Soon after you arrive in Israel for you gap year with Aardvark you will notice that Israelis love to eat. Israel is a country that is hugely passionate about food and this extends to pretty much every kind of food from hummus to sushi to pastries.
As a result you will find that there are masses of places to go out and eat with choices to suit every budget. Another thing that may strike you is the huge amount of bakeries lining the street, in particular in Tel Aviv and around the market in Jerusalem. You are sure to have lots of fun exploring these and tasting their wares, whether you are after a simple loaf of bread, croissants, cakes or the more local bourekas. Here are just a few that we recommend to get you started.
Dallal Bakery – Tel Aviv
Those of you in Tel Aviv should be sure to look this one up. It is located in the neighbourhood of Neve Tsedek on Shabazi Street. The bakery is known for its exquisite tea-party interior and the high quality of its pastries and cakes. While it is one of the more expensive bakeries around, it is definitely worth it as a treat once in a while.
Marzipan – Jerusalem
Located by the market on Agrippas Street, this is probably the most famous of Jerusalem bakeries and it developed its reputation as a result of its rugelach. For those that haven’t yet encountered rugelach you are in for a treat, they are crescent shaped pastries stuffed with delicious fillings such as chocolate, cinnamon, cheese, apple and more. In addition to rugelach you will also find excellent breads, cakes, biscuits and more. There is also a second branch on Emek Refaim, about a 10 minute walk from the Jerusalem apartments, with equally excellent food.
Bourekas Mis – Tel Aviv
If you are looking for a more Middle Eastern kind of pastry then bourekas are the way to go. Bourekas Mis, situated in the middle of the Florentine neighbourhood, is definitely one of the leading bourekas establishments. There is a wide range of fillings to enjoy (cheese, potato, spinach, egg and so on) and the prices are more than fair. This is definitely a great option when looking for a quick bite to eat without having to look far from home.
Lechem Shel Tomer – Jerusalem
This is located on Azza Street in the neighbourhood of Rechavia and it is a fantastic artisan bakery. Here you will find top quality croissants, sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, focaccia, French breads and more. The bakery also serves as a coffee shop and has a small dairy menu. You can either pop in to take stuff home or enjoy sitting there for a while drinking a coffee and sampling some of the wonderful goods on offer.
Le Moulin – Tel Aviv
Despite its French sounding name this bakery is located in the heart of Tel Aviv on Bograshov, close to the Dizengoff shopping centre. It is a small neighbourhood bakery but one that is certainly worth visiting. The bakery makes ten different breads, all from sourdough, inspired by France and San Francisco. You can also enjoy Italian country breads, baguettes, health bread, dried tomato bread and more. The bakery will also make you an excellent baguette sandwich to take with you.
Magdaniat Pe’er – Jerusalem
This is Jerusalem’s oldest bakery and it has branches in both the German Colony (on Hamagid Street), and in the market (on Eitz Chayim Street). Many believe that this is the place to get the best challa, short of making it at home, it is available in white, whole wheat, plaited and round variations, and is the perfect balance of soft and sweet. Of course in addition to challa you can also buy the usual array of cakes, pastries and so on and at the German Colony branch you can sit in a small garden and enjoy the peace and quiet while you eat.
These are just a tiny fraction of all the bakeries you are likely to come across during you time in Israel. However, even if these were the only ones on offer, you are still sure of having a delicious gap year.