7 veteran restaurants in Israel that have stood the test of time

Dine for the decades at these long-standing iconic culinary establishments
Courtesy of PR
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Israel’s 70th anniversary festivities are a wonderful opportunity to remember the veteran food establishments from all over the country, which to this day offer delicious dishes steeped in history. We may be a small country, but we’ve got a big appetite, and these seven restaurants in Israel know how to deliver year after year.

The longest standing restaurants in Israel

1
Sender
© PR
Restaurants, Jewish

Sender

icon-location-pin Tel Aviv - Jaffa

In the grim Israeli culinary reality, a restaurant with 70 years of experience is quite the miracle. Tel Aviv's Sender restaurant, which opened during the year of Israel's establishment, has stuck to tradition for seven impressive decades and continues to serve kosher Eastern European food to fans of all ages. The cozy spot made its first appearance in Jaffa, then moved to the outskirts of Levinsky market a few years later, where it stands strong to this day. Current owner Zami Schreiber is already second or third generation, depending on how you look at it. His father and grandfather set up the restaurant together in partnership with Chef Sender, and when the founding generation retired Schreiber became the sole owner. As owner, he takes special care to preserve the attractive home cooked menu. Loyal regulars come again and again to taste cholent and kishke, chopped liver, tongue, chicken soup with kreplach and noodles, and egg salads. The ambiance is reminiscent of restaurants from the past, with a large soda tap, photographs of political and cultural figures hanging on the walls, and a family feel that can't be beat.

2
Dolphin Yam
© Eyton Dor and Shlomi Shalom
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Dolphin Yam

icon-location-pin Jerusalem City Center

Dolphin Yam opened its doors for the first time in 1967, when the city was liberated. It became the first Israeli restaurant to open in East Jerusalem, on Salah A Din Street. With the outbreak of the first Intifada, the restaurant was closed in East Jerusalem and moved to Tel Aviv until the beginning of the 21st century, then returned home to the capital. Over its 51 years, the veteran restaurant has hosted international actors and singers, politicians, security officials, and lawyers and academics, including Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Henry Kissinger, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan, and more. Another thing that distinguishes this restaurant from the pack is its connection to French cuisine and seafood. Most of the restaurants in Jerusalem are kosher, but Dolphin Yam serves up seafood, fish, meat, pasta, vegetarian dishes, and children's dishes as well. The interior is bright, inviting, and versatile – suitable for a romantic or family meal, while sitting on the balcony overlooking the streets of Jerusalem provides the perfect people watching perch.

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3
Penguin
© Anatoly Michaello
Restaurants, Contemporary European

Penguin

icon-location-pin Nahariyya

The Penguin Restaurant in Nahariya was established in 1940 by the Oppenheimer family, a Zionist family that immigrated from Germany and chose to settle in the Western Galilee for ideological reasons. At that time, there were no restaurants in the Galilee, and no entertainment culture existed at all. The residents looked at the new place suspiciously, but soon took it into their hearts. In the 1960s, when Nahariya became a popular resort city, the best musicians in town would use the space to perform for guests and young couples on their honeymoon. They hired new immigrants looking for jobs as cooks, and the menu changed accordingly to include classic dishes from Romania, Hungary, and Morocco: Goulash, Spätzle, sausages, Bavarian steaks with sauerkraut and mustard, blintzes with mushrooms and cream, and schnitzel. Penguin is located in the city center near the Ga'aton river, and is considered a favorite meeting point even today. It is still managed by members of the Oppenheimer family and makes sure to preserve its nostalgic spirit with music and dance evenings and black and white photographs decorating the walls. A crisp Viennese apple strudel topped with vanilla ice cream and a generous heap of whipped cream is a must, whether you've just finished a full meal or are taking a short coffee break.

4
Restaurant, European, Kosher
© PR
Restaurants, Cafés

Café Kadosh

icon-location-pin Jerusalem City Center

The name of the baking empire and pastry shop in the heart of Jerusalem has long since crossed the borders of the capital and is familiar to every foodie and patisserie enthusiast. Kadosh Café was founded in 1967 by Meir Kadosh and is now managed by his son Itzik and daughter-in-law Keren. While the space has remained its same intimate size, the old recipes have been adapted and the menu has grown with the times to include breakfasts, sandwiches, and salads, plus special treats like beet pancakes, stuffed mushrooms, and fresh handmade pasta. The dessert display has also gotten bigger and is now reminiscent of a patisserie in Paris with sweet and salty pastries, cakes, and personal desserts like éclairs and tartlets. The Kadoshes insist on staying put in the same mythological place, ensuring a queue at the entrance, but customers are willing to wait since their patience is more than rewarded. A few months ago, the café celebrated its 50th anniversary.

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