Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:30 pm Posts: 1856 Location: The Twin Cities!
Weird! I was just going to start a thread about this too. I'll be going to Jerusalem/Tel Aviv/Haifa for about ten days (also flying out of Vancouver...strangeness!), so I'll be watching this thread too.
My Israeli friend said that if you can't seem to find any vegan options, falafel/hummus are usually a good standby.
_________________ "I love this banana bread." Jacques Derrida
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:56 am Posts: 14 Location: South Africa
When I'm in Israel I always make a plan to go to Cafe Rimon on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. There are plenty of vegan options on the dairy side of the restaurant. Also, there is a superb falafel bar right opposite.
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:02 pm Posts: 105 Location: Vancouver
Hummus gets old pretty quick. It's definitely delicious and plentiful but after 10 days it's a bit much.
But the good news is I had one of the best vegan experiences of my life. If you ever go to Israel you must stop in at the African Israelite community in Dimona. They are a small community of black people, mostly from the states, who are all vegan. The restaurant is in the middle of the community. Everything is home-made, including the wheat gluten. The BBQ kelbone (what they call seitan) was perfect as was the battered tofu. My meal was served with potato salad and greens. They even have a soft serve machine! The women who run the restaurant were so welcoming and sat with me when things slowed down a bit. There isn't a lot happening in Dimona (the other vegan restaurant, Buddha Burger just closed down last week) so I would recommend just driving through, on your way to the Dead Sea.
Tel Aviv is a lot better for vegan food than Jerusalem. There is an African Israelite restaurant, Taste of Life, that made me rethink the boring "tofu burger" that you see on a lot of menus. Creamy sauce with pickles and salad and a homemade patty brimming with flavour. Lots of other options on the menu too. Buddha Burger is the best place to find veganized versions of standard Israeli fast food like shwarma and schnitzel. The shwarma burger was bland but they nailed the schnitzel.
Health food stores have very little in the way of vegan staples like soy yogurt and fake meats. But the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables at the markets really made me wish I had a kitchen to cook in especially when faced with the usually weak breakfast options at hotels. Cinema Hotel in Tel Aviv was decent. There were usually potatoes, hummus and halva spread. One morning there was cauliflower which made me rethink cauliflower as only for dinner!
Bread in Israel is awesome, unless you don't like sesame or poppy seeds.
Coffee culture is very European with most places having passable coffee but I never found one place that seemed to do their own roasting on-site or employ any coffee making method other than an espresso machine or drip coffee.
Do not drink Gold Star beer, the Israeli equivalent of Bud Light or Miller. There are a handful of good microbrews but their expressions are not nearly as diverse as in North America. Porter and Sons in Tel Aviv (near the Cinematheque) had a good selection of on tap and bottled Israeli beer with a knowledgable bartender.
If you need to eat vegan in Israel, the best is to look for kosher dairy restaurant. By this way you will sure no to eat meat and it will be easy to find something with only vegetables. Usually, israelis coffees have vegetables menus.