The Best Hummus in Israel?


Recently, the food section of Ynet (Internet site of Israel’s largest daily newspaper) had a list of the 10 best hummus restaurants in Israel. I was amused, though not surprised, to see that one of our local hummus joints in Ramla — Halil — was listed. Its closest competitor, Samir, whose place sits just across the road, was not.


Among those of us who regularly eat in that little corner of Ramla, there has been a running argument for the last 20 years or so as to which restaurant is better. On the one hand, Samir is a friend. He greets us warmly when we walk in, asks after family members and friends, and we always say hello to all of the children and grandchildren who work with him in the restaurant. The restaurant was started by his father in the 1950s, and it’s a Ramla institution. Nothing compares with his green falafel balls when they’re freshly fried, and his mujadara – a dish of rice, lentils and fried onions – is wonderful. (His secret is to start the onions in cold oil, so they’re gently caramelized, and nice and greasy.) Since he redid the place and spruced up the menu a few years ago, with real wooden tables and an ambience that can only be described as a highly decorated cave, we tend to bring our guests there.

 Halil’s décor is basic early bathroom: Formica tables, shower tiles and mirrors on the walls. It’s crowded and noisy, and on Saturday afternoons, people wait on the street for an hour or more to get a table. (No bar or waiting area provided.) Their menu is up on the wall and hasn’t changed in the last 20 years. Still, there’s no denying the hummus is always fresh, smooth and supremely satisfying. And Ynet might be justified in calling their musabaha — warm hummus with whole chickpeas — the best in the world (though I couldn’t say if the reviewer has checked all the musabaha in Jordan or Syria). Fortunately, we don’t have to choose. If Samir is perfect for guests, we often sneak into Halil when Samir isn’t looking for take away on the weekend.  

photo: Paul Goyette


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4 Responses to “The Best Hummus in Israel?”

  1. patti Says:

    is there an english version of the linked page? or if not would some kind soul post a translation of the list for the hebraically-challenged among us? my daughter is in israel right now and i’d love to share this with her.

  2. Eda Goldstein Says:

    Sorry, it only seems to be in Hebrew. Does your daughter have someone who can translate it for her there?

  3. Itzhak Says:

    Link for Halil is broken, please edit post to reflect this link:


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