Going out for a coffee and pastry in Israel conjures up images of the little Mediterranean indulgence that is sitting in a café, people watching, and tucking into a buttery croissant. In Haifa, it might be a quintessentially Israeli chocolate rugelach, European style butter cookie-crusted pie, or sumptuous baklava to go along with your foamy cappuccino or strong Turkish coffee. Whether by the endless Mediterranean waterfront, Old Port, or up in the green hills, Haifa is a city that doesn't lack in options for your morning, or afternoon caffeine fix.
The best cafés in Haifa
A great place to start your day - The original Shany Bakery has been a Haifa establishment since 1964, and has been run by the Abromovitz family for more than three decades. Today, the bakery retains its Mom & Pop charm with original banquet seating, and art-deco mirrors, while maintaining a high standard of the local coffee culture and Eastern European pastry scene. The Old World charm and yeasted cakes are worth paying this spot a visit alone, while the expertly made drinks will have you coming back for more.
Established in celebration of their Grandfather’s Hungarian pastry recipes from the 1940s, and a family-wide affinity for baking, Vizel Bakery opened up shop in 1988. Now, having recently undergone a new renovation, the Nesher location has become a particularly inviting spot to sit, enjoy freshly baked modern and classic European-style pastries, and a good cup of hafuch, made from beans ground right here in Israel’s North.
Café Brussels is known for more than just their decadent cakes, which are carefully crafted by co-owner Chen Magal. The handmade touches reach beyond the decoupaged walls and tables, and translate to the food. You won’t find much that isn’t homemade there, including their hot apple cider (warmly recommended), which is made from apples juiced on site, and simmered with just the right amount of spice. Order the 'Belgian breakfast'-an elevated version of their Israeli breakfast, and you are in for a real treat. Toasty artisan bread is served with wonderful garlic butter, homemade fruit preserves, a variety of cream cheeses (we recommend the delectable smoked salmon and olive goat cheese versions), sundried tomatoes and roasted pepper spread. The breakfast holds a perfect balance of savory and sweet, offering a yogurt and granola fruit parfait that can be eaten throughout the meal or as a dessert. A meal so good to dig into that you will practically forget about your eggs and green salad, which are of course mandatory to the Israeli breakfast experience.
A trendy café on one of the most historical corners of the city, Café Palmer bears the name of the Port gate through which thousands of new immigrants made their way into Israel after World War II. A favorite among the city’s hipster crowd, the café itself combines a vintage feel with personal touches. With a logo paying homage to the sailors who used to roam the area, Café Palmer offers a variety of hot drinks served alongside a rotating menu of homestyle cakes and pastries.
With the largest rare coffee bean assemblage in Israel, Café Ava has been at the forefront of the Israeli coffee scene since before the creation of the State. A Haifa classic, and a highly revered spot to get some of the city’s freshest and most exotic coffee blends, Café Ava is a must visit for the coffee obsessed. With an inventory of over 70 blends, including flavored and self-roasted green coffees, along with specially created tea blends, cookies, cakes, and other café fare, it is no wonder that the café’s reputation continues to strengthen amongst those who frequent its doors.
With its modern French and Israeli style pastries, cakes, tarts, delicious coffees, and friendly staff, Café Sylva is a regular meeting point for upper Haifa’s local population, and an inviting spot for anyone passing through the area. Once you’ve eaten here you will be tempted to return again and again for the delicious baked goods and pastries, spot-on Mediterranean café food, and coffee art.
A delicious addition to the New Downtown’s pedestrian Turkish Market streets, Boston George combines personable service with a range of hot and cold drinks, and the pastry stylings of owner George Ben Gal’s father, pastry chef Simon Ben Gal. Café-goers looking to sit outside will find it the opportune place to catch up on their people watching, while they sip the spot’s unique coffee and tea blends. Those sitting inside have the chance to eye the display case of elegantly decorated mousse cakes and desserts, as well as the cartoon art covered walls.
Located in upper Haifa’s Denya junction is everyone’s favorite neighborhood café and bakery: Konditoria Pie. Owned by pastry chef Erez Vaknin and family, they offer all things delicious ranging from freshly baked savory quiches and borekas, to Friday morning musts, like stacks of yeasted coffee cakes, ready to go, Israeli-style cheesecakes, and more. Just down the road from Haifa University, Konditoria Pie is a great choice for cake, coffee, and conversation any day of the week.
Walk into Abd el Hadi sweets shop in the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas, and you won’t believe your eyes. Endless varieties of baklava made in-house and stacked into artful pyramids, fill the shop, along with the supersized trays of local delicacy, orange knaffe, made of syrup drenched buttery shredded phyllo dough and mild sheep’s cheese, ready to be cut and served warm. Eat at the few small tables available, or get an assortment of your choosing freshly vacuum sealed to-go. The sticky syrup drenched treats and small white cups of cardamom-laced extra strong Turkish coffee create a serendipitous combination that has pleased the shop’s customers for the last 35 years.