Tel Aviv has loads of restaurants in all kinds, representing all areas of the Arab world, as is the rest of the world. And you know what, you can always find something for any budget. You can choose a boutique type restaurant, or you can choose a restaurant, where you have a meal for a few shekels. And then there are those restaurants, which are based on the rising crop of ‘chef restaurants’ and an ever-growing number of swanky brasseries.
If you’re self-catering, the best fresh fruit and vegetables in town are sold at the Carmel Market. But at the same Carmel market you can find also meat. At this market there is a so called ‘back-section’, where you can buy the ‘forbidden fruit’, eh, pork meat.
Convenience supermarkets offering a good selection of products, reasonable prices and late-night hours are found all over the city. Between Sunday and Friday, many restaurants offer ‘business lunch’ deals whereby diners get a free starter, or sometimes even a starter and a glass of wine, with every main course ordered.
Here follows a collection of restaurants, divided into sections of Tel Aviv. Be aware, this collection covers less then one percent of the number of restaurants in Tel Aviv.
Center of Tel Aviv
Miznon (30 King George St; pittas 23-44NIS; noon-1am Sun-Thu, to 3pm Fri, from 7pm Sat) Map.
The vibe here is bustling, the prices are (very) reasonable and the staff are young, friendly and full of energy. And let’s not forget the most important thing – the food is exceptionally delicious. Huge pitas stuffed with your choice of veggies, chicken, offal or meat await, as do fish and chips or roasted spiced yam and cauliflower (yum!). You’ll need to line up to order and give your name. Then make your choice from the tahina, labneh, green chilli sauce and pickle spread, claim a seat and wait for your order to be announced. Drinks include lemonade, beer and arak.
Felafel Gabai (25 Bograshov St; felafel 16NIS; 10.30am-10.30pm Sun-Thu) Map.
In a city where every felafel stall claims to be the best, Gabai is a strong contender for the title. Like most stalls, its crispy balls of felafel come with as much salad, pickles and tahina sauce as you can squeeze in a pita bread. It also serves a fine shakshuka and schnitzel.
Sabich Frishman (42 Frishman St; sabich 18NIS; 9am-11.30pm Sun-Thu, Fri before Shabbat, Sat after Shabbat) Map.
This tiny stall specializes in sabich, an Iraqi-derived snack consisting of fried aubergine, boiled egg, cabbage, salad, potato, hummus and spicy amba (mango) sauce, all stuffed into a pita. It’s on the corner of Dizengoff and Frishman Sts – just look for the long lines and the felafel stall next door.
HaKosem (1 Shlomo HaMelech St; felafel from 18NIS; 10.30am-11.30pm Sun-Thu, to 3pm Fri) Map.
One of the friendliest felafel stalls in town, HaKosem (the Magician) is a popular snack stop on the corner of King George St. Aside from its trademark green, fried chickpea balls in pita, it also offers sabich, schnitzel and shwarma (meat sliced off a spit and stuffed in a pocket of pita-type bread with chopped tomatoes and garnish). If you’re lucky, you’ll get a free felafel ball straight from the pan while you queue: magic.
Gala Gelateria (30 King George St; 1/2/3 scoops 14/19/23NIS; 10am-1am) Map.
Special choices for vegans (including a chocolate concoction) plus plenty of yoghurt and fruit options make this hole-in-the-wall gelateria opposite Gan Meir Park stand out from the Tel Aviv pack. We recommend anything with pistachio, tahina or mango in it.
Orna and Ella (03-525 2085; http://www.ornaandella.com; 33 Sheinken St; breakfast 36-58NIS, mains 42-92NIS; 8.30am-midnight Sun-Thu, from 10am Fri & Sat) Map.
Effortlessly melding its serious gastronomic focus with a casual-chic decor and a neighborhood vibe, this restaurant-cafe is beloved of locals for good reason. Seasonal, often organic, ingredients are used to excellent effect in hearty breakfasts and refined lunches and dinners. Vegans, vegetarians and anyone who appreciates good food will be very happy here. Dine inside, or in a rear courtyard.
Brasserie M&R (03-696 7111; http://www.brasserie.co.il; 70 Ibn Gabirol St; breakfast 22-49NIS, mains 62-110NIS; 24hr) Map.
Somewhat officious maîtres d’ orchestrate the service at this hugely popular cafe-brasserie opposite Rabin Sq. The art deco–inspired interior is très Parisian, as is the menu, which includes choices such as oysters, salads, steaks and a plat du jour. There are plenty of French wines to choose from, but many diners opt for an expertly made cocktail instead.
Cafe Noah (93 Ahad Ha’am St; breakfast 36NIS, sandwiches 35NIS; 8am-11pm Sun-Thu, to 5pm Fri) Map.
Popular with writers, poets, pundits and other folk desperately attempting to avoid a nine-to-five job, Noah has big windows, a small library and a palm-tree-shaded terrace. The menu offers salads, sandwiches and all-day breakfasts.
Agadir Burger (www.agadir.co.il; 2 Nahalat Binyamin St; burgers from 49NIS; noon-4am Sun-Thu, to 5am Fri, to 3am Sat) Map.
Locals swear by the burgers here, which feature beef or vegetarian patties of varying sizes sizzled up with choose-your-own toppings. The perfect place to indulge a beer-and-burger craving, it’s on Nahalat Binyamin St and is always busy.
Fresh Kitchen (03-529 2687; http://www.freshkitchen.co.il; 37 Basel St; salads from 36NIS; 11.30am-midnight Sat-Thu, noon-5pm Fri) Map.
With over a dozen types of salad on the menu, this is the place to get your daily five portions of greens and then some. The menu also has a multitude of muesli, sandwiches and refreshing shakes –and it even lists the calories. There are a few branches dotted around town, including another in the city center.
Tchernihovsky 6 (03-620 8729; 5 Tchernichovsky St; mains 68-110NIS; noon-11.45pm Mon-Thu, 10am-noon Fri,10.30am-5pm Sat, 11.45am-6pm Sun) Map.
A little taste of Lisbon here in the Middle East, Tchernihovsky 6 is owned and operated by a Portuguese-Israeli chef and is known for dishes featuring octopus, pulses, meats and other Iberian favorites. There’s a street-side terrace that’s invariably packed on warm evenings. The same crew operates the Porto wine bar opposite.
South of Tel Aviv
Anita (crn Shabazi & Pines Sts, Neve Tzedek; 1/2/3 scoops 15/20/24NIS; 8am-midnight) Map.
Neve Tzedek’s ‘Mama of Gelato’ has a loyal local following, a fact that will immediately become apparent if you head here on a summer evening (expect a queue). Flavours are many and varied, and come in both sorbet and ice-cream styles. There’s a second branch opposite, and a third down the street that sells frozen yoghurt.
Bet Lehem Hummus (5 Florentin St, Florentin; hummus 17NIS; 10am-9pm) Map.
The free self-service tshai nana (mint tea) is a nice touch, but regulars are drawn here solely on the strength of the hummus. Choose from full (with mashed and spiced fava beans) or masabacha (with chickpeas and warm tahina) versions, and consider ordering an egg topping (2NIS).
Port Sa’id (Har Sinai St 5; small plates 22-52NIS, mains 34-180NIS; noon-late) Map.
The mother ship for inner-city hipsters, this restaurant-bar next to the Great Synangogue is decorated with a library of vinyl records on wooden shelves and has a coterie of heavily tattooed regulars. There’s good Middle Eastern–accented food on offer (no English menu, so you’ll need to consult with the waiters) and lots of drink choices. Get here early to score a table, and don’t expect much in terms of service.
North Abraxas (03-516 6660; 40 Lilienblum St; small plates 22-52NIS, mains 34-120NIS, pizza 54NIS; noon-midnight Sun-Thu, 1pm-midnight Fri & Sat) Map.
The food at this flamboyant place is relegated to secondary importance – here, it’s all about the vibe. Sitting at the bar and watching the chefs and waiters chop, flambée, plate, sing and down arak shots with customers is fabulous fun, and the modern Israeli menu with its pizzas, colorful vegetable dishes and flavorful slow-cooked meats will please most diners.
Nachmani (03-566 3331; http://noirgroup.co.il; 26 Nachmani St; pastries 12-16NIS, pizzas 46-58NIS, mains 58-134NIS; 8am-midnight Sun-Fri, from 9am Sat) Map.
A perfect example of the casual yet stylish eatery trending in Tel Aviv, this cafe-restaurant serves generous antipasto platters, piping-hot pizzas from its brick oven, handmade pasta dishes and an array of sandwiches and salads. The outdoor tables are popular between 4.30pm and 7pm on weekdays, when every alcoholic drink comes with a free focaccia or bruschetta.
Ouzeria (44 Matalon St, Florentin; mezes 35-60NIS; noon-midnight) Map.
Popular with locals of every age and style, this exuberant corner restaurant in the Levinsky Spice Market precinct is busy every night but is absolutely hopping on Friday after the market closes. It doesn’t accept bookings, so you may need to queue. Greek mezes showcase vegetables and seafood and are both tasty and well priced.
Ahathaan (03-560 8070; corner of Ahad Ha’am & Balfour Sts; breakfast 36-59NIS; 8am-midnight Sun-Thu, to 5.30pm Fri, 9am-midnight Sat) Map.
Shaded by an awning, lit by multicolored lights at night and inevitably full of locals, the street-side terrace at this thrift shop–chic cafe is a popular meeting point at any time of the day but is particularly busy in the morning. Inside, there are plenty of laptop-friendly tables catering to the telecommuting crowd.
Cafe Lucia (03-744 8088 ; 18 Balfour St; breakfast 10-46NIS, sandwiches 36-42NIS, mains 32-48NIS; 7am – midnight Sun-Thu, to Shabbat Fri, 7pm-midnight Sat ) Map.
Every neighborhood should have its own Cafe Lucia. Known for its breads and pastries (the owners also operate the Lachmanina Bakery), its shady street-side terrace is inevitably full of locals catching up over coffee and ordering from the well-priced menu, which is strong on comfort foods including sandwiches (fresh and toasted), schnitzels, pastas, meatballs and fish and chips.
Lulu (03-516 8793; http://www.lulucafe.co.il; 55 Shabazi St, Neve Tzedek; breakfast 38-58NIS, sandwiches 44-48NIS, mains 64-96NIS; 7.30am-11.30pm) Map.
A perfect example of Neve Tzedek’s laid-back but carefully curated style, this cafe-bar-restaurant has a vaguely arty ambience, Mediterranean menu and fashionable clientele. The food is a notch or two up the quality scale from standard cafe fare, and the indoor-outdoor seating arrangement suits all weather.
Meshek Barzilay (03-516 6329; http://www.meshekbarzilay.co.il; 6 Ahad Ha’am St, Neve Tzedek; breakfast 38-64NIS, mains 46-68NIS; 7am-4pm Sun, to midnight Mon-Fri, from 9am Sat) Map.
Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for in Tel Aviv, but this place goes that extra mile when it comes to making them happy. One of only two restaurants we found serving organic free-range eggs (bravo!), it has plenty of interesting Indian- and Asian-influenced dishes on its menu and some great breakfast choices. Regulars swear by the vegan farm breakfast.
Giraffe (03-685 1155; cnr Montefiore & Yavne Sts; mains 51-98NIS; noon-midnight) Map.
Robustly flavored pan-Asian dishes including dumplings, noodles and sushi rolls are served at this bustling branch of the popular local chain. The food lacks finesse, but it’s fresh and tasty. Despite being ever-busy, the friendly waiters and bar staff are always happy to have a chat.
Suzanna (03-944 3060; http://www.suzana.rest-e.co.il; 9 Shabazi St, Neve Tzedek; breakfast 49NIS, meals 55-86NIS; 10am-2am) Map.
A longstanding Neve Tzedek favorite, Suzanna offers a Middle Eastern mix of dishes. Some of these are more successful than others, so the ‘I’ll have what they’re having’ approach pays off here. Enjoy your meal during summer months on the large open courtyard in the shade of an enormous ficus tree.
Nanuchka (03-516 2254; http://nanuchka-tlv.com/; 30 Lilienblum St; mains 49-68NIS; noon-late) Map.
A vegan Georgian restaurant? Surely not. But that is indeed what Nanuchka – once a traditional Georgian eatery – has transformed itself into. We’re puzzled as to the place’s popularity, as our meals have been bland and uninteresting, but there’s a bohemian buzz about the place that may provide an explanation. The starter of seven salads (58NIS) is a safe bet.
Thai House (03-517 8568; http://www.thai-house.co.il; 8 Bograshov St; mains 42-128NIS; noon-11pm) Map.
Dedicated restaurants serving Thai food are few and far between in Tel Aviv. So if you’re craving green, yellow or red curry, try a dinner at Thai House (Beit Thailandi), a bamboo-laden restaurant on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Bograshov Sts.
Catit (03-510 7001; http://www.catit.co.il; 57 Nahalat Binyamin St; 3/4/5 courses 349/399/479NIS; 6.30-11pm Sun-Fri) Map.
Meir Adoni is generally acknowledged to be be Tel Aviv’s most exciting and accomplished chef, and this intimate restaurant is his flagship restaurant (he also operates the attached Mizlala bistro and two venues at the Carleton Hotel). The food here is spectacular – ultra-refined dishes that are wonderful to look at and even better to eat. Service is impressive, too. Vegetarians and vegans should mention their requirements when booking.
Bindella Osteria & Bar (03-650 0071; http://www.bindella.co.il; 27 Montefiore St; pasta 49-99NIS, mains 68-128NIS; 12.30pm-late) Map.
Bindella is the epitome of a modern Tuscan ristorante – elegant, with an uncompromising focus on quality food, wine and service. Our meals here have been exemplary, featuring al dente pasta, meat and fish cooked simply so as to showcase its quality, and delectable desserts. The wine list is similarly impressive, being full of premium Israeli and Italian drops.
Mizlala (03-566 5505; http://mizlala.co.il; 57 Nahalat Binyamin St; mains 89-169NIS; noon-midnight) Map.
Catit’s younger sibling has cheaper prices, a simpler menu and way more va-va-voom than her big sis but still showcases Meir Adoni’s refined approach to cooking. The stylish dining space with its long bar is most definitely one of the city’s places to be seen, and the menu’s Mediterranean slant is particularly pleasing. Whatever you do, don’t contemplate skipping dessert, because that’s the best of all in Tel Aviv. No, scrap that … the Middle East.
Café Noir (03-566 3018; http://noirgroup.co.il; 43 Ahad Ha’am St; brunch 34-64NIS, mains 66-128NIS; noon-midnight Sun-Wed, to 1am Thu, 8am-1am Fri, 9am-midnight Sat) Map.
This bustling French-style brasserie is known locally for two things: weekend brunches and its signature schnitzels. We’re big fans of the first but prefer to order one of the consistently excellent salads or pastas rather than the second. It’s worth paying extra for a bread basket.
Hotel Montefiore (03-564 6100; http://www.hotelmontefiore.co.il; 36 Montefiore St; burgers & sandwiches 42-46NIS, mains 62-160NIS; 7am-midnight) Map.
For a special night out, you need look no further than the Montefiore’s French-flavored restaurant. Though not quiet (the place is far too fashionable for that), it’s a favorite with glam young things out on dates and with business people sealing deals. The menu travels across Asia and Europe, the wine list is impressive and the bar is perfect for solo diners.
Dallal (03-510 9292; http://www.dallal.info; 10 Shabazi St, Neve Tzedek; breakfast 32-62NIS, mains 76-170NIS; 9am-11.30pm Sun-Fri, noon-11pm Sat ) Map.
For one of Tel Aviv’s best brunches, head here on Saturday between noon and 6pm, when the garden tables are full of locals noshing on organic egg dishes such as the roasted eggplant shakshuka with spinach, tomato coulis and goat yoghurt. Dinner in the slightly twee dining room is a more formal affair, featuring conservative French-influenced meat and fish dishes. The nearby Dallal Bakery (7 Kol Israel Haverim St, Neve Tzedek; 7am-10pm Sun-Thu, to 5pm Fri) Map. is a great spot for a simple lunch, but seating is extremely limited. If it’s full, consider ordering to go and heading to nearby Alma Beach for a picnic.
Tel Aviv Beach and Coast
Gelateria Siciliana (http://glideria.co.il; 110 Ben Yehuda St; 1/2/3 scoops 15/20/25NIS; noon-midnight Sun-Thu, 11amlate Fri & Sat) Map.
Most Italians will agree that the test of a good gelateria is always its pistachio gelato, which should be a soft green color and have a sweet yet nutty taste. Happily, Tel Aviv’s Gelateria Siciliana (map) passes this and other gelato-associated tests with flying colors. There’s a second branch near Rabin Sq (63 Ibn Gabirol St, map), and one in Herzliya.
Tamara (96 Ben Yehuda St; small/medium/large cup 22/27/32NIS; 9.30am-12.30am Sun-Fri, from 10.30am Sat) Map.
We’re going to break some bad news here: despite the spin, we suspect that frozen yoghurt isn’t particularly healthy. It’s undoubtedly delicious, though, so we’re all for damning the consequences and following the world-wide frozen-yogurt wave to this excellent place near Gordon Beach. Enjoy your cup plain or choose from a range of indulgent toppings.
Pinati (http://pinati.co.il/; 43 Bograshov St; hummus 20-33NIS; 10am-10pm Sun-Thu, to 4pm Fri ) Map.
Close enough to the beach that the picnic potential is obvious, this branch of Jerusalem’s favorite hummus joint sells hummus, chicken schnitzels and other fast-food favorites.
Benedict (www.benedict.co.il; 171 Ben Yehuda St; breakfasts 38-98NIS; 24hr) Map.
Those craving blueberry pancakes, bacon and eggs, shakshuka or eggs benedict at five in the afternoon – or, for that matter, in the morning – need go no further than this constantly crowded all-night breakfast place. Bring a big appetite: servings are huge, and come with bread. There’s another branch in Tel Aviv (29 Rothschild Blvd) and one in Herzliya.
Shila-Sharon Cohen’s Kitchen (03-522 1224; http://www.shila-rest.co.il; 182 Ben Yehuda St; tapas 46-59NIS, raciones 48-79NIS, mains 74-148NIS; noon-1am Sun-Thu & Sat ) Map.
Only a castanet click or two away from the beach, Sharo Cohen’s Spanish-inspired seafood restaurant offers an array of vividly colored and robustly flavored tapas, raciones (small plates) and grilled main courses – those in the know tend to start with a few carpaccio and tartar tapas and then graze on the vegetable, fish and seafood raciones on offer.
Manta Ray (03-517 4773; http://www.mantaray.co.il; southern Tel Aviv Promenade; breakfast 39-45NIS, mains 75-175NIS; 9am-11pm) Map.
It’s stylish, casual and at the beach – the perfect Tel Avivian triumvirate. On the slope directly above Alma Beach, this is the summer breakfast and lunch venue of choice for locals and tourists alike, so be sure to book (specify an outside table with a view). Try an omelette at breakfast and fish at other times of the day.
Herbert Samuel (03-516 6516; http://www.herbertsamuel.co.il; 6 Kaufmann St, Neve Tzedek; business lunch 88NIS, pasta 88-98NIS, mains 112-168NIS; 12.30-11.30pm) Map.
Home turf for Master Chef Israel judge Yonatan Roshfeld, this upmarket choice offers refined Mediterranean dishes from a menu that changes daily. Surrounds are elegant, with sea views. Come for the two-course business lunch, which is available every day except Saturday and represents good value.
Ali Caravan (1 HaDolphin St; hummus portions 18NIS; 8am-3pm Sun-Fri;) Map.
If hummus is a religion, then this could well be its Mecca. This tiny restaurant near Jaffa Port offers a limited menu of three hummus choices: plain, full (with mashed and spiced fava beans) or masabacha (with chickpeas and warm tahina). It’s always busy, so you’ll probably need to queue.
Shafa Bar (Rabbi Nachman St 2, Jaffa; sandwiches 32NIS, mains 28-52NIS; 9am-late) Map.
Another hipster hangout (Jaffa is full of them), Shafa is our favorite of the flea-market cafe-bar hybrids, a place where the coffee machine and cocktail shaker get an equal workout, and where it’s possible to order everything from a simple sandwich to a crunchy Thai salad or a dude-food choice such as Irish sausages and fries.
Said Abu Elafia & Sons (7 Yefet St, Jaffa; pastries from 3NIS; 24hr) Map.
Jaffa’s first bakery was established in 1880, and four generations down the line the Abu Elafia family is busier than ever. The main attractions are its giant sambusas (filled pastries), bourekas (stuffed breads with sheep’s cheese) and a unique Arab oven-baked pizza-like concoction filled with eggs, tomato, cheese and olives. Take-out only. Members of the family run branches near Rabin Sq (73 Ibn Gabirol St) Map. and on the esplanade (center Herbert Samuel Esplanade & Yonah HaNavi St) Map.
Dr Shakshuka (http://shakshuka.rest.co.il; 3 Beit Eshal St, Jaffa; shakshuka 36-42NIS, couscous 42-58NIS, shwarma 48-58NIS; 8am-midnight Sun-Fri) Map.
Set in an atmospheric Ottoman-era building in the flea market, the doctor has been working his shakshuka magic since 1991 and shows no sign of giving up. The eponymous egg dish is great, of course (his secret is loads of spice, particularly paprika), but locals tend to prefer the shwarma and couscous. Dine inside or in the shaded courtyard.
Puaa (03-682 3821; http://www.puaa.co.il; 8 Rabbi Yohanan St; breakfast 38-48NIS, sandwiches 38NIS, mains 42-58NIS; 9am-1am Sun-Fri, from 10am Sat) Map.
The thrift shop–chic decor is truly authentic here – every piece of furniture and decorative knicknack is for sale. In the midst of the flea-market action, laid-back Puaa serves an all-day breakfast and is particularly busy on weekends, when the shakshuka, sabich and bundash (fried challah served with jam and halva or with sour cream and cucumber) are must-order treats.
El Jamila (03-550 0042; 4 Olei Zion St, Jaffa; mains 60-120NIS; noon-midnight) Map.
Traditional fish dishes from the Ajami district are on offer at this Arab-run restaurant in the flea market. The stone-walled dining space has a high ceiling and attractive tiled floor, and is a lovely place to park your shopping bags after a busy morning in the souq. Try the ta’ashima (fish fillets baked in dough and served with almond tahina).
Container (03-683 6321; http://www.container.org.il; Warehouse 2, Jaffa Port; pasta & risotto 68-118NIS, seafood mains 68-118NIS; noon-late Sun-Thu, from 10am Fri & Sat) Map.
Equal parts restaurant, late-night bar, club and art space, the port’s most popular venue serves a mix of mezes, seafood, pasta and Israeli-style brunches. Like the food, the music is fusion, with well known local DJs spinning world, dub and dance. There are live sets on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday after 10pm.
Kalimera Bar & Restaurant (03-682 3232; http://www.kalimera.co; Jaffa Port; mains 68-118NIS; h5pm-late Sun-Wed, noon-late Thu-Sat) Map.
With its Greek island–style decor and menu, Kalimera is the perfect choice for a laid-back summer meal. Order an array of vegetable and seafood meze dishes to share, set the kids up with something from the children’s menu and prepare to enjoy yourselves.