Northern Delights: Seven Great Galilee Eateries

From hummus ground to order to freshly-made Italian ice cream, these places up north are every bit as palate-pleasing as more famous eateries in Tel Aviv.

While Tel Aviv is known for its culinary delights, there is excellent cuisine in the north as well. Some proffer traditional know-how they got from their forefathers; others are following the dream of escapting from the rat-race of the south for the pastoral north. Here are seven recommendations for remarkable offerings up in the Galilee.

Shirat Ro’im Dairy, Kfar Kish

In 2005, Michal Mor Melamed traveled to the Swiss Alps, where a happenstance visit to a local farm and a meeting with the ancient traditional method of cheese-making changed her life. She moved north in 2008 and began making cheese from sheep’s milk at the Kibbutz Reshafim dairy farm. Using traditional methods, she makes close to 20 kinds of well-known European-style cheese. The dairy shop in Kfar Kish is usually open on weekends - call first.

Shirat Ro’im, Kfar Kish (the third left turn after the moshav entrance), 052-254-8052

The Kolot Ha’adama Market, Route 65

Twelve years ago Sa’ar Sela, a fourth-generation descendant of Kfar Tavor’s farmers and vintners, began cultivating his ancestral land. The organic garden he established supplies special vegetables to selected Tel Aviv restaurants, and a farmers’ market has opened there as well.

In addition to the fresh fruits and vegetables, visitors may now buy the excellent sourdough bread baked by local baker Yohanan Arnon (it’s a good idea to ask if there’s any Essene bread in stock). They may also buy locally-produced goat cheese, honey, olive oil and other products from farms in the area. The local farmers’ market is usually open on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The Kolot Ha’adama Market, Route 65 near the Sde Ilan bypass road, www.saarsela.com

Hummus Abu Ghanem, Nazareth

This simple-looking hummus restaurant on Nazareth’s main drag features hummus ground to order and served with harif (a sharp spicy sauce made with hot peppers and lemon); green falafel balls, and a selection of appetizers and salads from the Sharbani family fields.

Hummus Abu Ghanem, Nazareth, Pope Paul VI Street (near the Mashbir department store), Nazareth, 04-646-7237

The Sharabik family restaurant, Kafr Rama

Yaqub Hiat of Kafr Rama went on early retirement and opened a small restaurant based on locally grown produce. The space, with its simple appearance, is in the parking area of one of the village’s buildings. Its seasonal menu comes from the Galilean Palestinian kitchen: well-known dishes such as musakhan, roast chicken with stone-oven-baked pita bread, seasoned with homemade sumac; traditional foods such as eggs baked in fermented goats’ milk; and a creative variety of salads and dishes that feature seasonal wild herbs.

The Sharabik family restaurant, on Kafr Rama’s main street, 04-999-5768

Boza Ice Cream, Tarshiha

Adam Ziv, a resident of Kibbutz Sasa, studied the art of making Italian-style ice cream when he traveled the world. On returning to Israel, he joined up with Ala Switat of the village of Tarshiha, and together they opened an ice-cream shop in the center of Ala’s village. The various kinds of ice cream and sorbet are made every day from the finest local ingredients — tehina, pine nuts and a variety of fresh fruit, together with chocolate and purees of pistachio and chestnut imported from Italy. Last year a small branch of the shop opened in the Turkish bazaar in Acre.

Boza, the Tarshiha village center, 04-873-8984

Hanahtom Restaurant, Nof Golan, Bnei Yehuda

Chef Ronen Lavie moved to the Golan Heights from Tel Aviv to follow a dream, taking with him only the starter he used to make sourdough bread. The varieties of sourdough bread that he bakes each morning include large French country-style loaves. Also available are Italian-style baked goods such as pizza, focaccia and calzone, together with freshly-prepared tomato sauce, real mozzarella cheese and locally-produced olive oil.

Hanahtom Restaurant, Nof Golan commercial center, Bnei Yehuda, 04-660-1222

Dan Peretz
Daniel Tchetchik
Dan Peretz