Leon's Newsletter 55: Vegetarian Restaurants in Israel
appy New Year for all the world, including the animals
After reading the book "Judaism and Vegetarianism" by Richard H. Schwarz PhD I decided to be active in promoting vegetarianism instead of being satisfied with being a vegetarian all on my lonesome self. I doubt if my efforts have borne much fruit but it's lots of fun.
One of the main actions I've undertaken is to explore the vegetarian restaurants of Israel. This is based on my theory that if people can get really tasty vegetarian food they'll try it.
My search has proved quite difficult, involving lots of bus trips and lots of walking, but very interesting and enjoyable. I've tasted some good food and I've explored neighborhoods of Tel Aviv I've never visited with tourists.
Tel Aviv is a melee of old and new neighborhoods in which various societies struggle for expression. The population visiting vegetarian restaurants doesn't go there just for the food but more to identify with an ethnic society or style of life. People are looking for an atmosphere where they feel at home; either because it suits the social or ethnic background where they come from or they think they'd like to join that ethnic or social group.
The three Indian restaurants which I found, for example, not only provide vegetarian, Indian food but are also arranged with sofas, mats, low tables where people sit barefoot and cross legged, (it's not very nice when barefoot diners sit with their barefoot legs next to your food), there are all kinds of statues and pictures of Hindu gods, on the walls and Indian music plays in the background.
The one European style restaurant I found, Shirela, was more my style; it had typical wooden floors and proper dark wooden tables and chairs. The music was so mild in the background that I could hardly make out what it was but I think it was Bach. The menu was typical European; I had some delicious chocolate, cognac cake and frothy latte coffee with Soya milk. In the Indian restaurant I had ginger tea.
There are lots of eastern style restaurants that aren't vegetarian but serve food like Humus and salads, but I was looking for purely vegetarian restaurants. I couldn't resist my weakness for Humus, however and went to Azura in the market in Jerusalem.
The two best vegetarian restaurants I've found, however aren't in Tel Aviv. The one is in a kibbutz called Harduf, located between Haifa and Nazareth and the other is in Jerusalem, located in Confederation House, overlooking the walls of the Old City, called Te-einim (figs)
At Harduf I ate an unforgettable vegetarian stew and at Te-einim I've eaten a vegetarian, curry platter and I've had a delicious bowl of cold yogurt curry soup.
By going to various vegetarian restaurants I've realized that the best way to be vegetarian is by eating a variety of foods. Variety is truly the spice of life when you're vegetarian. I never eat the same dish twice in a day or even twice in a week.
By the way if you have a weakness for ice-cream the best vegetarian ice-cream is at Ganesh, an Indian restaurant at 75 Dizengoff Str. Tel Aviv. That ice-cream is going to bring me back for more.
Wishing you a great no news day.