Finding where to eat in Nazareth is never an easy task, even for those of us in the Holy Land for yonks. But eating out in Nazareth is so much more of a culinary delight than you probably ever realized.
It’s no good asking the locals for a Nazareth recommendation as you’ll likely be disappointed…many Israelis are also unaware of the great local restaurant scene, as they typically head for the renowned hummus and Middle Eastern-type restaurants that Nazareth is also known for (such as the famous Diana restaurant).
So to put the record straight, we’ve compiled a list of the best restaurants in Nazareth, five little gems well worth investigating if you’re in town…
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El-Reda, 21 Bishara St, the Old City of Nazareth
This great little restaurant in the Old City of Nazareth is perfect for almost all occasions. Despite the restaurant allowing smoking, you can often find a great spot near the big windows, and the great character of this 120 year old building more than makes up for it (though if you’re a real smoke hater, you probably won’t enjoy). Catch some great views from the rooftop terrace, and the desserts shouldn’t be missed! No question, this is one of the north of Israel’s best restaurants.
Kitabon, 50 El-Bishara St, the Old City of Nazareth
Fairly new to the restaurant scene in Nazareth is this modern, funky restaurant that comes complete with some very tasty modern twists on some traditional Arab dishes. You can also check out some of the local art and culture, with an upstairs gallery that hosts a variety of pics, photos and even on-the-fly jamming sessions (complete with oud)!
Not expensive, with some great local dishes to try, some of which you won’t find anywhere else in town (we enjoyed the hummus (with a twist) and the oven-baked minced lamb and veal served on a bed of potatoes and tomatoes). Great staff, nice and friendly, and this place is also perfectly located for walking around afterwards, to burn all those calories off…
Tishreen, 56 El-Bishara St, the Old City, near Mary’s Well
This Nazareth restaurant opened in 2004 and is named after the month it was opened (tishreen is Arabic for October). This sophisticated restaurant has a great atmosphere, with a delightful mix of Middle Eastern and European cuisine.
Not cheap, but with plenty of great choices for both vegetarians and meat eaters, including some delightful Mediterranean-inspired dishes like aubergine stuffed with pesto and cheese, an Arabic pizza known as muhammar topped with chicken and onion slices, plus some very great salads. Also some great waiters and waitresses to keep you happy and served.
Bayat, Mary’s Well St., Nazareth
Bayat is a great little restaurant, with some tasty dishes, a young, lively atmosphere and a big selection of alcohol (the place is owned by Christians, hence the free-flowing alcohol – including Taibe beer, the only real Palestinian beer). Choose to sit outside if it’s not too hot (and join the smokers), or sit inside/at the bar.
With friendly and tri-lingual staff (Arabic, English, Hebrew), this is an excellent place to take some respite from the tourist trail in Nazareth. Relaxed pace, but catch the chicken breast, and for the kids try a personal-sized pizza.
Sudfeh, 6083/35, Nazareth
UPDATE: Sudfeh is now closed.
This Nazareth restaurant is located close to the famous Fauzi Azar Inn. Sudfeh, which means “by chance” in Arabic, gives you not only a gastronomical experience, but also an architectural one, with its amazing location in a beautiful, old stone building.
The fare on offer is mainly gourmet, and largely cheaply priced. Don’t miss the traditional side dishes; small plates of hummus, labaneh, tabuleh, vine leaves, Arab salad, etc. And if you’re in the mood, try the highly potent local Arak, a strong anis-flavored liquor. Highly recommended.