8 Best Restaurants in Bethlehem, Around Jerusalem and the Dead Sea


$ Fodor's choice

Just off Manger Square, Afteem draws locals and tourists alike for its falafel, hummus, and chicken platters. Grab a falafel sandwich for just a few shekels, or order a sit-down meal in the arched, cave-like interior. There are meat, veggie, and vegan options, as well as Taybeh beer, local wine, and fresh fruit juices. Afteem also stays open late for night owls.

Bab IdDeir Gallery and Kitchen

$ Fodor's choice

One floor contains a gallery where local Palestinian paintings and posters are on exhibit and for sale; above it is a well-lit restaurant with giant windows. Breakfast features Arab mainstays like hummus and man'ousheh bread baked with aromatic zaatar, and main courses range from traditional offerings like shishbarak dumplings to more Western offerings such as fettuccini Alfredo. Try local Palestinian wine and beer, or order from a wide bar selection.

Qabar Chicken

$ Fodor's choice

Just west of Bethlehem in Beit Jala, this fluorescent-lit hole-in-the-wall has perfected the art of grilled chicken over nearly 50 years in operation. The birds are split and grilled over charcoal, then served with creamy hummus, eggplant salad, and an unforgettable garlic sauce called mtawameh. Taxi drivers can take you here from Manger Square, and it's worth the trip.

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Shams Al-Aseel

$ Fodor's choice

Tables face the rolling terraced hills of the West Bank, making this an unforgettable setting for a sunset meal. Try the musakhan chicken cooked in sumac or the maqluba rice pilaf served upside down; sip some local arak liquor or a Palestinian beer, and gaze at olive trees that have been growing here for centuries. You can also walk in the adjacent Makhrour Valley to picturesque nearby Battir. To get here, drive from Malha in Jerusalem toward Beit Jala. The site is in Area C, meaning it is accessible to both Palestinians and Israelis.

Peace Center Restaurant


Palestinian classics are the main draw at this tourist-friendly eatery steps from the Church of the Nativity. Try the maqloubeh, a spiced and baked chicken leg served with a colorful pilaf of yellow rice and eggplant, cauliflower, and carrots. Another great option is musakhan, chicken and onion baked in sumac spice over flatbread. There are also a wide range of pasta dishes. Palestinian Taybeh beer is on tap, and you can end with local baklava pastry or tiramisu.

Singer Café


Old Singer sewing machines are the tables at this cafe that celebrates Palestinian and Arab artists. In addition to good coffee, you can enjoy fresh juice or lighter fare like sandwiches and salads, and you can also eat upstairs on a rooftop deck. Keep an eye on the bulletin boards for upcoming book readings and local tours. The café is a 15-minute walk from the Church of the Nativity.

Stars and Bucks


Come to this Palestinian-owned chain for the freshly pressed orange and pomegranate juices or a potent cup of thick Arabic coffee. Take home a souvenir mug printed with a green circle that looks strikingly like one from a certain U.S. coffee behemoth.

Manger St., Israel
Known For
  • great selfie place
  • souvenir mugs
  • fast service

Tent Restaurant


Located in Beit Sahour, this massive restaurant with wide windows is a great way to end a day of sightseeing. Slip into a bright red chair, order a water pipe, and wait for waiters in white shirts and black vests to bring out well-spiced grilled meats, hummus, and salads.

Shepherd's Field St., Israel
Known For
  • huge picture windows
  • Middle Eastern hospitality
  • chicken liver cooked in pomegranate molasses