Tel Aviv has emerged as a foodie capital of the world in recent years, becoming known for innovative cooking that highlights the incredible produce, dairy, and meat grown in Israel. Because Israel is so small and its market scene so vibrant, chefs can easily get their hands on some of the freshest ingredients in the world. In fact, if you go to Tel Aviv’s famous bustling markets—including Shuk HaCarmel and Levinsky Market—early in the morning, you’ll catch many chefs buying fresh ingredients to use in their restaurants that day.
The last decade has seen Tel Aviv’s chefs expand well beyond falafel and hummus to offer everything from Middle Eastern to Asian to African cuisine. Hosting about 40 completely vegan restaurants, the city has also become a vegan destination in its own right. Whether you’re vegan or not though, Tel Aviv has some of the best restaurants in the region, from hole-in-the-wall stalls to high-end dining rooms. Here are 15 of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv.
Opened in 2015 by the Doktor brothers (of the successful next-door restaurant HaAchim), this intimate eatery is their temple to local and fresh produce. (In fact, the only ingredient that’s imported is said to be black pepper.) But this isn’t a vegetarian restaurant—meat and fish are just as celebrated and just as local. With a seasonal menu that changes frequently, dishes are modern yet simple, and include plates like homemade gravlax with celeriac and tarragon, charcoal kohlrabi, and red tuna ceviche with red wine vinegar and tomato.
On a nondescript street in Levinsky Spice Market, a white façade marks the entrance to Opa, a 35-seat restaurant with an airy and elegant minimalist European design. Owned and run by twin sisters Shirel and Sharona Berger (with Shirel as head chef and Sharona as the general manager), Opa is the city’s most upscale vegan restaurant. While the focus here is fruit and vegetables, the dishes are anything but boring. The high-end spot offers a seasonal nine-course tasting menu that’s entirely plant-based, with each dish centered around one main ingredient like lychee. The wine list features all natural wines selected by Berger; she was one of the first to bring natural wines to Tel Aviv. Advance reservations are a must.
Israel has several celebrity chefs, but Eyal Shani is definitely one of its most famous, with restaurants across Europe, Australia, and the U.S., as well as several TV shows under his belt. But it all started in Tel Aviv, and he currently has six restaurants in Tel Aviv. They’re all excellent, but Port Said is a favorite for its hipster atmosphere, vibrant energy, and excellent food. Across from Tel Aviv’s largest synagogue, Port Sa'id is an ideal spot to experience the city’s colorful nightlife scene—expect people hanging outside with beers, spinning records, and small plates like baked yams, roasted cauliflower, and lima bean massbucha (a dip made with tahini and garlic) served with fluffy pita.
Just across from Port Sa'id in the same courtyard of the Great Synagogue is this lively gem that often has half the wait of Port Said with food that’s just as good (if not better…shhh). The casual indoor/outdoor spot offers the epitome of modern Israeli Mediterranean cuisine, encapsulated in dishes like red tuna fricassee, various breads and pizzas baked in the clay taboon oven, saucy pastas, and inventive takes on classic salatim, or salads.
Since it opened in 2015, the restaurant has been serving adoring fans Middle Eastern meat dishes like their signature arayes (grilled lamb-filled pitas), corned beef sandwiches, and beef tongue. But the main event is heading to the meat counter; selecting your preferred cut from options like sirloin, New York strip, prime rib, and various offal; and having it grilled over charcoals in the open kitchen. Oh, and you must save room for the Crack Pie.
While lunch brings bustling crowds to Shuk HaCarmel, come nighttime, don’t be afraid to wander down the darkened alley of the closed shuk to this unassuming restaurant. Located 25 meters (hence the name M25) from its sister butcher shop, the restaurant has been serving adoring fans Middle Eastern meat dishes like their signature arayes (grilled lamb-filled pitas), corned beef sandwiches, and beef tongue since it opened in 2015. But the main event is heading to the meat counter; selecting your preferred cut from options like sirloin, New York strip, prime rib, and various offal; and having it grilled over charcoals in the open kitchen. Oh, and you must save room for the Crack Pie.
A boisterous but tiny restaurant just outside Shuk HaCarmel, Habasta is known for its excellent preparation of the produce it procures that day from the market, as well as perfectly prepared seafood, pork, and offal. Shareable plates like yellowtail carpaccio, charred okra with cherry tomatoes, and baguettes topped with mussels are scrawled on a sheet of each paper that serves as the daily-changing menu. The curated wine list is also excellent, with carefully chosen natural bottles from around the world.
Located in the old city of Jaffa, this vibrant restaurant regularly spills out onto a cobbled, pedestrian-only street, where people often begin dancing. But aside from the lively scene, the food makes this spot worth a visit. With a menu designed by chef Yossi Shitrit, the focus here is on shareable plates that perfectly encapsulate modern Israeli cooking. Expect dishes like Turkish flatbread with lamb bacon and shrimp, sea bass fillet with eggplant cream and black lentils, and fried cauliflower salad. Be sure to pair your meal with one of Onza's innovative cocktails, like the purple margarita (El Jimador Reposado tequila and beetroot).
You can’t have a best restaurant list for Israel without including at least one falafel joint. In Tel Aviv, HaKosem (which means the magician) is known for its superior falafel balls, best experienced in a fresh pita also filled with tahini, salad, and fried eggplant. Although there’s often a line, if you’re lucky, staff will pass out falafel samples to munch on while you wait. For non-falafel lovers, they also offer other beloved Israeli street foods—including schnitzel, shawarma, and sabich—as well as shakshuka. And be sure to try the homemade hummus.
Taizu is one of Tel Aviv’s best Asian restaurants, offering an eclectic menu of dishes that focus on the five elements of Chinese philosophy: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Having traveled extensively throughout Asia, chef Yuval Ben Neriah's dishes draw from Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Indian cuisines. Shareable plates include Har Gow black tiger shrimp dumplings, tuna bao, chili crab, hummus koftas, tandoori sea bass, and various curries.
And although the food is incredible at Taizu, the dining room design is show-stopping. It incorporates the five elements from the menu, with design accents such as laser-wood cuts shaped like banana leaves, wave-imprinted concrete walls, and spider-like pendant lighting. The massive restaurant has several seating areas, including a more casual lounge with a custom-designed wine fridge with stained-glass doors along one wall. Taizu is a premier destination for power lunches, romantic dinners, and tasty brunches.
Israelis know that falafel balls aren’t the only things suited for a pita. This humble yet bustling stall has been stuffing everything from veal hearts to merguez sausage to sweetbreads (all grilled) inside their hefty, house-made unleavened flatbreads. Once you choose your grilled meat, add on tahini, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, onion, hot pepper, and amba sauce to complete the perfect pita sandwich. One of the city’s best cheap eats spots, Jasmino is open until 2 a.m.; expect plenty of hungry club-goers after midnight.
Run by chef Yossi Shitrit of Onza acclaim, this chic restaurant inside the Mendelli Hotel is more upscale, with a large plant wall and sleek tableware. Here, you'll find gourmet food like date and arugula salad with labane, pumpkin asado with crème fraiche, five-spice chicken, and oxtail with red wine sauce. Don't forget to try the 18-spiced frenna, a Moroccan flatbread served with labaneh and spicy matbucha dip. Wash it all down with a selection from the varied wine list, which includes bottles from Israel as well as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece.
The best place to get hummus in Tel Aviv (and all of Israel) is hotly debated, but we recommend Garger Hazahav (which means “golden garbanzo”) in Levinsky Market. It has a more modern vibe, but its creamy and filling hummus is just as traditional as ever. While hummus in the U.S. is often served as an appetizer or snack, in Israel it’s often the main event, especially at hummuserias like this one. You can order it with various toppings like ground lamb, whole chickpeas and garlic, or hard-boiled egg. It’s served with fresh-made pita and a bowl of Israeli pickles and olives, but if you’re still hungry, add falafel balls and French fries on the side.
Since The Norman renovated and re-conceptualized it as Alena at the end of 2017, the posh boutique hotel's restaurant is now one of the city's most upscale dining destinations. Chef Barak Aharoni serves up excellent European and Mediterranean food, expertly preparing dishes like leek tatin with goat cheese, handmade spaghetti with grouper and chili, and grilled lamb chop. And if you want to splurge on breakfast, partake in the over-the-top breakfast buffet, where you can load up on fresh baked breads and pastries, smoked salmon, quiche, cheeses, shakshuka, eggs Benedict, and more.
Located in Jerusalem's Machne Yehuda market for more than 55 years, Azura finally opened an outpost in Tel Aviv in 2015—saving countless Tel Avivans a trip to the capital. The intimate spot highlights homemade Iraqi, Moroccan, and Syrian food, with dishes like creamy hummus topped with warm chickpeas and beans, lamb stew, and kibbeh (a meat-stuffed pastry). If you can't decide what to order, try the signature roasted eggplant, which is topped with ground beef and pine nuts slathered in a cinnamon sauce.
Opened in 2008 in a carefully restored building, the first boutique hotel in Tel Aviv is a popular destination as much for its accommodations as its award-winning restaurant. Serving up cuisine with a French-Vietnamese accent, it's one of the few places in Israel to find Vietnamese-style duck breast and Tournedos Rossini (beef with foie gras). The cocktail bar is as classic as it gets, and is the best place in the city for a martini.