My guide to the best food in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the city that never stops to surprise you and endlessly delivers on all levels. Beaches, atmosphere, great nightlife, art, innovation, start-ups, culture and then there is the food. Wow! The food! Tel Aviv has a food scene like few other cities in the world. East meets West, South meets North. To understand why Israeli food is so diverse and why Tel Aviv restaurants exceed expectations after expectations you need to understand the history of Israel and the Jewish people.
Due to Jewish history, Jews have spread all over the world. Later on, as the state of Israel was declared many Jews have chosen to settle in Israel. Today the Jews in Israel are divided into three, major ethnic subdivisions according to where their ancestors settled: Ashkenazim (Central and Eastern Europe), Sephardim (initially in the Iberian Peninsula), and Mizrahim (the Middle East and North Africa). This means that the Jewish culture and the food in Israel are influenced by every corner of the world, and you can really tell. The flavors and inspiration from all over the world are easily detected in the food and in the Tel Aviv culture.
Check out my Tel Aviv food guide to get the most out of the Tel Aviv restaurants and your culinary experience during your Tel Aviv travel. If you need help on where to stay while in Tel Aviv please check out my Tel Aviv Hostels guide.
MY GUIDE TO THE BEST FOOD IN TEL AVIV
Hummus | Abu Hassan | Hummus Shlomo and Doron | Hummus Eliyahu | Cheap eats | Sabich Tchernikovski | Jasmino | Penso | Falafel Razon | Eat with locals | Port Said | Teder | Hakosem | Dallal | Café Xoho | M25 | Vegan Restaurants | 416 | Anastasia | Something a little extra | Night kitchen | Joz ve Loz
You can´t go write a guide about Tel Aviv food and not write about some of the best hummus in the world. Just as you can´t go to Tel Aviv without trying it. The Tel Aviv hummus scene is a jungle but don’t stress. It will be next to impossible to find a place with bad hummus. But you don´t just want good hummus, you want the best, right? The cold supermarket hummus you´re used to. Throw that out in the trash where it belongs. Great hummus is supposed to be served warm and fresh!
1. Abu Hassan
Abu Hassan, Shivtai Israel St., 14, Jaffa,
Aby Hassan is one of the oldest and most famous hummus restaurants in Israel, it´s family-owned and has opened three more affiliates. The restaurants themselves are super simple, the menu is short, opposite to the lines outside, and the places are usually crowded and loud. But boy do they know how to serve hummus! If you want to avoid the crowd, which is a part of the experience, arrive after 2 pm. Usually, their closing times aren´t set though so make sure to get there before 3.30 pm at the latest.
2. Hummus Shlomo and Doron
Shlomo and Doron is located on a cozy cobblestone street in Kerem Hateymaniem next to the Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel). They serve some of the most amazing hummus you´ll ever have. When you are here don’t go for the most traditional combinations instead take the opportunity and go for their more adventurous combos. They are a bit unorthodox but they are some of the greatest you’ll try. My favorite is the market salad, with all the goodies from the next-door market. Eat, enjoy and take in the hustle and bustle from one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Tel Aviv.
3. Hummus Eliya
Levontin St 2, Ma´on St 4 Tel Aviv
This place comes to you straight from the north of Israel to the big city of Tel Aviv. One of the best hummus restaurants in the whole country I’d say. It´s warm, it´s served with love, delicious pita bread and complimentary coffee and cakes at the end. My pro tip: go for the hummus with mushrooms – you won´t be sorry!
Tel Aviv is full of high-end chef´s restaurants that serve up every foodies dream on a daily. But Tel Aviv is also full of the most mouthwatering cheap eats you can imagine. Everything from street food shawarma to sabich, falafel, burekas, schnitzel in challa, you name it.
4. Sabich Tchernikovski
Tchernikovski St 2, Tel Aviv
So what´s a sabich you might wonder. It´s a pita filled with juicy slices of fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, a generous layer of creamy hummus, crunchy Israeli pickles, and Israeli salad. It´s like a velvety kiss and I´ve never tried anything like it. There are a lot of places serving great Sabich. Another place to try is Sabich Frishman on Frishman Street and Levinsky Street. Add a bit of schug (spicy mixture) and it´s a total home run! This gorgeousness comes at about 5 USD.
OK, let´s get this straight. No visit to Tel Aviv is complete without a visit to Jasmino. Jasmino is an institution on Allenby Street 97, right opposite the Great Synagogue. It´s open from 11.30 until late night and the que gets very, very long, but it´s well worth the wait. There are only 5 options of fillings available, kebab, spring chicken, the heart of veal, sausage margez and a vegetarian option. Everything is prepared on the grill, served in soft pitas, with barbequed tomatoes, onion, chillies, and tahini. The daily specials run out fast, so if you get a chance to try them, go for it!
Levinsky St 43, tel Aviv
Penso is the place for Burekas. Burekas is a staple dish in Israeli and Middle Eastern food. It´s a flaky and crispy dough, filled with various fillings such as mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, and meat. It is often served with a side of salsa and egg or just as they are. They are brought to parties, to the beach, eaten as breakfast or a snack. You’ll find the best ones at Penso. As Burekas are best eaten fresh, I suggest going before lunch as they are made in the morning each day and when they sell out. Then you’ll have to wait until the next day for a fresh batch.
7. Falalfel Razon
King George St 17
Falafel Razon, or the 6 Shekel Falafel Place as it´s known by the locals draw crowds from Tel Aviv city center all day long until their closing time at 6 pm. The options aren´t many. Falafel in a pita with Israeli salad (chopped tomatoes and cucumber basically), onions, pickles, cabbage, and tahini. Simple and delish and a full meal comes at only 6 is around 1,8 USD. The line is long, but as the falafel making never stops here, you´ll have your piping hot falafel in hand within minutes.
Eat with locals
8. Port Said
Haar Sinai 5
This place is so well known that it has opened a few restaurants around the world as well. Despite that, Port Said is a very low-key restaurant, but oh so tasty! It is one of the most well-known Tel Aviv Restaurants so be prepared to wait. But don´t worry, even if the wait is 45 min, order a drink, sit down and chill with the locals. Your communal table will be covered with brown paper, then a small pile of salt will be thrown at it and you´ll be greeted by what’s probably one of the most hipster waiter/waitress you´ve ever met in your life. Don´t necessarily expect a smile or fast service but do expect the food to be top notch! As soon as you sit down order the Arabic cabbage. Cabbage cooked for hours and hours in butter and served with the most creamy dollop of crème fraiche on the side. It runs out very fast, so don´t think twice, just go for it. Other items not to miss are the butchers cut, the spicy platter (a must!) and the eggplant with burnt tomato seeds, tahini, green chilies and egg. Like in many other places you can´t make a reservation, so show up well before you want to eat!
Derech Jaffa 9
Teder is everything in one place. It is a well-hidden place behind what looks like doors to nothing yet inside those doors you find a lively backyard with a full-on radio station, bars, shops and more. Upstairs you have another Eyal Shani restaurant, Beit Romano; a club, t-shirt shops, pop-ups, you name it. All great vibes of course but what more? Probably the best pizza in the world. Not even kidding. Served in slices, a half or a whole enormous pie to share and don´t try to add on any toppings, go for the Margherita. I still dream about this pizza and I have it every time I visit Tel Aviv. Everyone I´ve ever told about this place has been forever grateful, you are welcome!
Shlomo Hamelech 1
Hakosem, meaning the wizard in Hebrew, truly serves falafel magic and you can tell by the never-ending local crowd outside, inside and everywhere around the restaurant. They do have plenty of options, but the best is truly the falafel. Whilst waiting in line you´ll get a fresh hot sample, leaving you with the taste for more.
If you want to do it like the locals, ask for amba, a strong and spicy pickled mango popular seasoning in Middle Eastern cuisine. It really adds something extra and takes the falafel to the next level. Beware that your breath after will also be next level, if you know what I mean… Worth it though!
Shabazi St 10
If you ask any local where to brunch, they will send you to Dallal in Neve Tzedek. Even if the décor might draw your mind to a fancy place, this is the place for a proper hungover brunch and it is super relaxed. Enjoy their cozy patio and a classic European kitchen with Mediterranean food influences, using top-notch seasonal ingredients only. Everything from the coffee to the brunch dishes and to their stunning pastries will be a treat.
12. Café Xoho
Gordon St 17
Smackdown in the middle of the city center you find Cafe Xoho. And so does many others, but don´t worry, the atmosphere, like everywhere else in Tel Aviv is super chill. The warm banana bread is to die for, the salmon bagel is everything you ever dreamt of, and the menu offers plenty of vegans, dairy, and gluten-free options. Regardless of your tastebuds and life choices, you´ll for sure find something to delight you here.
Located in the western part of the Carmel Market, right in the beating heart of Tel Aviv, close to the beach, the port – Yafo and a lot of the main hotels, you find this hidden gem, that has drawn Tel Aviv meat lovers since it opened in 2015. It doesn´t look like much, with its wooden barrels and only a few seats. The butchery displays the cuts of the day. A must-try is the Arais, chargrilled lamb, tahini and salad, stuffed in a fluffy pitta, it´s flavorful, juicy and hits the spot.
Tel Aviv offers so many amazing vegan options you could think the whole city has gone vegan. That´s not the case. Nevertheless, you will not want to miss any of these places, regardless of if you´re vegan or not. They are a hit even amongst my meat-loving friends.
The place is cool, the menu is cool, the people are cool and the food is uh-amazing! It is probably one of the coolest dining experiences you will have here. The food is experimental and nothing like anything you´ve tried before. You definitely get New York vibes here and your thoughts go straight to Sex and the City. Don´t miss out on the (vegan) roast beef sandwich or the lemon “calamari”. I would say it´s a great place before a night out because guess what – even the cocktails hit the spot!
Frishman St 54
No visit to the white city is complete with at least one meal at Anastasia. They´ve been around for a long and really has left a landmark on the Tel Avivian food scene. Try their vegan shakshuka for breakfast their Masala Dosa for dinner and whatever you do, do try the warm chocolate cake at any time of the day!
Something a little extra
Sometimes you want something extra, maybe it´s your birthday, maybe you just want to treat yourself or maybe you just want to try something different and fun.
16. Night kitchen
Lillenblum St 20
Night Kitchen doesn´t only offer food, they offer an experience well worth the extra buck. Every dish comes with some kind of surprise, the cocktails are great and the service is impeccable. I would say to go for the option “dinner with friends” that gives you basically everything on the menu for 220 nis around 70 USD. As the menu always changes it is hard to give recommendations if you don´t choose the “dinner with friends” option then the recommendations of the staff is always a safe bet! …or is it?
17. Joz ve Loz
Gevulot St 5
Joz ve Loz is a no fuss restaurant. The chef decides the menu every day depending on his imagination and what ingredients are good and available. Or menu, there isn´t really a menu. You sit down and you get serving after serving of creative and amazing tasting dishes. And there is no price. In the end you pay however much you thought the meal and your drinks were worth.
What Tel Aviv food are you ready to try on your visit? Let us know in the comments below.
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