If you have been following the various posts on the food fans’ website, you may have noticed that food has a place of honor in Israeli culture. Food in Israel is not only food for the body, but primarily food for the soul, an excuse to meet friends and family, a place of hospitality and festivity. Alongside the many restaurants throughout Israel, there are also food markets filled with scents and colors, differing from town to town in style, supply and atmosphere, but one thing is for sure, a visit to a market in Israel is a unique culinary experience.
Markets in Israel
Israel has many markets, but the most famous ones are in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv. These markets serve not only as food and leisure centers but have also become a mandatory visiting place for politicians during election campaigns. Once you arrive in Jerusalem, visit the Machane Yehuda Market, a central food market in Jerusalem that started back in the late 19th century. Once Jerusalem was conquered by the British, they developed the market, turning it into a regulated place with all required amenities, in order to maintain Jerusalem’s traditional character and offer workplaces to its residents. Today, alongside historical food stalls, one may find in the market designer clothes, organic food and gourmet restarts, the most famous of which are Machaneyehuda, alongside mythical restaurants such as Azura, the Chatzot Steakery and Sima. In recent years, the market has been transformed, and after nightfall and the closing of food stands, local bars offering a youthful nighttime experience differing from Tel Aviv’s nightlife open up.
When you visit Tel Aviv, don’t forget to visit the Carmel Market. True Tel Aviv denizens shop in the Carmel Market, for this is one of Tel Aviv’s most unique spots. You can’t escape the shouts of the peddlers, the scents and flavors alongside Mediterranean music, bars and restaurants offering food based on fresh market commodities. All these make every visit to the Carmel Market an impressive experience. Mythical restaurants such as Maganda, Shlomo’s hummus restaurant and Shimon’s soup restaurant will quickly immerse you into the relaxed, Mediterranean atmosphere of the Kerem Hateymanim Neighborhood, where the market is built. Like the Machane Yehuda Market, the Carmel Market also offers gourmet restaurants by day and bars by night. The market is particularly crowded on Fridays, when the artists and designers market is held in the nearby Nachlat Biynamin Street.
Alongside the major markets, there are also markets that come to major cities one or two days a week. These markets offer fruit and vegetables straight from the farm – you can check out the local market at the hotel when you arrive. In Tel Aviv you can find them on Fridays in the Port Market in Tel Aviv Port. The market, a “gastronomic amusement park”, as developers call it, is similar to leading food markets in the world such as the Borough Market in London and the Boqueria in Barcelona. Another unique market in Tel Aviv is the Levinsky Market, offering fresh olives, pickled fish, dried fruit, tea from around the world, boutique cheeses and wines – along with a fascinating shopping experience at the Levinsky Market. Restaurants such as the Yahaloma Bistro and Ouzeria will show you how gourmet cuisine is combined with basic local products – a must visit. And if you come to Haifa, go to the market in Wadi Nisnas for a different culinary experience, where you can find food stalls filled with wild herbs and Baladi vegetables that you cannot find anywhere else. Israel is important to Israelis, have we mentioned that already?