The Best Cheap Eats in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv has several great budget-friendly restaurants offering traditional Israeli dishes and more
Tel Aviv has several great budget-friendly restaurants offering traditional Israeli dishes and more | © dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Julian Bonte-Friedheim

Budget options are surprisingly easy to find in Tel Aviv, a comparatively expensive city. Here are the best places to try some delicious and affordable cheap eats that offer a real taste of the area.

In 2019, Tel Aviv was voted as one of the top 10 most expensive cities to live in. In a region revered for fantastic street food, local vendors and hole-in-the-walls serve up simply made favourites like hummus, falafel and shakshuka, so finding something delicious to eat at a cheap restaurant won’t be too hard a task. If you’re a budget traveller, it’s also worth checking out our guide to visiting Tel Aviv on a budget and the best street-food joints.

1. Hummus Ve’shut

Cafe, Hole in the Wall, Israeli, Fast Food

Flavour trumps presentation at this hole in the wall that sits on the edge of Florentin, Tel Aviv’s bohemian quarter. As is customary for authentic hummus vendors, Hummus Ve’shut offers free refills of hummus and pita. Everything here is made fresh on-site, and each of the small tables inside is set with a plate of spicy sauce, pickles and raw onion petals (the onion is used to scoop up the hummus). The best option is its “business deal”, which offers an assortment of hummus, fried potatoes, falafel, Israeli salad and a glass of home-made lemonade, all for 36 shekels (£8). Hummus Ve’shut has a laid-back atmosphere and is open until late at night.

2. Tony ve Esther

Restaurant, Israeli, Mediterranean

Tony vs Esther
Courtesy of Tony and Esther

Tony ve Esther’s tables, chairs and potted plants are sprawled across a small street between the two buildings out of which it operates; one functions as a bar, the other as a kitchen. Highly affordable, this restaurant is packed during weekend brunch hours, and patrons are more likely to find a seat during the week. As the restaurant is cut off from the busy main roads, many people sit here with their dogs to take in the bohemian atmosphere. Tony ve Esther makes delicious shakshuka and fresh salads, schnitzels and curries. Most dishes cost under 50 shekels (£11). If you need something to wash the food down after your meal, be sure to check out our guide to the best bars in Tel Aviv.

4. HaKosem

Restaurant, Israeli

People eating at tables outside HaKosem, with benches along the street
© Michael Jacobs / Alamy Stock Photo

HaKosem is one of the best places in Tel Aviv to try the quintessential Israeli street-food classics: hummus, shawarma, falafel and sabich. Arik Rosenthal opened the restaurant in 2001 and has made it his quest to perfect the national favourites. While the seemingly never-ending queue moves surprisingly quickly, every so often free falafel bites are offered to those waiting in line. Once inside, HaKosem favours speed and efficiency, so it’s best to know what you want before getting to the counter. Its home-made pomegranate lemonade is a perfect accompaniment to any of the dishes. Sit outside and people-watch on busy King George Street, and budget about 50 shekels (£11).

5. Taqueria

Restaurant, Mexican

Fish tacos at Taqueria, Tel Aviv
Courtesy of Taqueria Restaurant
Located on Levontin Street in the heart of the city, Taqueria serves Mexican cuisine well. Inside, the large open space is covered in concert posters and images of lucha libre wrestlers and the Virgin Mary. Taqueria serves lunch, dinner and drinks and always draws a big crowd in the evenings – note that the restaurant only takes reservations on Friday from 6pm. Try its burritos, which cost about 40 shekels (£9) each, or its home-made corn tacos and fresh salsas. On a hot summer’s night, there’s nothing better than sitting at one of the outside tables while sipping on a refreshing margarita and watching passers-by.

6. Casino San Remo

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Israeli

Casino San Remo lies on Nehama Street in the historic neighbourhood of Jaffa. It sits on the edge of a beautiful square decorated with stone tiles and a water fountain in the centre. The restaurant is open every day from morning to late at night and offers a variety of dishes, including fish and chips, vegan burgers, Mediterranean-style salads, pastries and cheesecake, and reasonably priced cocktails. Casino San Remo also hosts private events, so make a reservation to avoid disappointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.

7. Erez Yemenite Restaurant

Cafe, Restaurant, Israeli, Mediterranean, Kosher

Located in the Yemeni Quarter or Kerem HaTeimanim, Erez recreates authentic and traditional Yemeni cuisine with spices like cardamom, turmeric and caraway. The Yemeni potato and chicken soup is a must-try. Alternatively, Erez offers a lunch special for 33 shekels (£7) that includes two kebab skewers and any three side dishes. Make sure to put your name on the list, especially on Fridays when the restaurant is exceptionally busy, and sit outside on the narrow cobblestone street to enjoy the sights and sounds of the adjacent Carmel Market.

This article is an updated version of a story created by Lior Kantor.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article