An incredibly diverse and culturally fascinating city, Tel Aviv also boasts a rich culinary culture, which combines a great number of influences from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Picking the right place to eat is made easy with our guide to the best cultural restaurants in Tel Aviv.
Bistro, Market, Restaurant, Israeli
Restaurant, Israeli, $$$
If you want to get your hands on the best hummus around, head to Abu Hasan as early as possible and be prepared to queue for a while. You’ll be met with a communal eating experience: the place is always crowded. All of this makes for one of the most memorable culinary exploits you can have in Tel Aviv. The menu is simple: hummus with all its accompaniments (onions, pita, lemon juice, and maybe some beans if you’re feeling adventurous). The recipe is a heavily-guarded secret of the family that originally opened the business almost half a century ago.
Abu Hasan, HaBarzel St 2, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, +972 3 644 8101
Bistro, Market, Restaurant, French, $$$
As unusual it sounds, Eden Bistro is especially recommended for its breakfasts, which have a heavy French touch to them (croque monsieur and crepe suzette are glaring examples) but this is explained by its location inside the boutique Eden Hotel. The advantage is that you can start the day off with a high-quality meal prepared on-demand in a chic bistro-cum-tea-salon atmosphere. Dinner is also available, and the chef is open to requests if the duck confit, pasta or fish are simply not enough. The restaurant also offers tours of the market, showcasing the freshness of the products they use and the range of delicacies available in Tel Aviv.
Eden Bistro, Yishkan St, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 545 5900
Restaurant, French, $$$
Popina translates to ‘poppy’ in English, a symbol of connected cultures, revival and euphoria – rather apt, given what this restaurant represents. Popina is a modern restaurant situated in a historical building, offering breathtaking fusion cuisine. Sheltered between exposed stone walls, it serves up an array of innovative creations such as gin and tonic tartar, braised veal cheek and strawberry soup with tapioca. And once you’ve supped it all up, the chef is eager to receive feedback on the meal. Each dish also appears on the menu with wine suggestions to ensure a delicious meal.
Popina, 3 Ahad Ha’Am Street, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 575 7477
Cafe, Mediterranean, $$$
Cafe 48 is much more than just a cafe. The resident chef, who conceives the menu and the dishes himself, creates delicious meals from more unusual ingredients. Expect chicken hearts and tongues cooked in an Israeli style but with a modern twist towards the international are one example. Finish off with the popular crack pie, as people come from miles around for a slice, served with unsweetened whipped cream.
Cafe 48, Nahalat Binyamin 48, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 510 1001
Market, Restaurant, Moroccan, Mediterranean, $$$
Tel Aviv can’t be treated as a culturally homogeneous city, for that would be to neglect all of its history and the migratory flow of its inhabitants. The cultural significance of the food on offer is paramount to understanding the country as a whole. It is inevitable that Moroccan, North African and Arabic food should be dotted around the city, and not easily distinguishable from the Jewish and Eastern European eateries. Jamilla is a small and unpretentious Moroccan restaurant which serves some of the most in-demand tagines in town. It’s ideal for a fulfilling lunch or early dinner, perhaps as you take a break from touring the Carmel market.
Jamilla, Gruzenberg St 31, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, +972 3 516 6123
It’s one of the easiest dishes to make, but one of the most pleasurable to eat, especially at Dr Shakshuka’s. Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli dish of poached eggs and spicy tomato sauce with various Mediterranean vegetables mixed in. Most Israelis eat this dish from a young age at home for breakfast, lunch or dinner; here, guests can congregate around the long tables and eat their shakshuka directly out of a hissing pan, accompanied by salads, sauces, potatoes and pita. All of this, washed down with the house lemonade, is a great way to complement a tour of the historic Jaffa district of Tel Aviv. Of course, shakshuka is not the only item on the menu, but it is certainly a must-try.
Dr Shakshuka, 3 Beit Eshel, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel, +944 4 193 057
Situated at the entrance to the bustling and enigmatic Yemenite quarter, Gedera 26 has a laidback, intriguing atmosphere, with chairs fabricated from recycled window panes from around the country. Expect communal intimacy. The chef is half-Swedish and half-Israeli and this is evident in the eclectic fusion cuisine – depending on the dish, the label could be French, Arabic, European or fusion. Cold salads lighten up the meat and seafood mains.
Gedera 26, Gedera 26, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 510 0164
Restaurant, Mediterranean, Seafood, $$$
This restaurant has had little trouble setting itself up as one of the prime eating destinations in the city. At Fitzroy guests can admire the view of the Mediterranean, whilst enjoying black gnocchi, or raw fish slices, which resemble a slice of pizza, complete with its own made-to-measure cardboard box, but with none of the grease.
Fitzroy, 136 Hayarkon St, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 520 6100