The best of Tel Aviv can be found in Lev Ha’ir (heart of the city), where hipsters, hi-tech workers and anyone in between rub shoulders. Follow Culture Trip’s guide to the best dinner spots in the area, from gourmet vegan food to creative tapas.
Bistro, Israeli, $$$
Dok, Tel Aviv | Courtesy of Dok
This tiny restaurant is the perfect place to try the best of Israeli cuisine. Priding itself on its locally sourced ingredients – from food to alcohol, the only imported ingredient is black pepper – each dish is created with an interesting mix of flavours. Although the menu changes seasonally, we highly recommend the green gazpacho soup, the Arabic cabbage and the beef carpaccio. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Located in a historic two-story building, Aria offers an innovative and seafood-heavy menu in a light and elegant interior. Chef Guy Gamzo is behind this fine-dining experience, delighting patrons with meticulously presented starters such as salmon tataki and Vietnamese shrimp salad. For a main, try the seared calamari on black risotto or a four-hour-stewed oxtail pappardelle. After the meal, head to the downstairs bar for some of the best cocktails in town such as the zesty Speedy Gonzalez and enjoy the live DJ performances.
Considered by many as the city’s best restaurant, Taizu’s extensive menu features elevated pan-Asian street food inspired by chef Yuval Ben Neriah’s travels to India, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Neriah has crafted sweet and savoury flavours to create unique dishes. The dumplings are a favourite among diners, and their weekly Indian Feast (every Sunday from 7pm to 11.30pm) comes highly recommended. The exquisite food combined with Taizu’s dark and sleek interior will make this an unforgettable fine-dining experience.
Café Noir, Tel Aviv | Courtesy of Café Noir, Tel Aviv
Café Noir offers a warm fine-dining experience. Although famous for its perfectly cooked veal schnitzel, the European-style menu offers many other excellent options, from home-made gnocchi to grilled sea bream. Located on a corner of Ahad Ha’am Street, just away from the hustle and bustle of Rothschild Boulevard, this bistro consistently serves up great meals.
An unbeatable location combined with innovative Middle Eastern cuisine has made Port Sa’id the coolest dining spot in the city. Expect a lively and casual atmosphere with great tunes courtesy of the restaurant’s impressive vinyl collection. The menu here, which changes regularly, is created by famed Israeli chef Eyal Shani and is best shared among friends. Start with the roasted Arab cabbage and the perfectly executed sweet potato, before moving on to the beef carpaccio and slow-cooked ‘Butcher’s Cut’
Santa Katarina, Tel Aviv | Courtesy of Santa Katarina
In the shadows of Tel Aviv’s Great Synagogue lies a handful of the city’s trendiest eateries, one of which is the lively and intimate Santa Katarina. Chef Tomer Agay has created a bold and unique menu that combines Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours. The star of the show is the tabun oven, which produces fabulous pizzas and perfectly cooked breads (try their lahmajoun, a thin Turkish-style pizza with lamb, fresh greens and zesty tomato salad). Equally popular is their Arab ceviche with red tuna, zucchini tzatziki and chilli. Either grab a seat outside and soak up the buzzing Tel Aviv atmosphere, or reserve a space at the bar and have front-row seats of the chefs at work.
Persian-influenced vegan food meets mismatched furniture at this hidden beauty off Allenby Street. Don’t let the makeshift interior fool you; Zakaim is home to some of the city’s fanciest plant-based dishes, and the meals are cooked in an open kitchen. Don’t miss out on the lentil paté, which arrives with toasted challah bread and a sweet tomato jam, or the delicious mushroom musabaha (whole chickpea hummus).
Located in the heart of Lev Ha’ir on Rothschild Boulevard, this spot serves up some of the best Vietnamese food in the city at an affordable price. From the curries to their salads and banhs, everything here tastes fresh, authentic and full of flavour. The slow-cooked beef banh (sandwich) is a highlight, as are the fiery and aromatic chicken kem noodles. Whether you’re sharing some small dishes on the bar with a cocktail (try the Star of Hanoi, with star-anise-infused rum, lemongrass and orange juice), or people watching from the outdoor patio, Vong is an excellent dinner option.
This restaurant-bar’s charming courtyard and second-floor cocktail bar make it a fabulous spot for enjoying Tel Aviv’s vibrant culinary and nightlife scene. Expect plenty of fresh seafood dishes (the grilled shrimp skewer and Asian fish carpaccio are highly recommended), in addition to expertly crafted cocktails, such as the cucumber-based Green Gin for 49 Israeli new shekels (£10). The food is tapas style and split into tiers, the cheapest being 29 shekels (£6) and the most pricey 89 shekels (£19).
Homely yet trendy, this restaurant and bar is perfect for sharing a selection of Italian delicacies with a glass of wine. From scrumptious street food such as arancini to handmade pasta (we recommend their black seafood linguini), the food here is sure to delight. With an aesthetically pleasing interior, featuring wooden tables and hanging plants, and a charming terrace for an al fresco experience, this is an all-round lovely spot to enjoy a balmy Tel Aviv evening.