In the beginning there were Israeli breakfasts that offered a full meal for a fixed, reasonable price. Then local eateries came up with the idea of the business lunch ("aruha iskit"), quick, tasty and relatively inexpensive meals meant to lure patrons who may not eat out much or need to wheel and deal over food. Now restaurants are turning their attention to night owls, with more and more of them tapping into the market of late-night revelers who want to end the night on a full stomach. What do these partiers want to eat? Turns out, a lot of carbs, a little meat, and greasy foods that soak up the booze. (Sometimes sushi does the trick, too.) Here some of our choices for best late-night dining in Israel:
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Eggs Benedict Joe at Benedict
If you're not yet familiar with Benedict, this is all you need to know: The chain believes breakfast is not when you eat, but what you eat. That said, you can order breakfast at any time of day or night and most of its meals offer visitors a solid deal.
The deal: The Eggs Benedict Joe is just what the average bon vivant is looking for in the early hours of the morning: a large portion whose ingredients will help lower your blood alcohol level. The eggs are smothered with a whopping serving of slightly sweet ground meat (think of a Sloppy Joe), which is all served up on buttery brioche and doused with Hollandaise sauce. The result is a sweet-and-salty meal that will be sheer pleasure to wolf down.
Price: NIS 45 including salad and beverage
When: Every night from midnight until 8 in the morning
Benedict – Click here for the full list of branches
Big Mama’s Italian option
Tel Aviv’s Big Mama left its legendary location in the Carmel Market in February and moved to Hashmonaim Street not far from the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. Back in the 1990s, Big Mama was the only restaurant that fed hungry patrons of the night clubs on Allenby Street. Since then, Big Mama has moved, expanded and spent some time as a takeout-only place. Now it offers only business lunches and late-night specials, even on Friday nights.
The deal: Decisions, decisions! Big Mama doesn't believe in small portions, nor does it offer discounts if you don’t want a full multi-course meal. There are two options here, for NIS 49 or NIS 59, depending on your choices. Each one includes focaccia, an appetizer and a main dish (pizzas, fresh pasta with meat). The wasabi salad – combining wasabi peas with green beans, feta cheese and pieces of focaccia generously covered with a balsamic vinaigrette – is recommended, as is the goose radiatore for a main dish. Definitely one of the best options for this period of belt-tightening (economically speaking, of course).
Price: NIS 49/59
When: Sunday-Friday, from 5 P.M. until the last customer
Big Mama – 95 Hashmonaim St., Tel Aviv
Malawach pizza at Night Kitchen
Night Kitchen is one of the liveliest and sexiest places in town. Chef Yoav Bliman and his savvy, night-owl-friendly staff have cooked up a venue that combines cool nightlife, creative cuisine and bountiful booze.
The deal: Even the name of Night Kitchen's late-night meals -- “Late Bite” -- whet our appetite. The deal offers a stunning selection of main courses, which can come with fries and a drink for an extra NIS 12. So what's on the menu? A Sloppy Joe Bolognese – beef and melted cheese on a hot roll with pickled vegetables; an almond croissant with home-made pastrami; or cured beef, served with a sunny side-up egg, Parmesan and roasted tomatoes; lamb sausage on a roll with Chipotle aioli and pickled cabbage. We went for the malawach pizza, made with crispy puff pastry and broccoli, chopped onions, roasted peppers, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, Parmesan and Mozzarella. If that doesn’t hit the spot, what will?
When: Seven days a week, from 11:30 P.M.
Night Kitchen – 43 Lilienblum St., Tel Aviv
High-end sushi at low prices at Yakimono
Founded in 1994 and located on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, Yakimono is one of Israel’s oldest and finest Japanese restaurants. It serves up sushi and other Japanese fare of outstandingly high quality, which has led some to think it's pretentious or out of their reach. Yakimono has in recent years tried to construct a more inclusive image and accessible menu that doesn’t skimp on ambiance.
The deal: A generous “sampler meal” that includes 12 mini-size main courses from the menu that might ordinarily have cost you an arm and a leg. The meal begins with miso soup and moves onto salads, such as Yakimono’s famous sashimi salad, tempura portions, nigiri and, of course, goma sushi mori (rice balls covered with thin slices of yellowtail tuna). The latter could easily earn the best sushi in town award.
Price: NIS180 per person for 12 mini-sized sampler portions
When: Seven days a week, from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M.
Yakimono – 19 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv
The best night-time deals outside Tel Aviv
For those looking to spice things up in the wee hours of the morning, dig into one of Moses’s burgers. The art burger is huge, tastes great and comes with a side of tasty fries. And let's not forget the pepper ketchup. You can also get a classic 200-gram hamburger with a side or those with a stomach of steel can try the gargantuan burger ("hovek olam") with a side and choice of cocktail, chaser or a mug of Goldstar – all for a price that won't break the bank. We love the Tokyo burger, which comes with shredded purple cabbage and a spicy wasabi sauce that was so tangy we just couldn’t get enough. If you don’t want fries, you can ask for wedges – seasoned slices of potato that perfectly complement this spicy meal.
Price: art burger (200 gm.) with side order – NIS 41; gargantuan burger with a side order – NIS 51
When: Seven days a week, from 11:30 P.M.
Moses – Click here for a full list of branches
Sheinkin, in Ra'anana, is one of the loveliest spots in town – and not just because it stays open late. Its evening special, between 8 and 10 P.M., includes a main dish and a glass of wine or beer for NIS 55. Try the very thin schnitzel (battered and fried chicken breast), which comes with stir-fried potato slices smothered in a sweet chili sauce.
Price: NIS 55
When:Sunday through Thursday, 8 P.M. to 10 P.M.
Sheinkin – 5 Hayetzira St., Ra’anana
Barbis Diner & Bar
No city is complete without an American-style diner. This epicurean eatery in southern Israel is celebrating its tenth anniversary and is the place to go to satisfy your craving for a hearty meal (after which, you can take a snooze on one of the adjacent sofas). From 11:30 P.M. on, Barbis offers its late-night deal, a 160-gm. Hamburger, for just NIS 29. Want more beef? Add less than NIS10 and you get a 230-gm. burger.
Price: NIS 29 for a 160-gm. burger and NIS 37 for a 230-gm. burger
When:Seven days a week, from 11:30 P.M.
Barbis Diner & Bar – 19 Tarshish St., Eilat
Sinta Bar Express
Speaking of diners, Haifa has one, too: Sinta Bar Express, the less expensive, livelier sibling of Sinta Bar. Here you can bite into burgers, chicken nuggets, steaks, kebabs, monstrously huge sandwiches and even vegetarian shawarma. The diner’s nighttime specials are almost unbeatable, especially compared to other establishments in the Haifa area. For NIS 55 you can choose between a lamb burger or "entrecote Sloppy Joe" – a fresh cut of steak that has been minced into a burger, and comes with a side order and a cool beer.
Price: NIS 55 for a main course, a side order and a third of a liter of beer
When: Seven days a week, from 10:30 P.M.
Sinta Bar Express – 131 Moriah Ave., Haifa
This Italian eatery offers multiple options for peckish night owls. The first is a main course with either dessert or appetizer for NIS 69; for another NIS 20 you get an appetizer, main course and dessert. We recommend the slightly sweet beet carpaccio with gnocchi Quattro, Piano! Piano!’s flagship dish. The restaurant also offers a glass of wine or lambrusco for NIS 10 if you're not done drinking.
Price: NIS 69 for a main course plus dessert/appetizer; NIS89 for a full-course meal
Piano! Piano! – 2 Hatamar St., G Center compound, Yokneam