Eat your way through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with two culinary escapades
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Palate pleaser

Eat your way through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with two culinary escapades

Open Restaurants Jerusalem and Tel Aviv’s Roundtables Tour start in mid-November, offering foodie delights for every palate

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

  • Cakes and confections from the Kadosh cafe at Open Restaurants Jerusalem 2017 (Courtesy Tomer Poltin)
    Cakes and confections from the Kadosh cafe at Open Restaurants Jerusalem 2017 (Courtesy Tomer Poltin)
  • Pouring drinks during Open Restaurants Jerusalem 2017, one of many local culinary events (Courtesy Eti Namir)
    Pouring drinks during Open Restaurants Jerusalem 2017, one of many local culinary events (Courtesy Eti Namir)
  • Cafe Kadosh, known for its baked goods, will host one of the opening events of Open Restaurants Jerusalem 2018 (Courtesy Antoly Michaelo)
    Cafe Kadosh, known for its baked goods, will host one of the opening events of Open Restaurants Jerusalem 2018 (Courtesy Antoly Michaelo)
  • Bartenders from the Gatsby cocktail bar will be pouring drinks for Open Restaurants Jerusalem at the temporary bar of Fink's, the legendary watering hole currently on display at the Tower of David museum (Courtesy Igor Pavrov)
    Bartenders from the Gatsby cocktail bar will be pouring drinks for Open Restaurants Jerusalem at the temporary bar of Fink's, the legendary watering hole currently on display at the Tower of David museum (Courtesy Igor Pavrov)

November brings the foodie season to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with the start of Open Restaurants Jerusalem on November 14-17, and the fourth annual AMEX Roundtables Tour in Tel Aviv, from November 11-23.

The two culinary celebrations differ from one another; the Roundtables Tour is a week-long event during which visiting chefs take over the kitchens of Tel Aviv’s most popular restaurants, and diners can reserve places at the participating eateries.

Seats get reserved quickly for the Tel Aviv Roundtables, so reserve your tables now. This year’s festival offers a twist, with a delegation consisting of only women chefs.

They include Slovenia’s top chef, Hisa Franko, Italy’s chef Isa Mazzochi and Hong Kong’s Judy Joo. Perhaps the best known among the bunch is New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton of the Lower East Side’s Prune, recent winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for Most Outstanding Chef, and the author of several cooking bestsellers.

Chef Gabrielle Hamilton will participate in Tel Aviv’s 2018 Roundtables Tour, hosted by CoffeeBar (Courtesy PR)

Hamilton will be at Tel Aviv’s CoffeeBar, collaborating with chef Ohad Salomon.

Open Restaurants Jerusalem offers up the restaurants, cafes, kitchens and even museum galleries of the city to chefs and diners, offering a combination of workshops, meals and talks during the four-day event.

The Jerusalem event will open on November 14 with two events, a five-course meal hosted by chef Assaf Granit at the Israel Museum, where he will expound on seventy years of culinary arts and fashion at the Israel Museum, and another hosted by chefs Karen and Shalom Kadosh of Cafe Kadosh at Jerusalem’s new aquarium.

Other events include Master Chef winner Nof Atamna working with chef Asaf Seri at Mahneyuda’s sister bar, Yudale, and the delights of a reopened Fink’s bar, the legendary Jerusalem watering hole that has been temporarily set up at the Tower of David Museum for the “London in Jerusalem” exhibit. Fink’s will be working with local cocktail bar Gatsby’s.

Mouli and Edna Azrieli, the owners of Fink’s, a legendary Jerusalem bar, now part of the ‘London in Jerusalem’ exhibit at the Tower of David Museum, open until December 2018. (Courtesy, Oded Antman)

Open Restaurants Jerusalem will feature other sides of the food world as well, with an exhibit on foods made from paper, workshops for kids, foodie films at the Cinematheque, an event with chef Tali Friedman and Juanjo Perles, Spains’ most promising chef, celebrating tapas.

There are several Jerusalem-only kinds of event, such as Shabbat morning ‘kiddush’ invites in the Rechavia neighborhood, and an Italian meal with monks in the Casa Nova church in Ein Kerem.

There’s also the celebration at local restaurants, from Mahneyuda, Adom, Jacko Street and Eucalyptus to Dwiny Pita Bar, the reopened Rama’s Kitchen, Casino de Paris, the Mamilla Hotel eateries, and other dining locations around the city.

Chef Moshe Basson outside his Eucalyptus Restaurant in Jerusalem (Liron Almog/Flash 90)

One of the most inexpensive ways to experience Open Restaurants Jerusalem is with the combined CityPass light rail card and Bitemojo, the food tasting app that’s offering tasting packages for the event.

All told, there are more than 100 events for Open Restaurants Jerusalem, all available on the Open Restaurants website.

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