There are few things more wonderful than good food in picturesque surroundings; in fact, some foodies take the view that there’s no point in eating out if there’s only a plate to look at.
If you’re visiting Israel then you’re in luck on both fronts - the country is full of excellent restaurants and views to die for. Whether you’re looking for local dishes or some European-style fine dining, the country’s full of great eateries with jaw-dropping views - from the skyline of Jerusalem’s Old City to Tel Aviv’s glorious Mediterranean, the beautiful Sea of Galilee and the awe-inspiring Golan Heights.
Here are seven Israeli restaurants with a view and whichever one(s) you end up trying, we guarantee you won’t leave disappointed...
Many visitors in Tel Aviv like to finish their day at Manta Ray - arguably the place to dine if you’re looking for a spectacular view. This restaurant, located at Alma Beach, footsteps from the Mediterranean Sea, is Insanely popular both with locals and travelers. If you come at sunset, you’ll really be in for a treat as you sit watching the sky turn from pale yellow to glowing orange to fireball red.
Manta Ray specializes in seafood, which isn’t to say there’s nothing else on the menu, but that’s really what it excels at. And if you’re going in a group, even better, because dishes are set up for sharing - from delectable ceviche, shrimps with gnocchi, roasted calamari, and the denis fish are dishes diners continually rave about, but don’t despair if you don’t eat fish - there’s steak and pulled pork for the carnivores, which come highly recommended.
Veggies can tuck into mezze dishes (think eggplant, tahini, hummus, falafel, tabouleh salad), and the risotto with mushroom, Manchego cheese, and garlic confit is fabulous. Their drinks menu rocks too - for white wine, we’d recommend their Israeli ‘Flam’, for red the GOlan Heights Malbec and if you like cocktails, you won’t be disappointed with their apple martini.
If you’ve room for dessert, try the ‘Legally Advice Chocolate’ concoction (which is so rich it will blow your mind) or a more ‘tropical’ theme, a vanilla parfait topped with passion fruit, mango, caramel, and topped with a coconut cookie crumble. Seriously decadent.
o sum up, whether you’re dining indoors or sitting on their outdoor terrace, Manta Ray is the kind of restaurant that rightly deserves its reputation as a Tel Aviv institution. Book ahead, because table reservations are in high demand. Note that the city has countless fabulous restaurants and lookout points, and many visitors take Tel Aviv Tours with a professional guide to make sure they won’t miss any gems.
If you’re visiting the Eternal City, and looking for a special place to watch the sunset, you could do worse than to head to Notre Dame - a Cheese & Wine Rooftop experience. But don’t be fooled - it’s far more than the name sounds because this is a restaurant with drop-dead gorgeous views combined with fabulous fare.
Notre Dame, you see, has views over Jerusalem’s fabled Old City (home to iconic sites such as the home of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall) and a wide array of cheeses and wines that will knock your socks off. Across from the New Gate, sit atop this building (which welcomes Christian pilgrims from around the world) and take in unparalleled vistas - of the city and the rolling hills and Judean desert that stretch beyond it.
The restaurant itself offers over 40 kinds of imported gourmet cheeses and more than 60 wines of extensive vintages, if you’re up for some nibbling and sipping, but there’s also a full menu - pumpkin soup, arancini, and halloumi salad all make for excellent appetizers, chestnut ravioli, and goat’s cheese gnocchi will make the vegetarians happy and their salmon lamb cutlets and t bone steak are all wonderful. As for the cocktails - well we’d have to recommend the ‘rooftop delight’ - a mix of white rum, grenadine, and orange juice.
Round it off with their orange creme brulee or their chocolate molten lava cake, as you stare over rooftops that date back to the time of King Herod. Truly memorable.
If you like your meat, then you’ll be in seventh heaven at Moshbutz, located high up in the eastern Golan Heights, where carnivores will find themselves in awe not of the carnivorous offerings placed before them but the ‘wow factor’ views over the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) too.
Even better, all meats served at Moshbutz are sourced from local farms, so the food you’re getting is incredibly fresh and always changing, depending on the season. Homemade chorizo sausage, succulent hamburgers and liver pate, delectable Osso Bucco, and tender, juicy porterhouse steaks will make your mouth water and the drinks menu is also very impressive (try a cabernet from the local Assaf winery or one of their craft beers).
There are vegetarian options - salads and pastas - and the whole menu is based upon creative twists to classic dishes. The desserts are wonderful - try the Levantine malabi or the knafeh (both excellent) - and they have some excellent Digestifs and cognacs on the menu, which are a fine way to round off a good meal.
Moshbutz is farm-to-table at its best - and their superb cuisine combined with breathtaking views makes this a perfect place to go for a romantic dinner or a special occasion - oh, and they even have a small shop next door, where you can buy local produce! Not to be missed.
Attention fish lovers! No trip to Israel can be complete without a visitor to the fabled ‘Uri Buri’ - an institution in the Crusader City of Akko, in northern Israel, and named one of the best restaurants in the world by Trip Advisor in 2019.
Headed by chef Uri Jeremias (with his trademark long white beard and lively personality - he’s known for coming out to the dining room and chatting with guests), it specializes in seafood, which is cooked with incredible care and love and can be enjoyed overlooking the city’s harbor and the beautiful Mediterranean.
Begin with octopus served with zucchini, olive oil, and Arak, or the baby St, Peter’s fish in caramel with beetroot cubes, Gorgonzola shrimp, scallops served with ginger and white wine or the seasons seafood mix (served with couscous, snow peas and carrots) will all make you smile and the vegetarians and vegans aren’t forgotten either, with porcini gnocchi and cauliflower and rice with chili and apple both good choices.
The more adventurous might want to try the sea bass with coconut sauce, chili, and apples or the barramundi in a lemon butter/sage sauce with cauliflower puree or - of course - the tasting menu!
Kiwi soup with Pernod, basil, and red grapefruit, or the fruit trifle has to be the deserts to pick (unless you’re a chocolate fiend, in which case try the ‘Royal Praline - a creamy chocolate with honey and passion fruit sauce. Then just sit there, with a digestif, and look at the sea.
It’s not just Notre Dame that affords you great views of Jerusalem - City View is also a top choice for anyone looking for excellent food and astounding landscapes. Situated close to the Hebrew University, in an Arab neighborhood, it combines influences - Middle Eastern meets fusion meets European in this top-notch dining establishment where service is impeccable and the management makes everyone feel welcome from friendly smiles on arrival to blankets handed out on chilly evenings.
Their focaccia with dips is well worth ordering, as is the Lahmajoon (minced lamb, onions, tomatoes, pomegranates, and molasses baked in dough), lamb cutlets and the sea bass baked in their taboon oven are excellent. There are plenty of excellent salads, an eggplant mashwi (served with lemon juice, pistachio, and pine nuts), fried Jerusalem artichoke, and marvelous Italian-style arancini and pizzas too. Deserts are varied, with old favorites like tiramisu and apple pie a big hit.
City View is a great place to bring friends and guests from abroad - the food menu is varied, portions are enormous and if you don’t like drinking alcohol, order a shisha pipe or one of their famous banana and date milkshakes! Although it’s a bit pricey (because you are paying for the incredible view) this restaurant is not to be missed.
Down in Israel’s south, with unparalleled views of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the tranquil Red Sea, and the red mountains of Israel’s Arava desert behind you, you will find Shuk Dagim which, translated from Hebrew, means ‘Fish Market.’ And Fish lovers won’t be sorry they visited because, for the price of your main course, you’ll also be treated to focaccia bread, salads and entrees.
Calamari rings, ceviche, salmon, and gray mullet are all cooked to perfection. Barramundi, St. Peters fish, and Sea Bream also hit the mark. Grilled shrimp skewers are a popular item and do not fear it if you don’t like fish - they also serve beef filet medallions and grilled rib-eye steaks. Veggies can opt for salads or the cheese ravioli dish, which is served in a cream rose sauce.
Shuk Dagim also offers children’s portions and if you don’t want a full meal, you can order just mezzes. The deserts are plentiful - try the profiteroles or the decadent chocolate souffle served with vanilla ice cream. Stare out at the tranquility of the Red Sea and sigh with delight because it doesn’t get much better than this.
Don’t be fooled by its odd location, atop a supermarket because overlooking the Sea of Galilee you'll find Magdalena, boasting wonderful views of the tranquil lake and exotic flora. This elegant fine-dining restaurant is headed by Chef Youssef (‘Zuzu’) Hanna, who’s made it his mission to provide diners with traditional home-cooked Middle Eastern cuisine, but with a modern twist.
Don’t fill up on the delicious appetizers (which include Jerusalem bread sticks), because the mains are astonishing. The Galilean lamb chops served with bulgur and lentil mujadara (an Iraqi dish), okra, and burnt onions are fabulous, as is the smoked trout with porcini mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke. The shrimp in cream sauce and squid ink pasta are delicious and veggies and vegans are well catered for too - the eggplant carpaccio, with raw tahini, almonds, and pomegranate seed is a treat.
Magdalena has an exciting wine rack (with some good local wines). For dessert, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide between the pistachio creme brulee and their semolina ‘cigars’ - sweet delights filled with ricotta, honey, and nuts.
Expensive but really worth it!
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