Home » The Best Restaurants in Haifa: Wadi Nisnas and Beyond

The Best Restaurants in Haifa: Wadi Nisnas and Beyond

by backpackisrael

Haifa is a paradise for food lovers. And because I’m a food lover, I’m always excited to visit Haifa. There are tons of great restaurants in the city – in downtown, in Wadi Nisnas, in the German Colony. In this post, I’ll mention some of the best restaurants in Haifa. But I’m sure there are many more good places to eat. So… Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Will keep on updating the list if I come across any more recommended restaurants.

Wadi Nisnas and its surroundings: A center of good food

If you’re looking for good food in Haifa, one of the best places you can go to is Wadi Nisnas. This neighborhood, established in the 19th century, is one of the oldest in Haifa. In Arabic, “Nisnas” means “nutria,” a kind of rodent that was common in the area back in the early days of the neighborhood. Today, most of its residents are Muslim and Christian Arabs. When walking in the neighborhood, I also recommend keeping your eyes out for the interesting street art. There are several artworks in the wadi, telling the story of the residents who fled the city during the 1948 Independence War. Or at least, that’s what I feel about those artworks.

Sign saying Wadi Nisnas in Hebrew, Arabic and English
The sign to Wadi Nisnas
One of the artworks in Wadi Nisnas
One of the artworks in Wadi Nisnas

But the neighborhood is most famous for its great eateries and bakeries. Here are some of the best restaurants in Wadi Nisnas, Haifa:

Mama Pita

This place is not exactly in Wadi Nisnas but is a short walk away. “Mama Pita” is a family-run pizzeria that offers delicious and cheap pizzas. I recommend ordering a pizza with za’atar. You can also order a pita with a range of toppings, including za’atar.

Pita is a common flatbread baked in the Middle East, that usually has a pocket where you can stuff all kinds of things. But here, they cover the pita like pizza and don’t stuff anything inside.

Where? Alenbi 57 Street, Haifa.

How much? Around 25 shekels for a pizza, depending on what you’re taking.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 7:30 AM to 3 PM. On Saturday, it’s open till late.

Mama Pita Haifa

Falafel Ha’zkenim OR Michel’s Falafel

Those two places – Falafel Ha’zkenim and Michel’s Falafel – are great places to eat falafel, and they are one across the other. Falafel is a deep-fried ball made of ground chickpeas or fava beans. It’s served in a pita, so you can stuff all kinds of other things into the pita pocket. There’s salad, cucumbers, tahini, and more.

Falafel Ha’zkenim is one of the oldest falafel places in Haifa. It opened in 1950 and was run by two elderly people who lived in Wadi Nisnas, George and Najala Afara. It had no sign and no official name at the time, but the Jewish people who went there told each other: “Let’s go to the elders.” So, the name stuck, and they were called “The Elders”, in Hebrew: “Ha’zkenim.” In 1984, they sold the place to one of their customers, who also bought the secret recipe from them.

Michel’s Falafel was established later, in 1984, right in front of Falafel Ha’zkenim. And today it is one of their greatest competitions. I tasted both and both were delicious. Many claim that they are amongst the best falafel places in Israel.

Where? Wadi 18 Street and Wadi 21 Street, Haifa. Michel’s Falafel has another branch at Jaffa Road 38, Haifa.

How much? A full pita will cost you less than 20 shekels.

Opening hours: Falafel Ha’zkenim on Wadi 18 Street is open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Michel’s Falafel on Wadi 21 Street is open Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Shawarma Emil

This place is a short walk from Wadi Nisnas. I usually don’t like shawarma, but Shawarma Emil was a surprise. When I entered Shawarma Emil, I accidentally thought that I had entered a falafel place. I asked for a meal, sat down, and waited for my falafel. But then they brought me a pita with shawarma. So, I decided to try it. And it was delicious! As I said, I usually don’t like shawarma, but this one was perfect. Yes, it’s a bit small for 38 Shekels, but still worth it.

Shawarma is served in a pita and is made of thin-sliced meat that is shaved off a turning vertical spit. The original dish is made from lamb, but there are places that make it from other kinds of meat.  

Where? Alenbi 33 Street, Haifa.

How much? 38 shekels for a meal.

Opening hours: Sunday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Shawarma Emil in Haifa
Small pita but super tasty!

Sweets of the East (Konditoria Hamizrach)

I love sweets. Bakeries and confectioneries in Wadi Nisnas and its surroundings sell kanafeh, baklava, and many other Arab sweet pastries. My favorite place in this category is the Bakery of the East, located a bit outside the neighborhood. Though, last time I’ve been there, they sold only in kilograms, so you’ll probably need to take more than one pastry. I recommend trying the sweet and fresh tamarind juice. It has a wonderful aroma and is also very tasty!  

Where? Alenbi 34 Street, Haifa.

How much? Depends on what you’re taking.

Opening hours: Every day from 8 AM to 11 PM.

If you want to try another place – you can go to the nearby Abd al-Hadi Sweets. I really liked their kanafeh, made from melted cheese and kadaif and topped with sugar-based syrup.

This is Abd al-Hadi Sweets. The photo from Sweets of the East got lost after a few years 🙁

Best restaurants in Haifa outside Wadi Nisnas

Hummus Bar

I got to know Hummus Bar on my latest trip to Haifa. It is one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve visited! The meals are huge and nicely organized on the plate. Their menu includes a variety of vegan-based dishes, named and designed like Middle Eastern dishes. When I was there, I ordered the “Eastern Kebab”, and it was a celebration to the eyes. It was also delicious! I also liked their side dish of vegetable salad, which surprisingly didn’t include lettuce.

Where? 22 Natanzon Street, Haifa.

How much? It isn’t cheap but is mid-range. I paid 58 shekels for my meal.

Opening hours: Sunday to Friday from 11:30 AM to 10 PM. Saturday from 12 noon to 10 PM.

Vegan kebab at Hummus Bar Haifa
The kebab I ordered. It’s VEGAN!

Fattoush

Fattoush is one of the leading restaurants in Haifa, located on the main road of the German Colony. It has a cool vibe and serves Middle Eastern dishes inspired by the Arab kitchen. I was there a few years ago, but still remember it as a good experience although I can’t remember what I ordered. The dishes are sophisticated, colorful, and yummy. There’s meat, fish, and even some vegetarian dishes.

Where? 38 Ben Gurion Boulevard, Haifa.

How much? The prices are mid-range. For a vegetarian dish, you’ll pay about 50 shekels. For a meat-based or fish-based dish, you’ll pay anything from 50 to 90+ shekels.

Opening hours: Every day from 8:30 AM to 11 PM.

Conclusion

There’s a lot of good food in Haifa, and I have much more to discover. But I hope this initial list of best restaurants in Haifa will help you find good places to eat. If you have any more recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or send them to me.


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Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Need help planning your trip? I offer trip planning service.

Yours,

Lior

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