Eating in Tel Aviv

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.

City Center

  • 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.

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  23. Meaty Ratatouille
  24. Bedouin Mansaf Risotto
  25. Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
  26. Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
  27. Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
  28. The Middle Eastern Hamburger with Baked Kafta
  29. Lamb stuffed in Caramelized Onions
  30. Eggplant-wrapped fingers a la Fantasia
  31. Chickpea flour Quiche
  32. Salmon with Barberries or Cranberries
  33. Sea Bass with Spiced Rice
  34. Prawn and Coconut Rice Prawn and Coconut Rice, invasion of India in Iran and Eaten in Israel
  35. Prawn with Spinach and using Bread Crumble
  36. Braised spiced squid
  37. Mussels in Arak
  38. Almond-crusted scallops
  39. Um Ali Bread Pudding
  40. Tahini & Chocolate Brioche
  41. Cardamom-scented profiteroles
  42. Saffron rice pudding
  43. Knafeh Nabulsieh or Middle Eastern Cheesecake
  44. Muhallabiah – Evaporated Milk Pudding with Crushed Arabic Coffee
  45. Malabi, Milk Jelly in Rose Syrop
  46. Etrog Jam
  47. Grape Jam
  48. Lavender Parfait in Passionfruit Sauce
  49. Pomegranate & Rose Quark Summer Cake
  50. Lebanese Clotted Cream with Dulche de Leche & Caramelized Bananas
  51. Fruit Cocktail with Clotted Cream and Nuts
  52. Semolina pancakes
  53. Murtabak, Sweetness with Cheese
  54. Soprito, Simmered Beef or Lamb with Potatoes with Variations
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  56. Roasted Goat (or Lamb) with Potatoes
  57. Slow Cooked Israeli Chicken
  58. Shabbos Stew
  59. King of Stews, the Cholent
  60. Jewish Stew with Slow-cooked Meat and Bean Casserole with Bread Patties and Rice and Variations
  61. Maqluba, meat, rice, fried vegetables and Yogurt!
  62. Grilled Goose Liver with Potatoes
  63. Musakhan – Roasted Chicken with Onions and Sumach on Pita Bread
  64. Pickled Herring in Vinegar or ‘Zure Haring’
  65. Sauteed Red Mullet with Rashed or Israeli Fish
  66. Spicy Meatballs or the Albondigas
  67. Garlicky, Peppery Fish or Hraymi – For the Sake of Love
  68. Gefilte Fish – Fish Cakes Simmered in Vegetable Broth
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  71. The Only Jewish Chicken Soup with Noodles or stuffed Ravioli
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  74. Chopped Liver Salad
  75. Fresh Cucumber Salad with Labneh
  76. Avocado Salad with Labaneh and Mint
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  85. Labaneh, Sour Yogurt Dressing
  86. Zhoug, Hot Pepper Sauce
  87. Chrain, Spicy Horseradish Sauce from the Middle Ages
  88. Yogurt Sauce Combinations with Meat and Kebab
  89. Roasted Tomato Sauce, more then 10 thousand years old recipe.
  90. Ancient Tahina Sauce or Sesame Seed Sauce
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