8 Must-Try Foods in Israel

A bounty of produce, spices, and variety makes for a trip to “foodie heaven.”

By Gabriella Levin-Meer


Israel may not have been first on your list for places to travel for the best food. I get it, croissants in Paris sound like a dream. But Israeli food will surprise you.

Although many people go to Israel for religious reasons, food is also an essential part of the country’s culture. At the mall in Tel Aviv, the food court consists of small carts of freshly cooked wraps and dishes, all made right in front of you. From traditional flatbreads to the latest craze, for example, the challah fried chicken sandwich, you can find something tasty for everyone.

Another plus – during my most recent trip I ate all vegetarian and still had so many options! (Read my story on our family’s favorite adventures all around Israel.)

Here are the dishes you’ll love and the best places to try them.


Ever heard of a middle eastern burrito? This flaky puff pastry dough is typically wrapped with hard-boiled egg, tomato, Israeli salad, pickle, onion, and spicy sauce.


Looking for the perfect on-the-go lunch? Here’s your go-to. This amazing fried eggplant pita wrap is served with hummus, Israeli salad, hard-boiled egg, onions, and tahini sauce.


Want a refreshing dessert that’s way better than froyo? This milk pudding topped with rosewater syrup, chopped sugar nuts, and coconut shavings makes for a tasty dessert on a hot day.

  • Hamalabiya in Tel Aviv. This malabi bar offers the famed milk pudding, drinks, and backgammon tables for customers. It is a chain restaurant so they are all over.


Looking for the best dessert in all of Israel? You can’t go wrong with this hot dessert cake made with sweet cheese, shredded filo dough, and sweet syrup. This dish is often topped with vanilla ice cream and chopped pistachios.

Ice coffee

Need to conquer the jet lag or cool down from the heat? This refreshing iced coffee drink blended with milk and sugar is a great addition for walking through the shuk or a quick cool-down break.


Chocolate lovers, listen up. This delicious dessert is perfect for you! Rugelach consists of buttery yeast dough wrapped in a crescent with gooey chocolate and a crispy coating.


Do you miss your nut butter? Israeli halvah will make you forget it. Although halvah can be found in select stores in the US, Israel takes halvah-making to a whole new level. Halvah is a sweet pasty spread made from crushed sesame seeds and can have various flavors, such as whiskey or pistachio.

  • The Halvah Kingdom in Jerusalem
  • Israelis devote entire stores to just halvah. You can find some great spots in the outdoor markets in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.


Dry, flavorless falafel no more! Even if you have tasted America’s finest falafel, the best cannot compare to Israeli restaurants. Made by frying balls of a chickpea blend, this dish is usually served in a pita wrap with hummus, salad, and fries (yes, fries!)


The better version of stuffed pizza. Khachapuri actually originated in Georgia. This fluffy bread stuffed with cheese and topped with a fried egg and even more crisped cheese tastes like a yummier version of American pizza. For the vegans and lactose intolerant, potato-stuffed khachapuri makes a great substitute.

Gabriella Levin-Meer – November 2021

ROAM Editorial Intern

Gabriella grew up in the Bay Area and loves to travel. She enjoys playing field hockey, baking vegan treats, writing poetry, and making jewelry.

© ROAM Family Travel 2021 – All rights reserved

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