Tel Aviv’s eating scene is both varied and exciting. Coinciding with the boutique makeover that the city is undergoing, there is a rising crop of ‘chef restaurants’ (i.e. those run by celebrity chefs), as well as an ever-growing number of swanky brasseries. But don’t worry if you’re on a budget – there are still plenty of cheap street-food eateries and kiosks to choose from.
If you’re self-catering, the best fresh fruit and vegetables in town are sold at the Carmel Market. 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.
There are thousands of restaurants to choose from, but I’ve some favorites I use for tours. Depending on the budgets, I choose one or more of them together with the group. This post is going to be expanded over the coming days.
- Miznon – (Map; 30 King George St; pittas 23-44NIS; noon-1am Sun-Thu, to 3pm Fri, from 7pm Sat ). 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 – (Map ; 25 Bograshov St; felafel 16NIS; h10.30am-10.30pm Sun-Thu). 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 – (Map ; 42 Frishman St; sabich 18NIS; h9am-11.30pm Sun-Thu, Fri before Shabbat, Sat after Shabbat). This tiny stall specialises 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 – (Map; 1 Shlomo HaMelech St; felafel from 18NIS; h10.30am-11.30pm Sun-Thu, to 3pm Fri). 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.
You must do as I do. You smile, bow over the vitrine near where they are cooking, and smile more. Voila!
- Gala Gelateria – (Map; 30 King George St; 1/2/3 scoops 14/19/23NIS; h10am-1am). 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. Don’t take the so called whipped cream, because nobody in Israel can make it.
- Orna and Ella – (Map; http://www.ornaandella.com; 33 Sheinken St; breakfast 36-58NIS, mains 42-92NIS; 8.30am-midnight Sun-Thu, from 10am Fri & Sat).
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 – (Map; http://www.brasserie.co.il; 70 Ibn Gabirol St; breakfast 22-49NIS, mains 62-110NIS;h24hr).
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.
This restaurant is open for 24 hours and it’s ideal for late or early tours who want to eat before they retire to their hotel. The service is excellent, the food is more then good and they have junk-food for me.
- Cafe Noah – (Map; 93 Ahad Ha’am St; breakfast 36NIS, sandwiches 35NIS; 8am-11pm Sun-Thu, to 5pm Fri)
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.