“We are truly honored to be recognized for our commitment to quality, innovative cuisine that celebrates the best of local ingredients here in Israel,” says Chef Tomer Tal of George and John. “This award is a testament to our craft in the kitchen and our imagination for what modern Middle Eastern cuisine can be. We will keep striving to please the world’s most discerning diners.”

Chef Tomer Tal and The Drisco Hotel Founder and CEO Avi Zak were present at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi to accept the award that cements George & John as an iconic restaurant in North Africa and the Middle East

The Drisco Hotel’s George & John restaurant was this week awarded as the “Number 1 Best Restaurant in Israel” and the “Number 6 Best Restaurant in the Middle East and North Africa” as part of the Annual World’s 50 Best Awards. Chef Tomer Tal and Avi Zak, The Drisco Hotel CEO and Founder were present at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi to accept the award that cements George & John as an iconic restaurant not just in North Africa and the Middle East, but in the world.

This year’s World’s 50 Best Awards award ceremony for the Middle East and North Africa took place in Abu Dhabi, with the competition ranking leading restaurants across 14 cities. The rankings are decided upon by Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of 250 leaders in the restaurant industry across the region, each selected for their expert opinion of the Middle East and North Africa’s restaurant scene

Avi Zak, CEO and Founder of The Drisco Hotel, stated, “In 2018, I met Tomer Tal and invited him to join me in realizing a dream: to open Israel’s best restaurant in Israel’s best hotel. Happily, Tomer accepted the offer, and we have been working nonstop since then to realize our common vision. It’s not easy, and it can be difficult at times, but when two people want something so strongly and are surrounded by a determined and talented team, anything is possible. We completed our first mission after five challenging years. Our next goal is to join the Michelin guide and make the list of the world’s 50 best restaurants, for which we will continue to improve and work hard for our valued customers.”

In his restaurant, Chef Tomer Tal combines flavors and recipes from his Jewish-Moroccan heritage with seasonal raw products from Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market and fresh seafood from adjacent Jaffa Port. Each beautifully plated dish tells its own story, showing an aspect of the local eastern Mediterranean cuisine. George & John’s home, a 19th-century construction in the heart of Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s American Colony neighborhood, is a source of continual inspiration to the chef and his dedicated team. The founding brothers, after whom the establishment is named, set up shop in one of the country’s first modern hotels; the rest is history. The hotel now hosts Jaffa’s first wine bar and outdoor grill.

Several kinds of charcoal-based grills and smokers are used in the kitchen: the hand-chopped kebab is prepared in a small, traditional Middle Eastern classic grill; while wild local cabbage is smoked in a clay pot smoker, set in George & John’s garden.

One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the tuna carpaccio, served with black garlic sauce, puffed tapioca in dashi and seasonal herbs and juicy Medjool dates. For a taste of the grill, opt for the lamb chops in charcoal, slow roasted with a tahdig (traditional Persian scorched rice) tart and glazed quince.  Returning to the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list for a second consecutive year, George & John has succeeded in climbing the ranks and is named The Best Restaurant in Israel 2023.

Chef Tomer Tal is one of the leading young Israeli chefs with experience from top Israeli restaurants (formerly of Yaffo-Tel Aviv, the restaurant of celebrity Chef Haim Cohen) and has been the Executive Chef of the acclaimed George & John at The Drisco Hotel since its opening in 2019. Chef Tomer Tal has resurrected this historical restaurant pairing modern Israeli dishes with broader Mediterranean influences, and using unique cooking techniques, including smoking, grilling, pickling and use of local, indigenous herbs and quality products. The result is an elevated dining experience featuring a menu that is a personal interpretation of the contemporary Israel cultural and gastronomic melting pot. The George & John restaurant has received numerous industry accolades, including being ranked #9 in the 2022 Middle East’s 50 Best Restaurants and in La Liste 2022’s World’s Best Restaurants, among others.