|Eateries in Tzfat
|Range of Tzfat venues for kosher dining.
During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Safed was known as the Bohemian capital of Israel. People would come to Tzfat from throughout Israel to enjoy Friday nights at local nightclubs and to stroll around the Artists Quarter. There were few kosher eateries in Tzfat during those days. Today, with the proliferation of observant residents and tourists who prefer to eat at kosher eateries, there is a wide variety of restaurants in the city from which to choose.
Organizations which grant kashruth certification will not provide this certification to establishments which serve both milk and meat meals since mixing meat and milk is forbidden according to the Jewish laws of kashruth. In addition, in order to receive a certificate of kashruth, eateries must remain closed on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. All restaurants in Tzfat are kosher. Each eatery serves either milk-based dishes or meat-based dishes or, in the case of falaffel stands, “parve” -- no milk and no meat. There are no restaurants open to the public on Shabbat though visitors can order meals at the Ron and Rimonim Hotel in advance and arrive at the hotel to eat on Shabbat.
The Tzfat Rabbinute is the officiating body for most Tzfat eateries and is considered a reliable kashruth-supervising authority by most religious Jews. In addition, some restaurants have a special “mehadrin” certification, indicating that their level of supervision is believed to be on a higher level. A few Tzfat eateries carry the supervision of the Jerusalem-based “Badatz Yerushalyim” or “Eda Haredit.”
 Restaurant Options
As the population has grown and tourism has expanded, the number of eateries in Tzfat has grown. There are elegant restaurants, simple venues which serves either milk or meat dishes and quick-food spots with falaffel, schwarma, pizza and schnitzl sandwiches.
 Beit Yosef Cafe
The beityosefcafe.co.il at the end of Jerusalem Street at the intersection with Alorsoroff Street offers whole grain newly-baked breads and rolls along with a variety of spreads, cheeses, egg dishes and salads. Beit Yosef has a Tzfat mehadrin hechsher. Diners can sit inside where the arched windows provide a stunning view of the surrounding mountains or outside in the garden. Prices are moderate.
The “Schnitzelria” chain, which now has branches throughout Israel, originated in Tzfat. The Snitzelria serves small bite-size snitzel pieces which are prepared with a variety of different tastes such as Chinese, Italian, French and Greek. They are laid out in a fresh baguette with hummos, the customer’s choice of vegetables and a choice of sauces. The Tzfat Schnitzelria is located under the bridge on Jerusalem Street.
Lachuch is a Yemenite dish which is often called a “pizza.” The lachuch of Tzfat operates on Alkabetz Street in Tzfat’s Old City, just below the Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue. The dish is made as a pancake, using a yeast-based whole wheat flour dough which is lightly fried in olive oil with a scattering of vegetables, herbs, spices and a grating of authentic Tzfat Cheese. Lucky visitors can hear the stand’s owner, Ronen, deliver Words of Wisdom on which he sometimes discourses as he prepares the lachuch.
 Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a small vegetarian/health food restaurant which is located in the Old City’s central square, Kikar HaMeginim. The restaurant serves soups and filling dishes which are based on cheeses, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
 Strawberry Tree Cafe
Locals and tourists sit together in the courtyard of the Isadora Cafe which is located in the Artists Quarter next to the Khan of the White Donkey. The cafe serves a variety of hot and cold drinks along with sandwiches and other vegetarian fare. The shaded courtyard is a favorite spot for people who come to enjoy the Khan’s evening concerts and other activities.
 HaAri 8
HaAri 8 is located on HaAri Street, on the first floor of the Carmel Hotel near the Ascent Institute of Safed. The restaurant offers an extensive meat menu along with home-baked breads, Israeli salads, soups and house-sandwiches. The restaurant serves wines, beers and select alcoholic drinks.
 Art Cafe
The Art Cafe is a dairy restaurant which is located next to Bank HaPoalim on Jerusalem Street. The restaurant offers an extensive dairy menu of salads, sandwiches, burekkas, and pizzas along with an extensive drink and dessert menu. The Art Cafe has a mehadrin hechsher and serves kosher-for-Pesach food on Passover.
The Maximillian cafe is conveniently located in the courtyard of the General Exhibition of the Artists Quarter near the central stairs in the parking lot that divides the Artists Quarter and the Old City. Diners can sit outside in the sunny courtyard to eat or move indoors when the weather becomes uncomfortable. Maximillian's serves a dairy menu of pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups and salads.
Aryeleh's is a meat restaurant with a mehadrin hechsher on Jerusalem Street. The restaurant offers a traditional Ashkanazi meat menu of meats and chicken with side dishes and salads. Prices are moderate.
 Rafi’s Schwarma
Locals buy their "schwarma" -- sliced lamb meat, wrapped in a baguette or pita, at Rafi's which sits under the "Gesher" -- bridge -- on Jerusalem street. The small shop has a few tables but many customers take their schwarma across the street to sit outside and eat while watching the pedestrian traffic. Rafi offers a basic good schwarma with humos or tehina topping and, for those who wish, spicy sauce.
 Falaffel California
The Falaffel California is located under the "Gesher" -- bridge -- next to Rafi's Schwarma. In addition to their own schwarma, Falaffel California serves fresh hot falaffel with a variety of salads and a choice of tehina and/or spicy topping. Falaffel California is a Tzfat landmark, staying in business as other falaffel joints opened and closed around them.
 Cafe Bagdad
Cafe Bagdad is popular with diners who want to sit outside and enjoy the view of the Old Jewish Quarter and surrounding mountains while they eat. Cafe Bagdad serves a coffee house menu of sandwiches, salads and hot drinks on Jerusalem Street.
 Canaan Gallery Cafe
The Canaan Gallery Cafe is located in the Old City's Canaan Gallery, overlooking the Old Jewish Quarter. The cafe is an outdoor cafe and is only open during the spring through autumn months. The cafe has an extensive list of hot and cold drinks along with dairy sandwiches and soups.
 Gan Eden
Gan Eden is a dairy restaurant, located near the Canaan Spa in Safed's Kiryat Sarah neighborhood. The moderately-priced restaurant serves homemade pastas, fish, breads, salads and other delicacies, all prepared from scratch on the premises. Gan Eden has a Rabbinute hechsher.
 Shabbat Food Options
Visitors who plan to stay in Tzfat over Shabbat or holidays should be aware that there are no restaurants open on the Sabbath. Options for eating include pre-ordering meals at either the Ron Hotel, located on the Metzuda, or the Rimonim Hotel, located in the Artists Quarter.
Take-out Shabbat food is available on Friday mornings at several spots along Jerusalem Street including Mendy's, the Mercazi and Montrone.