Tel Aviv Food & Drinks
There is no place more Jew-ish than Tel Aviv. The menus of the city’s most popular restaurants flaunt shellfish and bars and nightclubs emanate music into the wee hours on Shabbat. Goys and secular Jews alike live their urban lives free of religious pressure. And yet, there’s no denying the city’s pride for its essential role as the first all-Jewish city in the world.
We recommend you take a quick look at The Great Synagogue and breeze through the Ben Gurion house tour, but your main focus should be eating and drinking so much that you collapse on Frishman Beach for an afternoon nap or find yourself glued to a bench on Rothschild Boulevard peoplewatching.
Petit Food Cafe (70 Yedidya Frankel; Website; Foursquare)
A tiny spot with a big breakfast. The Israeli breakfast here is one of the best - the fresh bread is heavenly and the sheer amount of dips is next level.
Bechor et Shoshi (14 Yad Harutzim; Website; Foursquare)
For real couscous and mafrum, this is your spot. It’s worth the 20-minute trip outside the city and the toilet paper rolls that take the place of napkins on each table. Everything is gone by 2 or 3pm.
Hakosem (1 Shlomo HaMelech; Facebook; Foursquare)
First and foremost, you get a free, piping hot falafel while you wait. The combo plates are rich in value and taste, and they’ll spike whatever specialty beverage they’re selling with a touch of arak.
Miznon (23 Ibn Gabirol; Facebook; Foursquare)
You’ll see Chef Eyal Shani’s mastery in this guide more than once. This is his gourmet, fast casual pita stand. Everything is incredible. Especially the luscious baked cauliflower - get it no matter what.
Puaa (8 Rabbi Yohanan; Website; Foursquare)
Right in the midst of Jaffa’s Flea Market, this quirky spot is a cafe-meets-restaurant-meets-secondhand-store. The outdoor patio is always full, the Mediterranean menu is varied and vegetarian-friendly, and the eclectic furniture and dishes are for sale.
Sabich Frishman (42 Frishman; Facebook)
Sabich - like falafel, but so much better. This lightly fried eggplant in a pita will melt in your mouth. Add “hakol,” or “the works”: a freshly boiled egg, potato, tahini, and every last salad and pickled thing.
Azura (2 HaRakevet; Foursquare)
After 50 years of operation in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehudah market, this low-key Turkish family restaurant expanded to Tel Aviv. Best kibbeh in the city.
Basta (4 HaShomer; Foursquare)
The fresh, creative menu changes every day and is inspired by the Carmel Market, in which the restaurant resides. The soundtrack is on point and traif reigns, from melt-in-your mouth crab burekas to brains on toast (unless you’re offal-averse). Sit inside for a romantic vibe, outside to feel like you’re in the mix.
Dalida (7 Zvulun; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
You can order your cocktails by the pitcher, and the friendly waiters provide you with copious shots of arak and join you in the festivities. The spicy feta brulee is just wow. The menu is conveniently organized by size of dish, and there’s something for everyone, from veggies to seafood and meat.
The Minzar (60 Allenby; Facebook; Foursquare)
While The Minzar is mostly known as a pub, its best kept secret is that it’s one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. The menu never conforms and always changes but is consistent in its impressive execution. Far from your typical bar food.
North Abraxas (40 Lilenblum; Foursquare)
Yet another mindblowing Eyal Shani institution. Our favorite, in fact. This isn’t a rustic farm-to-table affair; sit at the bar, right next to the kitchen, to marvel at the chefs’ talent and be delighted by the exquisite plating.
Ouzeria (44 Matalon; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
This relaxing and playful restaurant serves a seamless hybrid of Greek and Israeli food and a generous selection of ouzo. The owners’ motto is “joy,” and you’ll feel it here.
Shila (182 Ben Yehuda; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
This one requires a reservation, and we recommend you take one at whatever time you can get it. The creativity and fun levels are turned way up, and the raw fish dishes are especially refreshing.
Abu Hassan (1 HaDolphin; Facebook; Foursquare)
The spot you’ll be wary of because it’s the one everybody recommends, but they’re right. This is a glorious, legendary, nothing-but-hummus spot. Take the hummus, pita, and white onion they give you and head to the Jaffa port to devour it all in one sitting. First come, first served - don’t delay.
Cafelix (12 Shlomo HaMelech; Foursquare)
Avoid the slushy, icy, milky mix that passes for iced coffee at most Israeli cafes and enjoy Cafelix’s cold brew. Bonus: bring a blanket and a newspaper and stretch out on their lawn with your rare third wave Israeli coffee.
Kurtosh / Kurtos / Kyortosh / Kiortosch (39 Bograshov)
This Hungarian bakery has more monikers than pastries. Their namesake cake, the Kurtos Kalacs, is crack-a-licious. Eat it right out of the oven.
Beer Bazaar (36 Yishkon; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
Inside the Carmel Market, this super casual beer garden is best for a Friday afternoon drink. As the shuk shuts down, Beer Bazaar slowly expands its folding chairs and tables to the surrounding streets. Order the sampler.
Bellboy (14 Berdichevsky; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
Everything at this quirky, Prohibition-era bar in the lobby of the Berdichevsky boutique hotel is over the top, from the prices to the presentation. Indulge and get the salted caramel cocktail.
Brut (36 Nachalat Binyamin; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
This wine bar takes its name seriously, serving unadorned plates of nose-to-tail fare. The food is inventive, but the extensive wine list is what you’re going for.
Diego San (2 HaMashbir; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
A Mexican-Korean mash-up with a neon Californian vibe. Go for drinks after dinner and sit near the DJ booth. Don’t leave until you Instagram the shrine upstairs.
Rothschild 12 (12 Rothschild Boulevard; Website; Facebook; Foursquare)
The perfect place for afternoon-into-evening drinks on a sunny day. Find a seat on the patio and peoplewatch until live music strikes up in the back room. Dance.
A Friday Snack ‘n’ Stroll ‘n’ Shop
9am: Grab coffee and pastries and read the paper at Cafelix
10am: Take the Bauhaus walking tour
12pm: Eat lunch at Hakosem, right around the corner from the Bauhaus Center
2pm: Take your time walking down to and browsing the Carmel Market and Nahalat Binyamin craft fair
3pm: Meander through neighboring Kerem HaTeimanim, the Yemenite Quarter
4pm: Take a well-deserved break and sit down for cool, lazy drinks at Beer Bazaar
6pm: Sneak into Basta for an early dinner before it gets packed
Circle Around the Coast
9:30am: Grab breakfast on the beach at Manta Ray
10:30am: Walk up the Tayelet to Frishman Beach and lounge around until lunchtime
12pm: Grab lunch from Miznon and sit and eat in Habima Square
1pm: Walk down the tree-lined pedestrian pathway on Rothschild Boulevard to Neve Tzedek for sightseeing and shopping
2pm: Explore the Jaffa Flea Market (look out for Asufa, the Contemporary Ceramic Gallery, and SAGA TLV)
3pm: Pick up a snack at Abu Hassan before all the hummus is gone
4pm: Head over to the Jaffa Port and eat your snack on a bench by the water before exploring Old Jaffa’s ancient alleyways and artist studios
5pm: Stroll back up the coast, and exit the beach around Manta Ray onto Levinsky for dinner
6pm: Treat yourself to a full dinner at Dalida or Ouzeria, and don’t forget the arak
9pm: Post-dinner drinks at Diego San
Leave It to the Pros
Food Tours: Former attorney and current yoga instructor and amateur chef Inbal Baum will take you on the most original, delicious food tours of Tel Aviv. If she’s available, shop Carmel Market with her guidance and head to her place for a homemade dinner you cook together.
Art Tours: Art history pro and gallery director Sarah Peguine knows all there is to know about the contemporary art scene in Tel Aviv. She’ll craft custom tours of museums, galleries, and artists’ studios.
Graffiti Tours: Guy Sharett will help you decipher street art and graffiti across the city, teaching you Hebrew you’ll actually use as you go.