Many stores and restaurants are closed on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest that begins at sunset on Friday and ends at nightfall on Saturday. However, Culture Trip has compiled a list of the best places that are open, ranging from high-class bistros to more casual set-ups.
Restaurant, Vegan, $$$
A relative newcomer to Tel Aviv’s culinary scene, this charming spot has fast established itself as one of the finest vegan restaurants in the city. A great place for a sit-down meal, Bana keeps changing its menu depending on what vegetables are in season. We recommend the cashew quiche, volcano bowl and roasted sweet potato with lentils and pistachio pesto.
Nestled within the quiet streets of Tel Aviv’s Yemenite Quarter, and right behind the busy Carmel Market, Hamitbahon catches the eye of many passersby due to its beautiful exterior, which is covered with plants and flowers. Its menu reflects the diversity of Israel’s population, offering a range of homey Jewish foods, such as Moroccan couscous with beef stew and beef kibbeh (on Tuesdays only). For a taste of real Ashkenazi cuisine, visit on a Saturday to try their delicious cholent (a traditional Jewish stew).
No restaurant encapsulates the spirit of Tel Aviv like this much-loved establishment. Centrally located just steps away from Habima Square, here, you will find a large menu with great options, from breakfast through to dinner. Their mafrum (meatballs with cauliflower), served with couscous and tomato sauce, comes highly recommended, along with the beetroot shakshuka and frittata. Open until 1 am every night, apart from Friday (when it closes at 7 pm), and with one of the nicest balconies in Tel Aviv, this is the perfect spot to people watch, drink affordable beer and soak up a truly Tel Avivi atmosphere.
An evening spent at this restaurant-bar will give you a clue as to why Tel Aviv’s culinary scene is receiving international recognition. One of the most ‘in’ spots in the city, located on the lively Rothschild Boulevard, its charming courtyard and second-floor cocktail bar makes this a fabulous spot for soaking up Tel Aviv’s buzzing atmosphere. The food is tapas style and split into tiers, the cheapest being 29 NIS (6 GBP) and the priciest 89 NIS (19 GBP).
If all you’re craving this Shabbat is a delicious pizza, then this is the place for you. Owned by a Frenchman, the pizzas are cooked to perfection in a wood-burning stove and topped with an array of fresh ingredients and creative toppings. Whether you’re a vegetarian or in the mood for meat or fish, these gourmet pizzas are the best in the city. For those not willing to go out, Philippe will deliver piping hot pies to your doorstep.
For a taste of Mumbai on Shabbat, Ma Pau is the go-to spot. Serving both Indian and Pakistani dishes with an emphasis on street food, this restaurant offers authentic flavours with its thali (a selection of small dishes and dips served with rice), chaat (savoury Indian snacks typically sold on the roadside, which include samosas, onion bhajis and pakoras) and curries. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a refreshing mango lassi.
One of the top spots for Asian food in Tel Aviv, Zozobra’s menu features Vietnamese-style pho, ramen, wok-fried noodles and curries. Everything tastes fresh (the noodles are prepared daily in their kitchen) and is packed with flavour as Chef Avi Conforti combines different techniques from the Far East. The Bangkok heat noodles and the Korean meat eggrolls are some of their biggest hits. Finish off your meal with a touch of sake before asking for the bill.
One of the most popular Italian restaurants in Tel Aviv, this centrally located spot offers excellent pasta and pizza in a cosy, unpretentious atmosphere. The owners spent time in Italy studying the cuisine, which is evident after trying their food. Whether you’re looking for a romantic meal or a dinner option with the family, Amore Mio will not disappoint.
One of the most well-established restaurants in Tel Aviv, this French brasserie serves consistently delicious food in a classy atmosphere, featuring tall ceilings and a trendy bar. Centrally located right next to Rabin Square and open 24/7 two days a week, this is a great dining option during Shabbat. Famous for their hamburger and chips dish, their pasta with meatballs is also not to be missed.
This is one of Tel Aviv’s finest restaurants, situated incongruously in an industrial area in the southeast of the city. Its gourmet menu, with highlights including liver pâté, duck confit and a hamburger in red wine, is complemented by an elegant layout and excellent service. Prices aren’t cheap, so perhaps save this for a special occasion.