8 Haifa specialty food stores and delis that will knock your socks off
Wondering where to find obscure foodie delights from abroad right here in Israel? But also craving the best of the best in local dried fruit, bulk halva, spices, professional baking products and cookware? LaGaat B’Ochel practically has it all. Whether you’re seeking bubble gum flavored arak, jelly belly candies, or a seemingly endless variety of pickles and imported products from different cuisines and kitchens, this is the place to get your soup on (yes, they serve it hot for you to savor while you shop), while you geek out over the bounty of special food products.
Newly opened in Haifa’s open-air market, Artishoke is already making a splash on the Israeli healthy eating scene. Offering vegan, gluten free, and sugar-free options in both groceries and ready to eat food, such as snacks, treats, and wholesome sandwiches, the boutique food store offers up a solution for every dietary need you may have. A hip market and lunch spot by day, this unique store also transforms into a bar on Thursday evenings, when beer on tap is served at alarmingly low prices, and in delightful company.
Giving the other specialty stores a run for their money, this supermarket is jam-packed with the good stuff. Americans craving sodas from the “old country” will be delighted to find many options (we spotted both Dr. Pepper and Dr. Browns, among other rare drink findings). More serious food lovers will revel in their wide selection of international cheeses, hard to find bottled sauces, obscure European baking products, and a never-ending list of specialty products. The store’s extensive spirits section also carries a rare touch of local identity, with nearby boutique wine makers stocking their own products on the shelf- including varieties that are produced just for the store. Israeli craft beers from around the country line the shelves, and can be picked up along with the regular items on your grocery list. Home-style Israeli food can be bought to tide you over until you get home, if you can hold out on busting into your sweet grocery haul for that long.
Wondering where they keep the homemade arak and authentic halva made in the heart of the West Bank, in Haifa city? The Appetizer, found in the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas, stocks many culinary wonders of the wider Middle East, and mixes them with local delights such as freshly ground strong Turkish coffee. There you can find a wide selection of bulk spices, exotic dried fruits (including Persian mulberries and goji berries), and ghee, as well as hidden Western treasures of yester-yore (can you say orange tang and cocktail onions?)