As with most other Mediterranean countries, Palestinian cuisine has been heavily influenced by a history of tradesmen and foreign visitors over the centuries. Therefore you will find restaurants that serve all kinds of ethnic food, everything from traditional American fare to sumptuous Italian pastas. Directory of Restaurants in Palestine
If you are a first-time visitor, there are several traditional Palestinian delicacies you must try. Kanafé, a mouth-watering combination of honey, melted cheese, and a shredded wheat topping, is the pride of Nablus; and mutabak, a square dough with cheese covered in syrup and powdered with sugar, is the pride of Jerusalem.
Another delicacy in which Palestinian restaurants compete is the maza—an offering of many small salads of fresh aubergine, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, chickpeas, and other vegetables. Maza can be found in most traditional Arabic restaurants.
Gaza has an incredible fresh catch of fish each day.Jerusalem has courtyard restaurants and first-class dining.Jericho, located near the Dead Sea, has restaurants and eateries that offer the famous fried chicken, and fresh fruits and vegetables of the Jordan Valley. When in Hebron you should not miss eating the Kidra (lamb and rice casserole). Bethlehem has sunny outside cafes around manager Square. Ramallah, with its trendy coffee shops and jazz clubs, is fast becoming the hot spot for Palestinian dining. Tulkarem and Jenin are famous for their musakhan (fried chicken with onion bread).
In Palestine, there is restaurant food and traditional home-cooked food. Restaurants serve simple cuisine. A Palestinian breakfast is usually eggs, labaneh (yogurt-based spread), cheese, falafel (fried chickpea/garbanzo), ka’k (bread with sesame seeds) with thyme, hummus (garbanzo dip), and foul (beans). Lunch begins with the maza, a collection of varied small dishes that includes: hummus, tahini, salad (sesame paste and lemon), tabbouleh (wheat and parsley salad), fatoush (bread salad), and tomato salad. For soups, when available, you may be served your choice of tomato, onion, chicken, or mushroom soup. The main lunch course will include your choice of such dishes as shish Kebab (grilled lamb cubes), shish taouk (grilled chicken cubes), steak, fish, or chicken. Such dishes are the backbone of the standard tourist menu. Some restaurants specialize in exotic dishes, such as the mansaf (chops of lamb and rice with hot yogurt sauce made of dried laban topped with browned almonds) or the musakhan (chicken with onion bread).
While many restaurants opt to please foreigners with international menus, some offer Palestinian home-cooked food. Palestinian food is mainly rice with portions of saucy vegetables cooked with meat and eaten with bread.
If you want to eat real Palestinian food, you have to get a Palestinian to invite you home. There you will be served an array of dishes such as kusa mahshi (stuffed squash), malfuf (stuffed cabbage), warak enab (stuffed grape leaves), maqluba (rice, lamb, and eggplant), fasoulia khadra (rice, lamb, and green beans with tomato sauce), and dajaj mahshi (stuffed roast chicken with rice). Lunch is usually followed with sweets (baklawa, muhalabiah) and seasonal fruits. The evening meal is usually something light. Specialty Palestinian dishes, such as stuffed lamp with spicy seasoning, are served at home on festive occasions. This festive food is hard to find on menus because it takes a long time to prepare.
There are some local brands of wine and beer to drink with your food. One special local drink to try is the arak (made from anis). Imported wine and beers are often available.
Restaurants usually serve breakfast from 8-11 a.m., lunch from noon to 4 p.m., and dinner from 6-11 p.m. very few restaurants stay open until midnight. Small restaurants for locals are scattered everywhere, with varied hours and menus.
We invite you to explore our country and our cuisine. We hope that your dining experience in Palestine will be enjoyable and will add to your memorable stay in this hospitable country. And as we say in Arabic—Sahtain! Enjoy!