Skirting the Mediterranean coast just over an hour northwest of Tel Aviv, this ancient Israeli port city goes by many names — Akko (Hebrew), Acre (English), or Akka (Arabic). Winding streets of cobblestone weave through a majestic old city that earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2001 thanks to its millennia-old walls, fortresses, castles, mosques, and synagogues.
The culture of Akko is a complex tapestry of Jewish and Arabic, Muslim, Christian, and Bahá’í influences, and unique to Israel. Unlike much of the country, where divergent ethnic and religious groups exist alongside — but still largely separate from — one another, the lives of those in Akko, with their varied backgrounds and faiths, are more peacefully intertwined. One clear beneficiary of this convergence is the food scene, which erupts on seemingly every corner.
Here, find coffee spiked with cardamom and the Yemenite mixed hawaij spice blend, endless international variations on hummus, and seafood dropped on your plate direct from the sea. Peerless eating takes place on every level, from walk-up bakeries selling sweet kanafeh pastries dripping with syrup, to one of Israel’s most acclaimed restaurants, Uri Buri, whose famed bearded chef shows off his lifelong obsession with the ocean. Olives, dates, tahini, za’atar, fresh fish, and rare herbs all come together in this endlessly walkable city, where past meets present, and sea meets earth. One tip: Call to ensure restaurants are open on Friday nights and Saturdays, and which if any dietary traditions they observe.
Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 55 shekels (Less than $15 USD)
$$ = 55 - 139 shekels ($16 - $39 USD)
$$$ = 140 - 230 shekels ($40 - $66 USD)
$$$$ = 231 shekels ($66 USD and up)
Keren Brown has been writing about food for the last 15 years. She is the author of the Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle and is currently based in Tel Aviv, where she writes for local and international publications.Read More