Grocery shopping in Israel is just another part of daily life that can become difficult because it’s in a foreign country. Knowing where to shop for what and what each store offers can be useful information for those settling in Jerusalem. I have provided the names and basic services of some of the larger supermarkets in Jerusalem that we have used over the past few years. I will not be talking about hechsherim as it is very complicated and constantly changing. See below for a more general guide to supermarket shopping in Israel.
The Osher Ad supermarket in Jerusalem is as close as you’ll get to Pomegranate, Gourmet Glatt, and Evergreen. It’s comparable in its size and inventory. The large aisles and tremendous inventory of every kind of item you might need are what makes it reminiscent of your supermarket back at home. Although there are others, the main one that people from the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood and the like shop at, is located in Rav Shefa mall on Shamgar street. The exact address and times of the three branches are listed below. The downside is that there is no “mishloach service”. However, there is a constant flow of cabs waiting outside readily available to take you home. There is also a large underground parking lot for those who choose to come by private car.
Shamgar St 16, Jerusalem
Beit Ha-Defus St 29, Jerusalem
קניון בית הדר, Ha-Rekhavim St 8, Jerusalem
Sunday 10 am-11 pm
Monday 10 am-11 pm
Tuesday 10 am-11 pm
Wednesday 10 am-12 am
Thursday 10 am- 12 am
Friday 7:30 am- 1 pm
Shaarei Revacha in Jerusalem is similar to Osher Ad in regards to its size and inventory. However, it differs depending on the branch. In 2018, Shaarei Revacha opened up a branch at Luis Brandeis 3 (the corner of Brandeis and Yirmiyahu) and upgraded its appearance to fit in with the upscale neighborhood. This branch has fresh produce but no delivery service (Mishloach). There is a nice take out place within the store which can make you feel that you’re at your grocery store in Lakewood. The original Shaarei Revacha is at Yirmiyahu Street 25. It differs from the other branch in the sense that it lacks fresh produce, but it offers delivery service (Mishloach) which makes it a great place to buy in bulk and stock up, as opposed to Osher Ad and the Shaarei Revacha on Luis Brandeis Street.
Sunday 9 am-12 am
Monday 9 am-12 am
Tuesday 9 am-12 am
Wednesday 9 am-12 am
Thursday 9 am-1 am
Friday 9 am-2:30 pm
Yesh is a chain of stores with a branch conveniently located at Paran St 7. It is large with spacious aisles and has many products, like Osher Ad and Shaarei Revacha (although not as much). Yesh does have “Mishloach service” and it has self-checkout counters. Although you need a Teudat Zehut (TZ, Israeli ID) to sign up, you can use your friend’s as it does not need to be connected to the credit card that you use to pay. Additionally, Yesh has a Well Done counter (Butcher) located in the back of the store where you can get fresh meat and chicken. Disclaimer: as Hechsherim can change, be aware of what the hechsher is at the time of purchase.
Sunday 7 am–10 pm
Monday 7 am–10 pm
Tuesday 7 am–10 pm
Wednesday 7 am–11 pm
Thursday 7 am–11 pm
Friday 7 am–1:30 pm
Saturday 8–11 pm
Maayan is a chain of supermarkets located throughout Jerusalem. There are two located on Yam Suf Street. They are smaller in size and inventory compared to the above stores. They are local if you live nearby, which is convenient for a quick grocery shop, but can be more expensive than the others. It is more like a “makolet” than a supermarket. They also have “mishloach service”, cost depending on the size of the bill.
If you’re wondering where to buy American food products in Israel, this may just be the answer. Eshkolet is a tiny hole-in-the-wall makolet located at the beginning of Paran street where you can feel like you’re in America. From your Snapple to Ortega tortillas, many American products can be found there. But keep in mind that it is not cheap.
Butchers in Jerusalem
- Chofetz Chaim – 8 Agrippas, 02-624-3443 or 02-623-2839 (Delivery)
- Well Done – Hamarpeh 1, Har Chotzvim (Next to Entrecote). 02-536-3335 (Delivery)
- Kehillos – Chicken/meat counter at Yesh on Paran
- Hackers- Achinoam 12 02-656-3099 (Delivery)
If you are on a tight budget, the cheapest way to get chicken, meat, ground beef and kishkeh is through the Mir Yeshiva/ Ramat Eshkol/ Maalot Dafna sale. You will need an Israeli check to pay by these sales.
|American products?||Consumer experience?||Delivery?||Size?||Open on Shabbat?|
|Rami Levy||Yes, though not many||Poor. Crowded and hectic, and staff is not readily available to assist||Yes||Very large||No|
|Shufersal||Yes, mostly imported health food products||Clean, calm, and staff is accessible and generally warm and helpful||Yes||Very large, similar in size to Rami Levy||Yes, but there is a sub-branch, Yesh Chesed, that is closed on Shabbat|
|Osher Ad||Yes, many||Similar to Costco, in that it is big and busy but not particularly messy or disorganized||No||Extremely large, similar to size of Costco||No|
|Maayan 2000||Almost none||Decent. Spacious and clean, pleasant aesthetic||Yes||Bigger than a mini market but smaller than a supermarket||No|
|Yochananoff||Not many||Very pleasant, clean, and good customer service||No||About the size of Rami Levy/Shufersal||No|
Guide to Supermarket Shopping in Israel
By Avigail Rasol | September 16, 2020
When you first arrive in Israel, the supermarket scene can be one of the most intimidating scenes of all. From understanding foreign aisle labels to translating package ingredients word for word, to dealing with staff that was far from the level of customer service in America, simple grocery shopping proves to be not so simple at all. But what you, and many fellow Americans in Israel, might find most overwhelming is picking apart one supermarket for the next. What makes them different? Where is Whole Foods, and where is ShopRite? How could you know which supermarket fits your needs – health, cost, efficiency, and product quality? In this article, we lay out a list of the most common supermarkets found in Israel, and how to decide which shopping experience is most apt for you.
Rami Levy is Israel’s third-largest food retail chain but tends to be the most popular and accessible one. Rami Levy has two different types of stores – regular Rami Levy and Rami Levy Mehadrin. Rami Levy is significantly cheaper than competing stores and it has more branches than most other supermarkets. It is known for its good deals and for its variety of products. Rami Levy mostly carries Israeli products, meaning that it is not the place to find American or other imported products. Rami Levy has a proper meat and cheese counter, which allows customers to choose from fresh meat and cheese products rather than just packaged ones. It tends to be more crowded and hectic than some other supermarkets, but many customers say that prices compensate for its lack of customer service. Rami Levy branches can be found in virtually all cities in Israel, making it one of the most easily accessible supermarkets. Rami Levy Mehadrin is similar to Rami Levy in all respects, but carries exclusively Mehadrin products, therefore catering to a more religious crowd. Rami Levy Mehadrin does not contain a self-checkout, is often packed, and it is frequently even difficult to find a shopping cart, therefore making it a less convenient shopping experience.
Osher Ad is currently Israel’s fourth-largest food retail chain. It is what many refer to as Israel’s “Costco.” It’s the closest you can get. It carries both Israeli and American products and carries items in bulk. It contains not only groceries but also household products (i.e. garbage bags, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.) in bulk, similar to Costco. Items such as dairy and cold cuts and generally most products can be found significantly cheaper than in other supermarkets, including Rami Levy. Osher Ad also carries fresh fish. Most products are certified Mehadrin. Due to its items in bulk, Osher Ad is a particularly apt supermarket for large families. Its selection of items isn’t as diverse as other supermarkets, but many find that its large quantity of products makes up for the lack of diversity. Osher Ad, unlike many supermarkets, does not have a delivery option.
Shufersal is the largest food supermarket chain in Israel, with a current total of 248 stores throughout Israel. It is widely considered to have a better quality of produce than others. It has a large health-food section, with a great variety of products for food special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. Shufersal also has fresh cheese, meat, and often, fish, counters. There are many sales and coupons available in Shufersal, and it has good online delivery and even decent customer service. Shufersal is more expensive than Rami Levy and Osher Ad but provides a more organized shopping experience than the former two (good online shopping system, organized and clean aisles, club card, etc.). Shufersal also has a greater number of imported products than most other supermarket chains. Similar to Rami Levy, Shufersal also has a more religious supermarket chain – Yesh Chesed – which is operated by Shufersal under a different name because Shufersal operates on Shabbat, whereas Yesh Chesed is closed.
Maayan 2000 is exclusive to Jerusalem. It has many branches in Jerusalem and is bigger (and cheaper) than a makolet (a neighborhood market) but is not quite a full-sized supermarket. Prices are decent, and it often has good deals and sales. It saves the trouble of schlepping to the bigger supermarkets in outlying neighborhoods. Products and service in Maayan 2000 are similar to Rami Levy – not incredibly clean but not as hectic as Osher Ad – and tends to target a more religious demographic due to its many Chareidi hechsherim. Many of the branches are spacious and have a generally pleasant aesthetic, playing calming Jewish music, for example.
What sets Yochannanof apart from other supermarkets is its wide prepared foods section and its fantastic consumer experience. At competitive prices, it has full meat, cheese, and fish counters, as well as a fresh bakery. There is a limited selection of Mehadrin products, though they do exist. In terms of the shopping experience, consumers have widely shared that it is one of the most positive experiences that they have. The staff is polite and helpful, the stores themselves are spacious (some are even two stores) and well-organized, the stores are clean and there is even air conditioning (a luxury that many other supermarkets do not offer). Some consumers have described their shopping experiences at Yochananoff as so wonderful that they “feel as though they are abroad.”