Tel Aviv Foodie Guide- Summer 2012
About a month ago, Danya and I participated in something really cool. The Israeli “social-start-up” Kinetis, organized a group of five amazing international food bloggers to come to Israel. The purpose of the trip, and of the organization Kinetis itself, was to expose the “creative-energy” Israel has to offer, and in this case specifically, it’s food. The girls of Kinetis put together an incredible whirlwind tour of the country’s culinary finest (and there are plenty). The bloggers who participated (Erin from Serious Eats, Cambria from TheKitchn, David Lebowitz, Kerstin from The English Can Cook, and Pille from Nami Nami) were each paired with local Israeli bloggers for one day. We hung out with the lovely Cambria, and taught her how to make stuffed grape leaves (post coming soon).
When I saw their itinerary, something in my head clicked. I get asked at least once a week, by friends, friends of friends, the aunt of a friend visiting Israel, etc., where to eat. This is something we’ve been planning on doing for some time now, but it wasn’t until the Kinetis blogging tour, that we realized that Israel is on the culinary world map, and that foodies worldwide need a guide.
There are tons of great places to eat in Israel and in Tel Aviv especially. We can’t cover everything, and this is the low down of places we would want to eat at if we were tourists.
Tel Aviv Foodies Guide- Summer 2012
La Repubblica di Ronimotti
Better known as just Ronitmotti, this newly relocated Italian spot has a breakfast which can’t be found on any other menu in the city; soft boiled eggs, frittatas, and a nice selection of charcuterie.
3 Mazeh Street
T: +972 (0)3 6470247
Sunday – Friday 8:30-24:00
This place is more about location than it is the food, with its outdoor patio literally on the beach. The best way to eat here is to order a few of their tapas and the delicious focaccia bread and share.
T: +972 (0)3 5174773
This Tel-Aviv hotspot is open 24 hours. With its chic décor and hip crowd, this place makes you feel like you are more inParisthan theMiddle East.
70 Ibn Gvirol Street
T: +972 (0)3 6967111
7 days a week/24 hours
Best Lunch Spot:
There is really only one reason to go here, but it’s a good enough reason- the schnitzel. You can get the pounded super thin schnitzel in either veal pork or chicken, all just as delicious.
43 Achad Ha’am Street
T: +972 (0)3 5663018
Orna and Ella
This is cafe lunch at its best. The street it’s located on used to be super hip, but has gone downward in the past few years, but it’s definitely still worth visiting. Don’t miss out on the sweet potato pancakes. This place has a variety of options for all types of eaters-vegetarians, meat-lovers, salad fanatics…
33 Sheinkin Street
T: +972 (0)57-9443032
New Yorkers have Dean andDeluca,LApeps have Joan’s on Third and Tel Aviv just got their go-to place for upscale boutique market/readymade food to take home/ restaurant. Brought to you by the same people who are responsible for the success of Brasserie, they have everything down right, even to the beautiful bread basket. The menu changes daily but it always somewhat of a mix of café-meets comfort food-meetsFrance…inIsrael.
79 Yehuda Halevy Street
T: +972 (0)3 9681010
Best Dinner Spot:
“The Table” is young, hot chef’s Omer Miller second restaurant. Located in the middle of the beautifulRothshild Boulevard, Miller has developed his palette to fit the foodies appetite with an indie vibe. The surprising beet salad served with a heap of fresh herbs (lots of mint) and feta cheese is one my favorite dishes in the city.
73 Rothshild Boulevard
T: +972 (0)3 5257171
Sunday-Saturday 12:00-the last customer
This brand new joint is the genius partnership between two amazing chefs and a nightlife guru. The food is delicious and just the right portion size for a late night meal. Their refreshing cocktails are what really blew me over, along with the bar vibe.
9 Rothshild Boulevard
T: +972 (0)3 5259987
Friday-Saturday 12:00-18:00; 20:00-03:00
The Madhatter of Israeli chefs, Eyal Shani, is behind these two gems. The Salon is the more upscale version that is really a combination of dinner and show. Don’t be surprised if you run into Russian oligarchs, politicians and by the end of the night, plates being thrown and dancing on the tables. The food is guided by Shani’s philosophy-good ingredients, without too much adaptation, cooked just right.North Abraxasis the more affordable of the two spots. Don’t miss out on the famous cauliflower or carpaccio, pound literally by the waiter right on your table.
8 Maavar Yabuk
T: +972 (0)52 7035888
Wednesday-Thursday 19:00-the last customer
T: +972 (0)3 5166660
Best Fine Dining:
This centrally located restaurant is the brainchild of young chef, Yaron Shalev. His knowledge of food is remarkable and is evident in absolutely every part of every dish that is served. The wine list is superb, the Pizza Bianca is heavenly and the Chestnut Gnocchi is what put this restaurant on the map.
T: +972 (0)3 6935151
Sunday-Saturday 12:00-the last customer
Recently renovated creating an inviting, light filled dining room overlooking the sea, Rafael has been serving fine food as an art for more than 10 years. Chef Rafi Cohen has created a restaurant that meets the highest worldwide standards when it comes to fine dining.
87 Hayarkon Street
T: +972 (0)3 5226464
Saturday-Sunday 12:00-16:00; 19:00-23:00
An architectural gem as much as it is a fabulous dining experience, Herbert Samuel is chef Yonatan’s Roshfeld’s flagship restaurant. The plates are generally small and great for sharing and range from Italian to Asian to Middle Eastern, all with the touch of fine dining.
T: +972 (0)3 5166516
Best Italian Food:
This brand new spot is located in the heart ofKidumim SquareinJaffaand is Italian food at its best.
Kidumim Square, Yaffo
T: +972 (0)3 6832211
Young chef, David Frenkel has worked at some of the world’s top restaurants including NOMA and Mugaritz. At Pronto he dances along the fine lines of classical Italian and creative ingenuity, using only the finest ingredients.
4 Herzl Street
T: +972 (0)3 5660915
This classic Italian spot is a bit on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, but worth the trek if what you’re looking for is good Italian food for a decent price. Don’t miss the Shrimps Aglio Olio Pepperoncino or the Penne Carbonara.
T: +972 (0)3 5612888
The Thai House
The only spot in Tel Aviv with real Thai food. Definitely make a reservation ahead of time if you are going for dinner, this intimate restaurant fills up almost a week in advance for the popular nights (Thurs-Saturday). The Papaya Salad and Yom Gai are musts for starters, the Red Curry and Pad-Seiew are on point and their Sticky Rice with Mango and Tapioca dessert are perfect. Really.
T: +972 (0)3 5178568
This upscale beautifully designed Asian fusion restaurant is a flawless mix of restaurant/bar. Famed Israeli chef Avi Comforti gets Asian food right with dishes like the Healthy Buddah Salad, Black Tiger Popcorn Shrimp and Bu Lak Lak- filet mingon with caramelized red onion and Vietnamese black pepper.
96 Yigal Alon
T: +972 (0)3 6240044
Adjacent to the Carmel Market, this new low-key Asian joint is run by two brothers who getAsian streetfood. Their slow cooked beef bun, is hands down the best item on their menu.
18 Hilel Hazaken
T: +972 (0)3 6044725
Opening Hours: Sunday-Saturday 12:00-23:30
This classic tapas bar is located in the Tel Aviv Farmers Market with ample seating on the outdoor patio, overlooking the port. They use the freshest ingredients with innovative combinations such as their tuna sashimi with watermelon. This is a great place to sit and eat and drink wine at sunset.
T: +972 (0)3 7162757
Tapas Achad Ha’am
Famous Israeli chef Yonatan Roshfeld hit the mark with this Spanish with a hint of Asian with a hint of Middle Eastern cooking. Most of the restaurant is bar seating, which means it’s a great place to go if you want to a more nightlife vibe.
27 Achad Ha’am Street
T: +972 (0)3 5666966
Best Authentic Cuisine:
You can’t come toIsraelwithout trying shwarma and with the amount of shwarma stands in the city one may think that they are all the same. There is only one spot I will eat shwarma at, and Bino does it just right. Try the mix lamb and chicken shwarma for the optimal shwarma experience. Located right in the center of theJaffaflea market.
26 Raziel (Yaffo)
T: +972 (0)3 6822842
This newly opened restaurant in Yaffo is said to be the best authentic Arab cooking in the city. Go on an empty stomach and with a few hungry friends in order to handle these large portions properly. Try their stuffed lamb-neck, leg of lamb, and Haleb-style kebab for a real taste of what Arab cuisine is all about.
18 Raziel (Yaffo)
T: +972 (0)57 9428347
You can’t come toIsraelwithout having hummus as a main course, instead of a side dish. There is hands down only one place to go to do this. Get there before 3:00 in the afternoon, around the time when the large daily pots of hummus run out and the doors close.
1 Dolphin Street(on the hill)
14 Shivtai Israel Street(the second branch)
18 Shivtai Israel Street(a third branch which is open all day)
T: +972 (0)3 6820387, +972 (0)3 6828355
Sunday- Friday 7:45-14:45 (or until the humus is finished)
Original Turkish Burekas
Burekas are stuffed phyllo-dough savory pastries, served at this spot with a hardboiled egg, pickles and grated tomato. This hole-in-the-wall is just at the beginning (or end) of the Carmel Market- look for the large (Hebrew) sign with Coca-Cola logos on it. Try the eggplant or the Kashkaval stuffed burekas.
27 Raban Gamliel Street,CarmelMarket
Located in the fabulous Tel Aviv Farmers market, this is my all-time favorite sandwich in the entire country. You have to be a pickled fish lover to enjoy this sandwich, which comes on a fresh baked baguette, a heaping portion of butter, pickled herring, sour cream and chili peppers.
T: +972 (0)775493094
Sabich is an Iraqi sandwich which combines ingredients (eggplant, tahini, hardboiled egg and tahini) which don’t necessarily work together, but in the case of Sabich they just do. Don’t be afraid to add a squirt of the bright yellow sauce in the squeezer; it’s called Amba and it’s a sour condiment made from pickled mangos.
2 Tchernokovsky Street
This new spot is all about gourmet sandwiches. Try the Umami with parmesan spread, asparagus, mushrooms and scrambled eggs.
59 Nachalat Benyamin
T: +972 (0)3 5498082
Best Food Markets:
The Tel Aviv Farmers Market
This relatively new spot is a culinary pearl in the middle of the touristy/commercial Tel Aviv Port. Similar but smaller than Barcelona’s Bouqueria, you will be able to find here organic vegetable stalls, amazing coffee, breads and pastries, and a fresh fish stand, amongst the several great restaurants (both sit down and “fast food”) to eat.
T: +972 (0)775493094
The Carmel Market
You can’t come to theMiddle Eastwithout a trip to the “Shuk”. Here you can find everything from fresh herbs, to locally caught blue crabs to souvenirs. If you go on a Friday you will experience the market at its most vibrant moment, but it may be a little overwhelming.
Corner ofCarmel StreetandAllenby Street
This is less of a market and more a street filled with vendors selling dried fruits, nuts, and spices. This is a good place to go to bring back foodie souvenirs, if that’s your thing.