With over 140,000 Ethiopian Jews in the country and roughly 30,000 Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers, it is no surprise that one can find superb African food in Tel Aviv. From South African bunny chow to Eritrean injera, here’s where to find the most authentic African dishes in Tel Aviv.
Tenat is a gem of a restaurant located in a rundown area in south Tel Aviv, where you can feast on delicious vegan Ethiopian food in a charming atmosphere. The Ethiopian decor and music in the background adds to the experience, as does the charismatic Ethiopian-Israeli owner, Itshak, who you might catch dancing around the kitchen with his wife as they prepare the food.
The injera is topped with an assortment of tasty vegan dishes that are full of flavour, while their ful–a dish of cooked fava beans–is not to be missed. Made early in the morning and traditionally eaten for breakfast, it is soft, warm, and absolutely delicious, served with rolled up pieces of injera so you can mop up every last bit.
Bunny Chow is a South African fast food dish originating from Durban that combines Indian and African influences. It is a curry packed with flavour that is eaten from a hollowed out piece of bread. At Bunny Chow in Tel Aviv, a small stand located in both Carmel Market and the new Allenby-Rothschild indoor market, you can treat yourself to this delicious, filling dish either in challah bread or with rice. For a real party in your mouth, we recommend the mix: beef, chicken, and vegetables.
Come to this unassuming Jaffa restaurant for some of the best home-cooked North African (Tripolitan, to be specific) food in the city. Expect lots of couscous dishes, stuffed vegetables and, of course, Mafrum, the classic Jewish-Libyan meat in a potato sandwich. Simple, cheap, and tasty – what more do you need?
This highly rated spot founded by a Masterchef winner and celebrity Avi Levi is the place to go for homey North African cuisine. Expect plenty of hearty meat stews, dips, and fried sweet and savoury dishes. Their mouthwatering lamb sandwich, with North African-style bread fresh from their tabun, has been described as one of the best sandwiches in the city.
Eritrean food at Kuchinate | Courtesy of Kuchinate
Kuchinate is not a restaurant – it is an NGO based out of a rundown south Tel Aviv building that aims to empower and support female African refugees through the art of crochet. The women make beautiful products for the home, such as baskets and poufs, which they sell to locals. In addition to this, they host regular Eritrean meals featuring injera and tasty lentil dishes, and traditional coffee ceremonies. Come here for an alternative culinary experience while supporting a commendable organisation.
Neve Sha’anan is a street just off the Central Bus Station in a gritty part of south Tel Aviv that’s inhabited and frequented by African asylum seekers. If you want to taste Sudanese and Eritrean food, this is the place to go. The street is lined with small and simple eateries that are as authentic as they come. Most establishments, including this one, have no names, just an address.
With just four tables surrounded by sky blue wallpaper, this restaurant serves Darfurian staples such as kasera (their version of Ethiopia’s injera), bamia (a thick green soup with small pieces of meat, made using okra, onion and cilantro), and aseeda (a white, spongy lump of dough made from wheat, flour and water, served in a bowl with bamia and a similar red, tomato-based soup).
Another tiny eatery on Neve Sha’anan, at the end closest to the Old Central Bus Station, Gelila can only be found by asking someone (its name and street number are not easy to spot). Here you’ll find classic Eritrean food, which is very similar to Ethiopian cuisine. Expect large plates of injera topped with tasty meat and vegetable dishes.
A young Eritrean man eating in Gelila told us that Tedros, a restaurant just two minutes away on the pedestrianised Neve Sha’anan Street, is one of the most popular and longest-serving spots on the street, visited by international students, Israelis and tourists. Unlike many others, Tedros isn’t difficult to locate. If you’re looking for authentic Eritrean food – injera with mounds of saucy meat or lentils – then you needn’t look further than this hole in the wall. One tip for those thinking of visiting this area (which is Tel Aviv’s underbelly): be street smart and don’t walk there alone at night.