George & John restaurant in the Drisco Hotel in Tel Aviv (not kosher) as “the most promising chef.” The best pastry chef award went to Shahar Peleg from the Yaffo Tel Aviv restaurant.
Tel Aviv has been dubbed the “vegan capital of the world” and Gault & Millau recognized the Tel Aviv restaurant Opa in the top spot for the vegan-vegetarian category (with 14.5 points).
Jerusalem scored a win for “best atmosphere” with the Yudale Bar, part of the city’s popular Machneyuda Group.
Gault & Millau honored another 204 restaurants as “popular” (but without receiving a grade).
Israel foodies have had several reasons to rejoice of late. The World’s 50 Best Discovery website includes seven Tel Aviv hotspots and one in Jerusalem on its latest list. The latter went to the Machneyuda restaurant in the capital’s Machane Yehuda market. The Tel Aviv bunch included HaBasta (also on Gault & Millau’s list), The Bellboy and Butler bars, Pastel in the Tel Aviv Museum complex and Milgo & Milbar, which was lauded for its “hip fish dishes.”
Another Paris-based guide – La Liste – published its annual list of the 1,000 best restaurants in the world. Thirteen Israeli eateries made the cut. Lumina by chef Meir Adoni (who placed on Gault & Millau’s list with Blue Sky) led La Liste’s list. George & John, OCD, La Regence and Alena also did double duty on both lists.
Too many choices? Why not start your own list and eat your way through the best Israel has to offer.