Northern Golan Heights
The residents of the north Golan eat what they grow: Cherries, apples, vegetables, herbs, wines, cheese and meat. Over the years many restaurants and wineries opened in the area, and home cooks opened up their kitchens to the general public.
“The witch and milkman’s cauldron” in Nimrod has a view to die for, right on the edge of Mount Hermon and Birkat Ram. The small and excellent dairy grew over the years, and a restaurant emerged, with a menu containing meaty winter stews. Not kosher. Tel. 972-4- 6870049
"Birkat Ram" restaurant at the foot of Majdel Shams seems to hang in mid air over the small lake. The place sometimes gets lost in mists, and clouds hide the mountain peaks. Traditional Druze food is served, such as sinie, green falafel, majadra, kube with sumac, roast lamb and makhlube. Not kosher. Tel. 972-4-6981638.
“Sharol’e”: It is said that restaurants like the new Sharol’e, across from Sa’ar waterfall, have three dramatic advantages: Location, location, location. The view from the large windows is of the waterfall, Rajar village, Fort Nimrod and the orchards below. The food offered includes grilled meat, tapas, home baked breads, liver and boutique wines from the Golan Heights. Kosher. Tel. 972-4-6903377.
“Coffee Ana”: a café located on top of Mount Bental, at 1,200 meters high (almost 4000 feet). In winter, the mountain lies in mists. Outside it is snowing, but inside they serve hot soups, home made baked good, coffee, tea and cakes. Breakfast is also available, as well as picnic baskets for travelers if ordered ahead of time. Not kosher. 972-4-6820664.
“Shifra’s goods”: Chef Shifra Michaelovitz of Merom Golan calls the meals she serves at a home in the area “Shifra’s goods”. The table is set by the fireplace, and will contain the house bread, hot cider, fish in coconut cream, a beef and red wine stew, mousse and wine. The space fits up to 12 diners (order ahead) for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not kosher. Tel. 972-50-5303351.
“The cowboy restaurant” in Merom Golan is a rustic restaurant in the vicinity of a horse stable. Dishes include veal steaks, T-bone and New York steaks weighing 400-500 grams (up to 18 ounces). They serve stews and thick soups in winter. Not kosher. Tel. 972-4-6960206.
Aviva Sanberg of Kibbutz Ein Zivan cooks Italian meals in her home. She sets the table in the living room and prepares dishes according to the season and her mood. Not kosher. Tel. 972-4-6993660.
“The sweet life”: The newest attraction at Kibbutz Ein Zivan is a small chocolate factory, The Sweet Life, founded by chocolatier Karina Ziplinsky. The factory produces pralines, as well as confitures and chocolate based liqueurs. Tel. 972-54-2179528.
In Moshav Sha’al, Chevy offers traditional Cypriote stews cooked in the traditional clay oven in the yard for 24 hours. The meal begins with salads, stuffed vegetables and meat roasted over cherry trees, followed by the stew. Chevy shares stories about the Golan and his travels to Cyprus over dessert. Tel. 972-50-5594559.
“Southern Wind”: The restaurant was opened by Yossi Hadad in Gush Katif, and moved to Waset Intersection after the evacuation. The restaurant serves veal and chicken dishes in clay pots, grilled game hen in lemon and garlic, roast meats and liver sautéed in red wine. Glatt kosher. Tel. 972-4-6983863.
Har Odem winery, in Odem, is surrounded by natural woods, with oaks, apple and cherry orchards. The winery has a visitors’ center and a wooden counter for tastings. They produce port wine, and wines from cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes, which grow in the vineyard near Sha’al. Visitors will receive explanations and stories about the wine and about life in the Golan Heights. Tel. 972-4-6817550.
Pelter Winery in Merom Golan makes wines in the Australian method, which is based on the combination of several varieties of grapes. All stages of production are done by the family: wine making, aging, bottling and even marketing. Visits are available by advance reservation. Tel. 972-52-8666384.
Southern Golan Heights
In the south of the Golan Heights, tourism is a way of life. Almost everyone is employed by the hospitality and holiday industries, but the field of restaurants and wineries is still fairly limited. Most of the restaurants are adjacent to main tourist attractions, scenic viewpoints and highly toured nature reserves.
“Thyme”: The restaurant opened two months ago on one of the country’s most amazing observation points: Mitzpe Hashalom, at the west edges of Kibbutz Kfar Haruv. This is the only point in the Golan Heights with a view of the entire Kinneret. This beautiful place was opened by Shimon Ratovsky and Motti Levy, who moved to Had Nes from the center of the country.
They refurbished the building and made a cozy wooden structure with rustic furniture, large windows towards the view and an outer terrace for summer. The menu includes, as a starter, lamb with pine nuts and mint, eggplant with nuts and pomegranates (wonderful) and thyme salad. The mains include chicken breast in tarragon, honey and mustard, a root vegetable stew and salmon filet in thyme and olive oil. Desserts offered are lemon, nuts or chocolate pie. Open every day between 12:00-23:00. Tel. 972-4-6735135.
“Siam” in Hamat Gader has undergone a major change and now offers a variety of flavors, instead of the previous Thai cuisine. The menu includes Carpaccio alongside sushi, entrecote steak by beef sate, lamb kabobs and a chicken noodle salad. Tel. 972-4-6659933.
“Bir-a-Shagum”: The restaurant was founded by Dori Simana of Giv’at Yoav, who is also the restaurant’s chef. The restaurant is named after the ancient site familiar to jeep travelers. At the heart of Giv’at Yoav, the restaurant offers a seafood mix, hamburgers made of three kinds of meat and ground on location, and entrecote cutlets. Open all week from 19:00 and until the last diner. Not kosher. 972-4-6659933.
“Silit’s Cakes”: Another small eatery in Giv’at Yoav: a small café serving kosher dairy food. Tel. 972-4-6600061.
“Nahi and Betty are Cooking” is a home-style restaurant based on meat dishes opened by Nahi and Betty Elkin from Ramot alongside their B&B. A tastings meal of various dishes, including camembert soup with champagne and asparagus and lamb osso bucco is served on Saturday nights. Not kosher. Tel. 972-4- 6732889.
“Country Farm”: Chef Hava Gotwein opened Country Farm in Ramot, in a small house across from a view of the Kinneret and the Galilee mountains. The restaurant’s specialty is grilling beef from Golan raised cattle. Gotwein prepares beef and lamb dishes in iron cauldrons, and grills marinated spareribs. Not kosher. Tel. 972-4-67979097.
“Koala”: A bistro bar in Ramot with a view of the Kinneret and surrounded by olive trees. The restaurant is appropriate for a romantic night out, with candlelight and pretty background music. On the menu: meat, salads and home made baked goods. Open from 19:00 and until late at night. Tel. 972-4-6795095.
“Ranchos”: A pub placed in a location with breathtaking views, on the edge of a cliff in Ma’ale Gamla. The pub is situated inside a horse ranch, and has wood walls and a roaring fire. Country music plays in the background while the beer is poured. Light meals are also served: breads, pitas, hummus, soups and pies. Open on weekends from 21:00. Not kosher. Tel. 972-54-5402650.
The Wine Path
Chateau Golan: This winery in Eliad makes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, and sauvignon blanc. The winery’s flagship wine is called Eliad, and is a changing blend, mostly of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Visits are available by advance reservation. Tel. 972-4-6600026.
Bashan winery is a young winery founded in 2004 by Immanuel Dase and Uri Rapp in Avnei Eitan. Their vineyard, 2.5 acres of cabernet sauvignon and 2.5 acres of merlot, is treated organically. Visits and tours can be reserved in advance: Tel. 972-54-4603213.
Kanaf winery is a small and young boutique winery in Kanaf. Tel. 972-4-6735711.
Maor winery was founded in Ramot in 2003 by Danny and Tal Maor. It is a small family winery with a barrel room and a lab which produces cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and syrah. Open for tours between 11:00-19:00, advance reservations are recommended. Tel. 972-52-8515079.