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Eating out in Haifa

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Eating out in Haifa is a far more diverse, fun scene than was once the case for this largely industrial city. On a recent trip, I found two great new places in the Central Carmel district, courtesy of André Suidan’s suggestions. I strongly recommend Renestro, a bistro at 99 Yefe Nof Street.

Renestro Restaurent

The restaurant’s slogan is “dine with a viewpoint,” and what a view! The entire back wall of the restaurant is glass with windows offering that spectacular view of Haifa Bay, and it seems perched on the slopes of Mount Carmel, hanging in the air. But beyond the view, the food was extraordinary—some of the best of any trip to Israel. I had a filleted fish dish with a lemon butter sauce, and I was about to pass out with pleasure. Caution—the courses are huge! Another good choice is Voilà, which features delicious Swiss-French cuisine, located in Central Carmel at 119 Ha-Nasi Boulevard.

Jacko’s is a great fish and seafood restaurant at down in the port area at 12 Kehilat Saloniki Street; they also have branches in Tel Aviv, Netanya, and Herzliya. I’ve also enjoyed a Chinese restaurant called Tokai, or Sea Waves in Hebrew, at 108 Yefe Nof.

Jacko’s is a great fish and seafood restaurant

Venturing out a bit, check out the gorgeous and interesting German Colony on Ben-Gurion Boulevard on the port-level, a fun area of restaurants and night life. You can take the Carmelit subway from the top station in Central Carmel all the way to the last station; from there, it is about a 10 minute walk to the German Colony. (At this writing, the Carmelit is shut down for renovation; check first.) You can also take a bus from the Carmel Center area in front of the Dan Panorama directly to Ben-Gurion Boulevard; check with your hotel. In the German Colony, I recommend my favorite Haifa restaurant, Douzan with its colorful and delightful owner, Fadi Najjar. Douzan is at 35 Ben-Gurion Boulevard.

Douzan

In nice weather, take an outside table with that spectacular night view of the Bahà’ì Gardens up the side of Mount Carmel—breathtaking!—but interior tables are also available. Fadi is a unique Haifa experience, hovering over the proceedings with careful attention and great affection as he kisses the cheeks of women, men, IDF soldiers, American sailors; it doesn’t matter. Whether or not you get smooched, tell Fadi “shalom” from me, please! His English is limited, so you may have to have a friend or staff member translate. Or just say “Douglas” and wave my guidebook at him! For inexpensive but very good Middle Eastern food, you can try Abu Yusuf near the Ford garage in downtown Haifa, the port area. It’s very informal and in a dead neighborhood at night, but offers plentiful and tasty food at a very reasonable price. It’s near the Paris Square Carmelit stop

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