Worth a stop. Kebab at El-Babor ( Boaz Lavi)
Lamb kebab stew baked with pita on top at El Babor. Photo by Boaz Lavi
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Ortal Alterman
Shakshuka with spinach at Kimmel on the Gilboa. Photo by Ortal Alterman

Driving to Mount Hermon is a gorgeous route, that takes a long time. There are plenty of places aside from convenience store gas stations to stop for a bite to eat on the way, and some of them are excellent. Here are some recommendations when driving from the coastal highway through Tzemach to Majdal Shams.

Itinerary: Coastal Highway > Caesarea Interchange > Wadi Ara > Hasargel Junction > Ta’anachim Highway > Tzemah Junction > Yahudiya > Katzrin > Nimrod > Majdal Shams

Recommended stops

El-Babor — Since many imitations of this must-see restaurant have sprung up all over Israel, it’s a good idea to stop and see where it all began. Husam Abbas offers wonderful food of the Arab Galilee and one of the most delicious kebabs in the whole country. Try the El-Babor Kebab, served with tomato sauce and baked with a wonderful pita on top; mansaf in a pita and mahmar.

The appetizers (NIS 30 to 45 per person) — salads rich with wild winter herbs — are much more than what you find an ordinary grill restaurant.

El-Babor — Route 65, Wadi Ara, Ein Ibrahim Junction, Umm al-Fahm

Kimmel BaGilboa — Shaul Ben Aderet’s old-time Tel Aviv restaurant has a younger sister that overlooks one of the most beautiful views in Israel — the Jezreel Valley. If you go there on a sunny day, sit on the gorgeous terrace outside. The rural-style cuisine, which uses locally-produced ingredients, offers entrees from Kimmel in Tel Aviv (such as the liver pate) alongside breakfast and even hamburger. Don’t miss the spinach shakshuka and if you go there for lunch on Friday, take advantage of the business lunch menu, which offers an appetizer, entree and dessert for NIS 112.

Kimmel BaGilboa — the ski area on the Ta’anachim Highway via Nof Gilboa, between Beit She’an and Afula

1910 — Forget the kibbutz-related cliches. 1910, a new restaurant, has brought Italian-Mediterranean cuisine to Kibbutz Degania Alef and its environs, together with an awareness of fine wines that has returned to the area. The combination of cuisines takes the form of entrees such as Israeli gnocchi stuffed with meat and mutton fat, spiced with baharat and ras el hanout and served on a mousse of aioli and sour cream. The restaurant also offers varieties of pizza and pasta that are prepared in-house. All entrees are offered in portion and half-portion sizes, and at the entrance is a large lawn area where children can run around freely.

1910 — Kibbutz Degania Alef

Marinado — Kibbutz Ein Gev

You may know Marinado, the butcher chain in central Israel that sells premium meats from the Golan Heights. This restaurant does the same, offering a variety of cuts such as entrecote, sirloin, filets and Porterhouse steak, served alongside all kinds of side dishes. Real carnivores can order meat entrees for two or four, and children’s meals are available. Once there, stop off at the deli store and stock up on provisions for the trip.

Marinado, Kibbutz Ein Gev

Moshbutz — Chef Erez Regev (of Odeon) on Moshav Ramot has a breathtaking view of the Galilee mountains, the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee, providing a more romantic than family-oriented atmosphere. Try the carpaccio made with rump steak and pink grapefruit and warm up with beef stew. Carnivores can sink their teeth into the 300-gram beef hamburger.

Moshbutz — Moshav Ramot, the Golan Heights.

The Witches Cauldron and the Milkman — The farther north you go, the more beautiful the view becomes, and the more the food warms you up. This restaurant in the community of Nimrod offers an excellent combination of the view of Mount Hermon, a wooden hut and the most wonderful comfort food you can imagine — kettle-cooked stews. You can also find truffle ravioli and frankfurters prepared on the premises, but we recommend focusing on the stews, which include mushroom stew, veal osso bucco and organic chicken in champagne. Take a tip from us: buy some of the boutique goat cheese available here so that you’ll be able to taste the north even after your trip is over.

The Witches Cauldron and the Milkman — Nimrod, the Golan Heights.