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Hebrew Lesson Number 11

The Mediterranean Restaurant

Once a week, Liat meets her sister and Eran meets his brother. In this online Hebrew lesson, you will find out what kind of restaurants they prefer and how you say Pizza and Humus in Hebrew.

Introduction to Lesson 11:

The Mediterranean Restaurant

Much of the Western border of Israel is formed by the Mediterranean coastline, and influences from the entire Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern regions have found their way into Israeli culture.  You can hear it in the music.  You can taste it in the food!

Learn Hebrew Pod  - Lesson 11

So, of course, we’ll need to learn the Hebrew names for all this delicious food.  And Learn Hebrew Pod shiur achat-esre will give us the opportunity to do just that.

We’ll also have the chance to get better acquainted with our old friend, the Paal building block, and we’ll learn about a special Hebrew suffix that can turn just any old brother into my brother and any old sister into my sister.  So, by the time we’re done, you’ll know how to say, “My brother and I are going to the Italian restaurant.”

Finally, you’ll understand why, when you’re going to an Oriental restaurant in Israel, you shouldn’t expect to order egg rolls or sushi.  But instead, plan on a wonderful meal of pita ve-chumus . . . and maybe some jachnun, malawach, and schug. Mmmmm . . . But you’d better be careful with that schug!!  Beteavon!!

Team Conversation from the Lesson:

Jonathan:  mezzuyan! So to complete our discussion for Lesson 11, let’s just briefly review the different kinds of food you and your siblings usually, bederech klal, like to eat.


Liat:  Well Jonathan, in my case it’s all very simple and easy to remember.  In Hebrew - pasta is Pastalasanya is Lasagna, and pizza is Pizza. If by any chance we’d like to order a Salad with our meal, we already know that this word also sounds quite similar, in English and in Hebrew, Salad is salat.

Eran:  But my brother and I ani ve-achi are ordering special Mediterranean foodochel yam tichoni.

אוכל ים תיכוני


Jonathan:  With your permission Eran, birshutchawith your permission, let’s discuss this term for a second, ochel yam tichoni…. ochel is…

Eran:  Food, and, as you can see, Jonathan, this Hebrew word uses the same root as the verb to eat, as in  ani ochel - I eatana-chnu ochlim - we eat.  The root, O, CH, and L, is found in the Hebrew noun ochel, which is food.

Jonathan:  And yam tichoni is Mediterranean

Eran:  Exactly.  In English, the word Mediterranean refers to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as being an adjective for things or qualities that are derived from this area… 

As we very well know, Israel is on the Mediterranean…ha-yam ha-tichon. This is the noun the Mediterranean Sea.  

הים התיכון

yam tichoni  is the adjective, adding the vowel “I” at the end of a word, often works in Hebrew as a way of creating an adjective out of a noun.                       

yam tichon, a noun, yam tichoni, an adjective.   

Combining all of this with our special ‘cheese cream’ rule,  ochel yam tichoni  is literally food Mediterranean, which is of course translated properly as Mediterranean food.  We go to a Mediterranean restaurant.


Liat:  And I would like to mention, that in Israel, we refer to these restaurants as Oriental restaurants, compared to restaurants of the Far East, such as Chinese  mis-a-da sinit or Japanese  mis-a-da  yapanit.

Jonathan:  Let’s see what your favorite dishes are, in this Oriental Mediterranean restaurant.

חומוס, פלאפל, בורקס, סלטים - ארוחה ים תיכונית


Eran:  kamuvan!  So…ani bederech klal ochel chumus pitriyot, I usually eat chumus, which is a Hebrew word I’m sure we all know ... but, in speaking Hebrew properly, I should emphasize that we in Israel say chumus and not humus.  

It is written with the Hebrew letter ‘chet’ …ch….chumus and I like my chumus with pitriyot mushroomspitriya one mushroompitriyot more than one mushroomchumus pitriyot,  chumus with mushrooms.

Liat:  And do you know, Eran, when I’m not having Italian food, I would also go for what your brother is having…jachnun …mmm.  It’s delicious.  I actually know how to prepare it myself!


Eran:  And I am a great malawach maker.

Jonathan:  Wow!  So Liat, why don’t you describe for us what jachnun is, and Eran, what is malawach?

*Learn what are jachnun and malawach by listening to the full conversation by using the Learn Hebrew Pod Audio/Visual Hebrew learning sessions - Lessons A, B and C at the top of this page.


Some Hebrew Grammar from This Lesson:

Definite and Indefinite Articles and Their Use with Prepositions.

מילות יחס

Jonathan: toda Liat ve toda Eran.  Let’s note one more thing before we finish.  As you have probably noticed, on our Hebrew vocabulary list, we used the word “restaurant” with different prefixes and adjectives.

Mis-a-da is simply a restaurant.  As we very well know, there is no indefinite article in Hebrew, no equivalent to the article A. 

misada – a restaurant.

Ha-mis-a-da is the restaurant.  We do have a definite article in Hebrew, and it is connected to the word as a prefix:  Ha.

Ha-mis-a-da - The restaurant

אני עובד במסעדה איטלקית

אני טבח - אני מכין פיצה מעולה

Ha-mis-a-da ha-I-tal-kit – the Italian restaurant.  When a noun is specific, as when using the definite article The, so is the adjective that describes it. 

Combining that with the cheese cream rule, we get the literal translation - the restaurant the Italian. 

In Hebrew, when describing a particular or specific noun, remember to put the Ha both as the prefix to the noun, as well as to its adjective.

The preposition To in Hebrew is also a prefix.  Usually it is Le.  When saying the combination to the, we do not put these two prefixes next to each other as in le-ha, but combine them into one prefix – la. 

Le ha becomes la

To the Italian restaurant  -  la-mis-a-da ha-I-tal-kit.  Remember, in Hebrew, the adjective still needs to have the article The, which is ha.  

la-mis-a-da ha-I-tal-kit.


In Eran’s monologue, the same applies of course to his favorite restaurant:

mis-a-da miz-ra-chit  - an oriental restaurant

ha-mis-a-da   ha-miz-ra-chit  - the oriental restaurant

la-mis-a-da   ha-miz-ra-chit  - to the oriental restaurant

*Read and listen to the full grammar discussion by using the Learn Hebrew Pod unique Audio/Visual Hebrew learning sessions - Lessons A, B and C at the top of this page.