The Israeli breakfast, the pomegranate shake, the hummus plate, the Friday evening dinner: food has a strong role in the Israeli culture. Here, people love food, love enjoying it, talking about it, debating about it, and planning the next culinary experience. Here are my favourite places in the city!
The Little Prince café on King George 19 is my local living room. It has a cozy and bohemian atmosphere. They always play nice music – you are likely to see the Little Prince staff singing or dancing along. The place also serves as a second-hand bookstore. There is a small garden in the back. You can find me sitting there with my laptop, along with others who have found this treasure in the city.
Another place I really love: Yom Tov, next to the Carmel market. Yom Tov means ‘Have a good day’ in Hebrew. The place is vibrant and inspiring. They have great, healthy and tasty food. I recommend coming here if you want to do trend-spotting in the city or just chill for a moment. Yom Tov is typically quiet during the week but packed on Fridays. If all the tables on the street are taken, catch a sofa upstairs.
For dinner, I recommend Gemma, an Italian located in the bohemian Noga neighborhood. When my friends and family are visiting, I take them to Beit Kandinof in Jaffa. It is a beautiful space and it also serves as an art gallery. It is located in Jaffa, and the park next to the restaurant shows a very beautiful view of the city.
You can’t of course talk about food in Israel without bringing up your favourite hummus place. Admittedly, before I moved to Israel, I thought hummus was a sauce or a dip, and I found it strange adult men would eat it as main course. Now I have witnessed first-hand how seriously locals take hummus and how taste develops to truly respect a good dish. I am not the go-to person for the best places, but I do know them, and here are some of the spots that have made it to their approved list: Mashawsha on Pinsker street, Abu Hassan in Jaffa, and Abu Adham at the end of Carlebach street.
For take-out, get a box home from the Carmel market. A warm recommendation for the druze pita with hummus or labaneh! You can get a great one from the end of the Carmel market.
Bliss in a pita: Sabich, falafel and more
Sabich is a pita pocket filled with fried eggplant, tahini and boiled egg. Arguably the best sabich is found on the corner of Allenby and Tschernikowski streets.
My 2-year-old was the first to bring my attention to the Pop Up Panda in the Carmel Market. Who are these cool panda-hat equipped guys having fun and playing the kind of pop music that makes my toddler throw his hands in the air? I later learned that their sabich is to die for, the secret being in the bamboo steamers they use (or perhaps in the fun that they’re having?)
The ‘six shekels falafel’ on King George street has gained many fans, feeding busy and hungry Tel Avivians.
Ps. Another restaurant with Middle Eastern cuisine that no one has left disappointed: The Old Man and the Sea in Jaffa. Make sure to come here hungry and do not make the mistake of thinking food will stop coming after what is actually just the starters…
Tel Aviv boasts of being the best city for vegans. Anastasia on Frishman street was the first vegan restaurant in town and remains very popular. That said, it is also often very packed. I get my Thai from Marketlv – you can recognize it on King George street from a heart that states “100% love.” Can’t help but love that.
If you have the munchies or you want to pack lots of snacks to the beach or your day trip, get nuts and dried fruits from the Levinsky market.
Another delicious vegan place we just recently discovered is called GOODNESS and is located on 41 King George street. It offers a delicious variety of Israeli cuisine dishes – altered to a vegan version. This place is highly recommended even if you’re not vegan. Check out their menu here: https://goodness.co.il/
Gourmet Food – In a Pita bread?
Across the street from GOODNESS, on 30 King George st., you can find MIZNON: one of the celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s concept restaurants. This place offers a variety of meat/vegan/vegetarian gourmet dishes served in a delicious pita bread they make themselves. Price range is between 35-55 shekels for a dish, and it is so far one of the most successful recommendation we are giving – guests say. It’s open until late too.
Supershakes and more
There is a smoothie or a juice bar on every street in central Tel Aviv. My favourite place is The Juice Box on King George Street, and the juice bar on Ben Gurion boulevard has served as a popular meeting point for locals for years.
For eco-friendly shopping, I can recommend the Nitzat Haduvdevan shops that can be found all over town. I still can’t pronounce the name correctly, but the shops can be recognized from the cherry logo. A “cherry shop,” as I irresponsibly call them, can be found in the Carmel Market and on Bograshov street, for example. The Shorashim Health Foods on Ben Yehuda hosts not only an array of great healthy and ecofriendly products but also very knowledgeable staff and service.
There are many hostels in Tel Aviv to choose from at amazing locations only at Central Stay.
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