Yunes – the best Arab restaurant in Israel
To be politically correct I should say Mediteranian restaurant but that includes too many countries. Arab restaurant means good food.
Today their main establishment is in the north near Tiberius and they have a couple of smaller subsidiaries north of Tel Aviv. The first restaurant was opened by the two brothers and now all their establishments are run by their 6 sons. My good friends – Sabri, Muhammad and Achmad run the northern and main branch. In their restaurant all the chefs, waiters and bus-boys are from the family who come from the adjacent village called Turan. On the weekend and during school holidays you can see the family teenagers doing their apprenticeship as busboys or assisting the chefs.
Their secret is the now 80 year old Mrs Yunes’s home-recipes and the so-very-fresh ingredients. As an Arab restaurant they excel in their hospitality and service.
Also – look around at the other customers – most of them will be local Arabs – that means authentic.
What to order:
- Start with an assortment of small plates (mezets) of very fresh salads including hummus, tahini, falafel, tabulli, Turkish salad and Kubbeh (meat-filled chick peas). They are for all the party and should be shared. If you are a big enough party you will get up to 25 plates of goodies. Except for the olive oil and the different types of pita bread – nothing is fattening. The plates are refilled as soon as you empty them so if you especially likes some of the dishes you can refill over and over again.
- As the main course you can choose from lamb, beef and chicken shish-kebabs, grilled sea or fresh-water fish, lamb chops (my favourite), Sinia (lamb cooked in tahini or tomatoes) and many other dishes. The dishes are served with fries or my favourite Migadra (rice with black lentils).
- The desert is fantastic. First they move you to a clean table (the Diwan – as in lounge) and then you get tea or coffee, baklava, fresh fruit, dates and Malabi with rose-petal sauce. This is Arab hospitality and included in the price of the meal.
- Drinks – they are Muslim so no alcohol is served. My favourite is their freshly made lemon juice with Nana (mint).
- My advice – go easy on the amount of pita bread you eat with the starters otherwise you will never get to the main course.
- If you just want a snack you can order just the first course. I often go there just for hummus and salads.
- Allow at least 90 minutes for the meal.
I take all my tourists there when we are in the north and my family and most of my friends are all frequent visitors. It is like home for me. You can also have a “Hafflah” there – a traditional Arab feast. I have even had a few Bar-mitzvah lunches there over the years.
Kosher? No – Halal, but you can enjoy all their wonderful salads and have fish as the entree. All Muslim restaurants have Halal meat – so no problem with there being pork.
The restaurant seats 270 inside and over 400 including the cool verandas. No reservations needed.
Prices – you will be more than pleasantly surprised.
They are open every day between 7 AM until midnight (Yes – hummus for breakfast!!). Friday afternoon and evening, Saturday lunch and dinner, and all holidays are the busy times and you might have to wait in line for 30-40 minutes.
How to get there – the restaurant is 10-15 minutes west of Tiberius, on route 77 – a kilometer west of the Golani junction – routes 77/65 – at a gas station on the north side of the road. If you are coming from the west turn left at the traffic light to the quarry, just before the restaurant, and immediately right onto a small access road to the as station (If you miss the turning go to Golani junction and do a U-turn). Plenty of parking.
Baking the pita bread in the Tabun
Yummy lamb chops
With friends after a great day of touring