The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread: Israeli Sandwiches

Hunting down the finest sandwiches in Israel’s three big cities – Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Eyal Toueg

We scouted out Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa in order to find the cities’ best sandwiches. Now you’ll always be able to find a good sandwich in your lunch hour of need...

Bracha Sandwich Bar

Eyal Toueg

It feels as though time stopped at Bracha’s. Signs and a design you don’t usually see are the setting for long lines, and sandwiches that have become the stuff of legend in a city with a special affection for them. Bracha prepares each sandwich with love (and quite a lot of character). Lovers of the clearly nonkosher sausage and cheese combo will find the ultimate pampering awaiting them, in warm bread slightly toasted on the grill. Others can enjoy the omelet sandwich, which is no less tasty. Prices are about 27 shekels (about $7), depending on the sandwich.

Bracha Sandwich Bar, 12 Shabtai Levy, Haifa

Carmel Sandwich Bar

Quite a few friends from Haifa swore by the Carmel Sandwich Bar as the best in town. You can put almost anything into their straight-from-the-oven ciabatta, so the choice itself is dizzying and confusing – from Scandinavian cheese and American cheddar to meatballs and chorizos, and even mixed meats, schnitzel and an impressive Sloppy Joe. In short, a small, “immoral” paradise. Prices range from 29-50 shekels.

Carmel Sandwich Bar, 128 Hanasi Boulevard, Haifa

Shredded beef sandwich at The Duke

Rotem Maimon

Let’s start with a confession: Our expectations for surprising food weren’t high here, but Irish pub The Duke caught us unawares. What exactly did we find? A shredded beef sandwich (58 shekels): The meat undergoes a long cooking process and acquires a juiciness that is similar to confit. The bread roll that successfully absorbs the liquids provides a good contrast. The bonus: wonderful French fries served as a side dish.

The Duke pub, 17 Moriah Boulevard, Haifa

Herring baguette at Sherry Herring

Tali Mayer

When you talk about the magical combination that happens only in a sandwich, there’s no better example than the baguette at Sherry Ansky’s small stand in Tel Aviv Port Market. An outstanding baguette, good butter, onion and great fish are all you need to make this the perfect sandwich.

Sherry Herring, Hangar 12, Tel Aviv Port Market

Umami at Sandwich

Rotem Maimon

A number of tempting sandwiches are on offer at this small joint, which concentrates on unconventional sandwiches, and the umami sandwich conceals a huge richness of flavors: A scrambled egg that remains slightly soft, stir-fried mushrooms, Salicornia seaweed that adds an interesting salty sea flavor, and a Parmesan cheese spread that complements everything. Fifty shades of salty, and that’s great. So great. Price: 36 shekels.

Sandwich, 59 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv

Itzik and Ruti’s egg salad sandwich

Rotem Maimon

Itzik and Ruti on Sheinkin has long held legend status, and today the next generation is carrying on the tradition. They pile on salads, sausages and even choucroute on plain but fun rolls. We always return for the old-fashioned egg salad sandwich, with extra fried onions. And if that’s not enough, there’s also zucchini salad. An advantage is that it’s open very early in the morning – which is why many folks returning from a night out snack there before going to bed. A disadvantage: one sandwich isn’t enough. Price: 20 shekels.

Itzik and Ruti, 53 Sheinkin, Tel Aviv

Levinsky Market

Rotem Maimon

Levinsky Market is full of tasty treasures, and even more so in the sandwich department – to the point where we had difficulty choosing only one. On a particularly meaty day, there aren’t many who can rival the packed meat sandwiches of Boutique Naknik, with its array of fine mustards. When you want to pamper yourself with a sandwich you won’t find anywhere else in Israel, it’s great fun to order a sandwich in the Yom Tov Delicatessen, where they’ll make you the sandwich of your dreams. Just don’t forget to ask for some of the wonderful pickled vegetables they prepare and spread out on top of the cheese fridge.

If you have a little more free time, drop in to Devochka. Each time we go, we find it difficult to choose from the tempting selection in the shop window, but we also know that whatever we choose will be very tasty. Our choice: a rich cheese sandwich, chock-full of good things and filling enough for the entire day.

Rotem Maimon

Boutique Naknik, 50 Levinsky; Yom Tov Delicatessen, 43 Levinsky; Devochka, 42 Hahalutzim, Tel Aviv

The Carmel Market sandwiches

As at Levinsky, the revival of food stands in the Carmel Market has led to a serious rise in the number of good sandwiches you can eat there. Every time we visit, we proclaim the one we just ate the winner – until we taste the next one.

The workers’ sandwich at Hashomer 1 is the perfect sandwich, which even those who hate “meorav Yerushalmi” (Jerusalem offal) will like, thanks to the perfect seasoning, the excellent tehina and the delicate spicy kick.

On the other hand, the arepa sandwich at the Venezuelan stand is one whose like you won’t taste anywhere else in Israel, especially with the brilliant combination of slow-cooked meat and melted cheese (don’t forget the vegan version with guacamole and frijoles).

Gil Gutkin

Lovers of spicy food and Indian food will find what they want at Bunny Chow, with excellent curry dishes in a sweet challah.

Shmuel offers one of the tastiest kebabs in town, in a pita that’s a perfect balance of meat, vegetables and sauce.

Carb addicts must try a boureka in pita at the bourekas stand, because there aren’t many things tastier than soft potatoes wrapped in a crisp pastry that’s placed into a soft pita, with a little chirashi and spicy seasoning.

It’s always good to end the tour at M25, where you must try the wonderful arayes, which combines especially crisp pita with juicy and wonderfully seasoned meat, plus tomato salad with tehina and pickled lemon.

Hashomer 1, 1 Hashomer; Arepa’s, 38 Hacarmel, corner of Shefer; Bunny Chow, 13 Hacarmel; corner of Yishkon, Shmuel, 21 Hacarmel, corner of Rabbi Meir; Boureka , 42 Hacarmel; M25, 30 Hacarmel Alley, Tel Aviv

“Cherry” toast at Cafe Kadosh

The place with the most French chic in the capital serves the toast with the nice name, “duvdevan” (cherry). But don’t believe all this pleasantness, because behind the name lurks a very rich sandwich combining fatty goat’s cheese with a strong Roquefort, both garnished with several sweet figs.

The combination of salty, sweet and spicy has never been tastier. Price: 42 shekels.

6 Shlomtzion Hamalka, Jerusalem

A green sandwich at Shraga Café

The sandwiches at the Shraga Café remind you that “simplicity wins,” especially when the ingredients are outstanding. And if you hanker after simplicity, we particularly recommend the green sandwich – an omelet full of herbs, tehina seasoned with lemon, fresh tomato and pickle. Not overly sophisticated: a sandwich from your childhood, very well made. Price: 37 shekels.

Shraga Café, 3 Yanai, Jerusalem