In recent years, Israel has become known for its thriving wine economy, which is most evident in the Golan Heights and Galilee regions where farms and both large scale and boutique vineyards have set up shop. Wine, of course, is nothing without accompanying nibbles, so it's only fitting to find culinary treasures in the area as well – all of which make use of locally grown farm fresh produce. The gems can be difficult to pinpoint as an outsider, however, so we’ve prepared a list of not-to-be-missed restaurants and vineyards in the area.
The Golan Heights and Galilee
The Golan Heights Winery is attributed with being responsible for the country’s wine revolution. In 1983, the wine connoisseurs at Golan brought New World winemaking techniques to Israel and began offering homegrown quality table wines, some of which are now considered the world’s finest wines. Take a wine-tasting tour and visit the oak barrel cellar or else hop into a jeep for a tour of the vineyards themselves to learn about the different grape varieties.
Perched atop the prestigious Mitzpe HaYamim Spa Hotel in Rosh Pina, Muscat boasts panoramic views of the eastern slopes of Mount Kna'an. This jewel of a restaurant exemplifies farm-to-table and garden-to-table food with seasonal fruits and vegetables. This restaurant is the place to taste freshly baked bread and pastries, farm-fresh vegetables, and cheeses from the goats and cows grazing nearby.
After years of running Tel Aviv's successful Herbert Samuel, chef Michael Grotofsky decided to uproot to northern Israel. This destination restaurant has a warm, welcoming, and rural vibe and authentic farm-to-table dishes, all creatively using the best locally sourced ingredients. Discover delicacies like cauliflower tabbouleh, ‘arais’ (juicy grilled lamb on pita with eggplant and parsley), and fresh gems from the sea. Dedicated foodies come from far and wide to taste chef Michael’s creations.
Located on the Sea of Galilee’s shore, overlooking Arbel Mountain and the Golan Heights, is this gem of a restaurant serving Galilean-Lebanese cuisine. The food uses the best seasonal ingredients with all the bounty that the Galilee has to offer, served alongside an extensive selection of wines and excellent service.
Chef Duhul Safadi is one of the few Arab chefs who didn’t only bring the traditional Galilean-Arab cooking into the Israeli cuisine, but also established himself as the authoritative figure in this field. The spacious restaurant offers its customers classics such as the ‘Safadi’ kebabs and hummus, in addition to more experimental dishes.
Located between Kfar Vradim and Tarshiha, this restaurant offers Galilean cuisine with a European touch along with the breathtaking Galilean landscape to gaze at as you dine. The exquisite menu offers a taste of seasonal ingredients brimming with freshness, inspired by the region’s gems. The wine list showcases the best selections from various parts of Israel.
This organic winery overlooks the Kinneret and the Lower Galilee, offering a gorgeous view of all the bounty of the North. For over 12 years, this winery has been known for their superb organic grapes that come from their vineyard in Kibbutz Zivon on the slopes of Mount Meiron. Also noteworthy is their attention to detail, such as the music selection they play for the grapes through the entire winemaking process.
Nestled in Kibbutz Ein-gev, Ramat Hagolan, this family owned winery prides itself off quality and soul. With a first harvest in 2003, their acclaimed Maor Cabernet Savignon 2003 hit the pages of many wine magazine, and the hearts of many wine lovers. Danny Maor, the man behind this boutique winery in the Golan Heights is not only a winemaker, but a pilot too. While its one of Israel’s youngest wineries, it’s future has never looked brighter.