Treasure Hunting in Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood
The neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas (nisnas means “mongoose”) is a concentrated hodgepodge of Arab homes and businesses clinging to the Haifa hillside. Here, many say, you can find the much-sought-after Truly Best Falafel in All of Israel—perfectly crunchy and light—at Falafel HaZkenim. Or shop at the bustling Wadi Nisnas open-air market, where there are all sorts of indigenous seasonal greens featured in Arab cooking, from cyclamen, hubeizeh (mallow), and ellet (chicory) to mustard stems for pickling, beet greens, and much more. There are also fresh herbs and olives, just-roasted coffee beans (scented with a bit of cardamom), fresh meats, and excellent baklava and other Arab pastries (try Abdelhadi Sweets).
Haifa’s Ben-Gurion boulevard cuts through the old German Colony (built, like Sarona, by the Templers in the late nineteenth century), where many interesting restaurants have been opened within the nicely restored historic buildings. Among these is Fattoush, where you are advised to save room, at the end of a satisfying and savory Arab meal, for deliciously smooth halvah ice cream.
And Bistro Venya and Cula, new gastronomic neighbors in Haifa’s port, share a distinctively young and exuberant spirit in their menus as well as in their clientele.