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Eclectic Chefs, Cultures And Cuisines In Tel Aviv, Israel
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Eclectic Chefs, Cultures And Cuisines In Tel Aviv, Israel

Picture of Ruth Nieman
Updated: 29 November 2016
Tel Aviv, the culinary capital of Israel, has a diverse mix of gastronomic cultures, brought about from the wanderings and innovative discoveries of young hungry chefs. Here, we take a look at the chefs, cultures and cuisines of the city.

North Abraxas

Chef Eyal Shani stormed the culinary scene with his simple whole roasted cauliflower, which has become an integral part of his menu in his highly acclaimed restaurant North Abraxas on Lilienblum Street. Chef Eyal’s mantra is “only the freshest will do,” as he wanders into the Judean Hills daily to forage for the herbs that will enhance the flavors of his simplistic dishes. This is considered to be Israeli cuisine at its very best. The humble cauliflower has risen to new heights as young Israeli chefs traveling the world put their own spin on this dish, which is fast becoming a classic in Middle Eastern cuisine.

North Abraxas, Lilienblum 40, Tel Aviv +972-3-516-6660

Courtesy of Ruth Nieman
Courtesy of Ruth Nieman

Racha

Holishkes, a traditional Ashekazi dish of stuffed cabbage leaves, has been revived in Israel thanks to the country’s newfound love of Georgian cuisine. The small country of Georgia sits within the mountainous region of Caucasus and produces a different style of cooking. This style was developed from its historical influences in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Racha, located in the heart of Jerusalem, showcases Georgian dishes.

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Courtesy of Ruth Nieman

Nanuchka

Nana Shrier arrived in Israel from Georgia as a child of four, but grew up hoping that Israel would be able to taste and relish the food of her country. She did just that by opening Nanuchka in Tel Aviv 15 years ago. Offered here are the delights of Khinkali which are dumplings filled with spiced meat often floating in a tasty broth. There is also Mtsvadi, tender pieces of lamb or beef, seasoned only with a generous amount of sea salt and skewered before being cooked on an open flame grill and served with sour plum chutney. Several years ago, Nana took Tel Aviv by storm and changed Nanuchka into a vegan restaurant, which thrilled the enormous vegan population in Tel Aviv. Kninkali are now stuffed with a delicately spiced spinach and nut filling and served with a dipping sauce of vegan yogurt, among other vegan substitutions.

Nanuchka, Lilienblum St 30, Tel Aviv +972-3-516-2254

Courtesy of Ruth Nieman
Courtesy of Ruth Nieman

Raphael

Considered to be one of Tel Aviv’s most popular restaurants, Raphael was born of Chef Raphi Cohen’s memories of his North African roots. His passion for food came at an early age, thanks to his Moroccan grandmother and the restaurant experience he gained as a teenager after his military service. Eager to learn from some of the best chefs in Europe, he traveled to Paris, London and Naples to work in Michelin-starred restaurants. He worked with well known chefs including Alain Passard, Don Alfonso and Marco Pierre White. Combining his culinary experience and North African roots, he returned to Tel Aviv to open Raphael, where he has created a menu combining these influences. He delights his guests with entrees of fragrant Moroccan tagines and desserts of delicate French patisserie. They’re all at affordable prices and enjoyed in a spot overlooking the stunning Mediterranean Sea.

Raphael, HaYarkon 87, Tel Aviv +972 -3-522-6464

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Courtesy of Raphael Restaurant

Tapas Ahad Ha’am

Tapas are synonymous with Spanish cuisine and are about sharing both food and conversation — making them an experience and a feast, not just a meal. Celebrity chef Yonatan Roshfeld redefined the meaning of tapas in Tel Aviv when he created Tapas Ahad Ha’am. Situated just off Allenby, this restaurant is full of life and activity, much like the tapas bars in Spain itself. Yonatan Roshfeld, who is passionate about music, food and wine, found solace in Michelin-starred kitchens when he took himself on a gastronomic tour of France. He did this to learn the trade from some of the best chefs in the business. After three years, he returned home to provide Tel Aviv with some of the culinary delights he experienced throughout his French odyssey. This also included his love of tapas, which is evident in his imaginative menu at Tapas Ahad Ha’am.

Ahad Ha’Am 27, Tel Aviv-Yafo +972-3-566 -6966

Courtesy of Ruth Nieman
Courtesy of Ruth Nieman

Taizu

On every street corner in Asia, you can smell the delicious scents of cooking, enticing people to stalls where perfectly cooked dumplings, noodles and broths are sold. Combine these flavors with the fresh produce of Israel, and you have the perfect combination for Asian fusion. This is how Taizu was born, thanks to Yuval Ben Neriah. Following a trip to Taiwan, Macau, Canton, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia, the young chef brought these cooking styles back to Israel. It took more than a year’s research to bring Taizu to life, ensuring that the streets of Asia were truly reflected in the style of his restaurant. The menu was designed based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of fire, water, wood, metal and earth. All the dishes have been categorized to fit into one of these five elements. Each dish is made up of many components which all fit together quite perfectly, creating an explosion of flavor.

Taizu, Derech Menachem Begin 23, Tel Aviv-Yafo +972-3-522-5005

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Courtesy of Taizu Restaurant