Israel has been on my bucket list for the longest time. First and foremost, there is the food. Some of my favorite dishes come from that region. Some recipes have its origin from bordering countries like Palestine and Irak which makes a culinary tour through Israel even more interesting. And then you have the religious influences. Jewish food meets Muslim food meets Christian food. Not everything you eat in Israel is Israeli and I would have much preferred to travel to all surrounding countries. But that’s not always easy and so I enjoyed my time in Israel as a melting pot of food from the region and diverse religions.
Before I continue with my post, let me say one thing. Believe it or not but you will eat the best hummus and pita in your life when coming to Israel. I could have never imagined that hummus could taste even better than I know. It just blew my mind and if you can’t find any reasons yourself why to visit Israel. The hummus will be justification enough. Trust me on this one.
Disclaimer: I’m not here to judge any religion, nor prefer one nor get into any fight about religious beliefs. These are my own thoughts only and I wanted to include them into this post as they are the reason why I visited Israel.
And that already brings me to the next reason why I’ve always wanted to visit Israel. Especially after moving to the Middle East (first Egypt and now Turkey) I became more and more interested in the concept and origin of religions. I was raised an Atheist and only new about Islam, Christianity and Judaism from text books and a few friends. But before moving to Egypt I’ve never lived in an environment that is so much shaped by religious rituals and traditions. Where it’s actually dangerous to say you are Jewish (I friend of mine is Jewish and she pretended to be a Christian because she was from Europe and that was kind of accepted).
So imagining that three of the main religion would somehow live peacefully together was just a very fascinating thought to me. So even though this post is about Tel Aviv’s food scene (plus one recommendation for Jerusalem) I would recommend to do a day trip to Jerusalem and conceive its beautiful diversity.
Back to Tel Aviv and food. Before planing my trip I’ve only heard amazing things about Tel Aviv’s food scene. Tel Aviv itself is a very modern city in the sense that it’s young and dynamic. You won’t find skyscrapers like in the States but many people compare it to Miami or other coastal cities in the US. It is strongly influence by the Bauhaus style, an architectural and design movement from Germany that started 1919. Nowadays there are still 4000 Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv and it therefore was named World Heritage in 2004. In between you find lots of hip Cafes and restaurants, most of them offer vegetarian and even vegan options. Even though this food guide to Tel Aviv is not fully vegan, almost all places offer vegan food.
The list of restaurants is by all means not comprehensive and I have received so many more recommendation from my Instagram followers. I’ve listed them all at the end of this post and they are on top of my list next time I visit Israel again.
A Quick Food Guide to Tel Aviv, Israel
As a foodie I’m almost embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Sabich before coming to Israel. That’s why we all need to travel more because it’s more fun and delicious than any institutional education but you learn so much. So Sabich, at least in Israel and Palestine is as popular and famous as falafel and hummus. It’s a freshly baked pita filled with grilled eggplant (the best part), eggs (ask to leave it out if you’re vegan), lots of super fresh greens and veggies, potato, tahini and some more delicious (vegan) ingredients.
Address: Tchernikhovski St 2, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Cafelix is a cozy neighborhood cafe with amazing coffee, probably the best almond cappuchini I’ve ever had. Pastries looked wonderful fluffy and fresh too. You can either sit outside at a bar-style or inside and listen to 60th music.
Address: Shlomo ha-Melekh St 12, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
My plane arrived quite late in Tel Aviv, so I was slightly worried that kitchens would close soon. We got to Ha’achim at 9.30 pm and still had to queue for 45 min. This place was buzzing with young and relaxed people, I really loved the atmosphere. The staff was super friendly too. While we waited I had the Refresher coktail which was extremply taste. Haachim serves contemporry Israeli cusine. Try the roasted cauliflower, mushrooms in herbs and Spinach arayes (stuffed pita).
Address: Ibn Gabirol St 12, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 6407714, Israel
Anastasia is the only place I visited in Tel Aviv that is all vegan. My friend ordered a Acai bowl which I didnt find overly convicing but the cornflour omlett sandwich was amazing. Served with roasted eggplant dip and lots of greens and veggies, it actually tastes much better than the real deal.
Address: Frishman St 54, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Levinsky 41 Cafe
If you order a kombucha at Levinsky 41 Cafe, you get a flower and herb bouquet in a kamboucha. How beautiful is that. i never took so many photos of a drink. And the kamboucha happens to taste amazing too. This is probably my favorite little nook in Tel Aviv. It’s literally just a whole in a wall but they have a vintage van outside where you can sit down. This place is nothing short of wonderful.
Address: Levinsky 41, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Upon our arrival the receptionist recommended we skipped hotel breakfast and visited Xoho Cafe instead. I’ve heard about it before and actually had it on my extensive list of all the food places I wanted to visit in just 2.5 days. So on Saturday morning (yes, it’s open on Saturdays) we sat down on their beautiful and shady terrace to enjoy some amazing food. They offer quite a few vegan options, so I ordered the granola and chia pudding bowl which was packed full of all kinds of amazing flavours and spices. We also shared the banana bread with vegan butter and I’m eating it in my dreams. It was that good.
Address: 以色列, J. L. Gordon St 17, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
If you ever visited or come from NYC you might have heard of the Lehamim Bakery. Founder Uri Scheft opened the very popular Bread Bakery in NYC after Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv became such a success. I expected lots of tourist when we visited early morning for a quick breakfast but first of all, I only heard Hebrew and secondly all signs are in Hebrew too. So one of the very nice staff members and translated explained every little pastry to me. Lehamim Bakery is supossed to be the best bakery in Tel Aviv and their breads and pastries have a Danish, Israeli, Jewish influence. It was there that I had the best almond croissant in my life. But honestly, everything just tasted beyond amazing.
Address: HaHashmonaim St 103, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 67133, Israel
After walking down Tel Aviv’s promenade all the way from the Marina we got to Jaffa, the oldest part of town. It’s more historical and I loved wandering around the narrow roads, passing by busy markets and eventually making a stop at Shaffa Bar for a refreshing drink. It’s perfect for people watching and sipping on homemade lemonade with mint, cinnamon and spice syrup.
Address: Nakhman St 2, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Orna and Ella
Orna and Ella isn’t a place you would go if you want to have a fancy dinner but it’s a place to go when you love food. I’ve come across Orna and Ella because of its good ratings but also because they have Vegan Shakshuka on their menu. We went for dinner and my friend ordered the Cauliflower Sinya which is baked cauliflower with tomatoes in a warm tahini sauce. Just the thought of it makes me feel all the feelings again. And that Vegan Shakshuka, that absolutely blowed my mind. I’ve had traditional Shakshuka before but very very very honestly, this vegan version was just so much more flavorful and creamy.
Address: Sheinkin St 33, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 65232, Israel
When it’s warm outside I crave ice cream. Unfortunately in Istanbul there aren’t many good ice cream places although its super hot 50% of the year. So when the first sunrays apperead on the Tel Avivian sky I wanted, yes, ice cream. And Tamara Yogurt just hit all the right spots. Vegan, fruity and not too sweet. Tamara Yoghurt offers sorbet-like popsicles but also soft serves which come in 3 sizes and can be topped with as many toppings as you like or fit in your cup. That day they offered two vegan options for the soft serve, coconut and acai. Highly recommended.
Address: Ben Yehuda St 96, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 63435, Israel
Despite raving reviews of others, Night Kitchen is not my favorite eatery in Tel Aviv. I was missing the overdose of regional flavours that I loved so much about all the other dinner places we went to before. It has a hip vibe and you’ll hear mostly internationals but the food was quite international too. If I would have eaten this in Istanbul where I sometimes (read often) long for Non-Turkish cuisine, this would have been amazing. I had the artichoke carpaccio which tastes excellent. Different place, different time I would have given it a 5-star.
Address: Lilienblum St 43, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 6513452, Israel
I mentioned earlier that I had the best hummus in my life in Israel. And even though all hummus tastes better here, there is one place that sells the creme de la creme of Israeli hummuses. It’s not located in Tel Aviv but in Jerusalem which is only an hour our bus drive away. Abu Shukri is located in Jerusalem’s old town and is a very simple eatery. It’s recommended not to look behind the counter (which is the kitchen) if you have a sensitive stomach but I promise only the best comes of it. They don’t have a menu and don’t speak English (they only know a few basic words) so order one hummus plate and one falafel when you visit à deux. You can always order more when you are hungry. If you happen to visit on a Friday come before 1 pm because otherwise you run the risk that the hummus is sold out.
Address: 63 Al-Wad St, Jerusalem, Israel
Here are some places I did not have the time to visit but they are on my list for my next trip to Tel Aviv. Most of the spots were recommended to me by my Instagram followers who never let me down 🙂
HaKosem – Falafel and Sabich
Sabih Frishman – Sabich
Abu Hassan – Hummus
Jusa Cold Pressed – Cold Pressed Juices
Bucke Cafe – Super sad I didn’t go, this place looks so delicious – healthy colorful food
Zakaim – Vegan, Middle Eastern with locally sourced food
Meshek Barzilay – Vegan, Vegetarian and Organic Restaurant
Nanuchka – 100% vegan Georgian restaurant
Cafe Birenbaum – Vegetarian Buffet Restaurant
Tenat – Ethiopian Vegan Restaurant
The Green Cat – Vegan Pizza
The Vegan Shawarma – Vegan Döner