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National Archeological Park, Caesarea

Tel: 04-6361679
Kashrut Badatz Beit Yosef

Open Sunday - Thursday, 11:00 am till 11:00pm. Friday till half hour before Shabbat. Motzash till 11:00pm. Closed Shabbat.


February 2024
This must be a worlds record. This restaurant has been running in this location for over 55 years. The original name of the restaurant was Hatzalbanim, meaning The Crusaders Restaurant. You may have passed it in the Caesarea National Park and wondered about that name.

In the Middle Ages The crusaders tore through Europe on their way to capture the Holy Land, decimating the Jewish populations on their path. "No no!" said the rabbis three years ago when the restaurant became kosher. The last thing you would want to do is enshrine this dark time in Jewish history, with the name of a kosher restaurant.

The name had to change, but without losing the restaurant's identity and its fine reputation. They came up with Hatzel-Banim, suggesting but not exactly the original name.

The restaurant is in a prime space in the Caesarea National park, in a large courtyard facing the sea. You can enjoy outdoor seating on the sunny courtyard overlooking the sea. On this visit we chose to dine indoors. We enjoyed the big indoor space with its light wood furnishings and the sun pouring in from the picture windows facing the sea. We were just two people, but we were directed to a large table for 6. And it was a good thing because the platters are large and there was lots of food.

Before the food, I must mention the service at this restaurant. We are at a lot of restaurants and I don't recall any other restaurant with attentive and concerned service like this.

What will you have to drink? A smiley waiter asked.
We chose one Mojito to share from the cocktails menu. Excellent.
As each dish was placed on the table the server would remind us of the name of the dish. It showed a certain pride in the dishes which were as attractive as they were tasty.

The service, the generous portions, the atmosphere, the quality of the food comes from the top. Owner Moshe is a restaurateur almost from birth. He started working at this restaurant when he was just a kid, first as a bus boy and then a waiter. He came from Or Akiva, a neighborhood that you would describe as across the tracks (the highway) from wealthy Caesarea. Finding his passion at the restaurant and encouraged by the owner, he worked at the restaurant till he became the manager and ultimately the owner these past 14 years. Now he mentors other young people, bringing them into the restaurant business. Pleasant and charming Moshe is a family man. Hatzel-Banim, Aresto Restaurant and his other businesses are all run by family members.

You cannot go wrong no matter what you choose from the menu. We started with the classic grilled eggplant which was anything but classic, Three swirls of eggplant in techina and a dab of silan (date honey), topped with slivered almonds. This was beautifully presented on an oblong platter. Really nice.

Then came the mushrooms, my favorite. This dish was made with a variety of mushrooms, cooked with onions in teriyaki sauce. The dish came to the table steaming. See the photo. We were also served a lovely leafy salad but so much food we could hardly touch it.

For our main courses I chose fish and my companion chose meat. The Sea bass fillet (Levrak) is baked in an oven simply cooked with olive oil, garlic and herbs. The fish was so delicious it incentivise me to try cooking fish in my own kitchen the Hatzel-Banim way.

My companion was wavering between the pargit in a Spanish marinade. and spicy kebab. When diners waver, the restaurant accommodates them by creating a plate with both meats. His generous platter contained a kabob and a pargit. This is Saba Jakie's kabob. For 30 years Saba Jakie has been preparing these kabobs in the restaurant kitchen. The Pargit! my companion declared, is the way pargit should taste.

The restaurant was anxious for us to try their Locus Shawarma, one of the specialties of the house, Cubes of lolocus fish are stir fried with shawarma spicing and served on a humus base. This was a big hit with my companion who loves the shawarma spicing.

Thank you Hatzel-Banim restaurant. Thank you for a wonderful restaurant in a perfect setting, now kosher, so that we can all enjoy it.

On becoming Kosher: When his grandchildren would not eat at his non-kosher restaurant Moshe decided to convert it to kosher. At the advise of Rabbi kaminetzly and Rabbi Abuchatzera, Moshe first removed the "shratzim""shratzim" from the menu. Shabbat will come after, they told him. And so it did.

The Caesarea National park, open on Shabbatot, wanted its restaurants to be open as well. Moshe stood firm and closed the restauratn on shabbat against the usual wave of threats and protests. Then the miracle happened. When he closed the restaurant on shabbat he expected to lose a great amount of income. But the revenue just increased. The result is a wonderful kosher restaurant where we can all enjoy excellent food in a wonderful setting.

Location: Hatzel-Banim is on the waterfront in the Caesarea ancient Roman port area. You must go into the National Park to get to the restaurant. There is an admission fee into the park, discounted if you are going to a restaurant. Admission is free of charge after 5pm.

Getting There: You can park outside the entrance to the national park, walk over the dry moat outside the wall and through the ruins of the old Roman city. If you are not a walker ask the guard at the gate to let you drive into the commercial area with the restaurants and shops.

From the Menu
Roasted eggplant NIS 30
Portobelo mushrooms NIS 58
Sea fish shawarma NIS 72
Sea bass fillet (Levrak) NIS 135
Saba Jackie's home made lamb kebab NIS 85
Pargit chicken steak NIS 95
Entrecote steak 300 gr. NIS 180
Lamb chops NIS 220

Kids plate NIS 55

Click here for a coupon entitling you to a 10% discount from 12 noon till 4pm. Print out this coupon and present it at the restaurant or show it on the eLuna app.