Discovering Tel Aviv’s Culinary Scene: From Traditional Israeli Food to Fusion Cuisine

Carmel Shuk
Tel Aviv’s culinary scene has become renowned worldwide, blending traditional Israeli cuisine with modern fusion flavors. Whether you’re a foodie looking to explore the city’s hottest restaurants, a traveler wanting to experience the local cuisine, or simply curious about the flavors of Tel Aviv, this article will guide you through the city’s rich culinary offerings.

Traditional Israeli Cuisine

Israeli cuisine is a blend of flavors from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Europe. You can find various traditional Israeli restaurants across Tel Aviv, ranging from casual street vendors to upscale restaurants.

Two incredibly popular Israeli dishes are hummus and shakshuka. Chefs make hummus through a process called emulsification which blends chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and spices. You can find shakshuka, a breakfast dish made with eggs poached in a tomato-based sauce with peppers and spices, at many cafes and breakfast spots in Tel Aviv.

Here are some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv that specialize in traditional Israeli cuisine:
  1. Abu Hassan – This restaurant is famous for its hummus and has been serving the dish since 1959. The hummus is served warm and topped with chickpeas, parsley, and olive oil. Abu Hassan is located in the Jaffa neighborhood of Tel Aviv and is always crowded with locals and tourists alike.
  2. Dr. Shakshuka – As the name suggests, this restaurant specializes in shakshuka. Dr. Shakshuka offers a range of shakshuka variations, including one with merguez sausage and another with feta cheese.
  3. Shlomo & Doron – Located in the Carmel Market, Shlomo & Doron is known for its falafel, a popular Israeli street food made with deep-fried chickpea balls. The restaurant also offers a range of salads, hummus, and pita bread.
  4. HaSalon – This upscale restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Israeli cuisine, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. HaSalon serves dishes like slow-cooked lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses and roasted beetroot with labneh.
  5. Tishbi – This restaurant serves kosher Mediterranean cuisine, focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Tishbi offers a range of dishes, including grilled meats, seafood, and vegetarian options, as well as a selection of Israeli wines.
Tel Aviv's Culinary Scene - Hummus

Picture of Shlomo & Doron by Tal Silvan Ziporin

These are just a few of the many great restaurants in Tel Aviv that specialize in traditional Israeli cuisine. Whether you’re looking for hummus, shakshuka, or falafel, Tel Aviv has something to satisfy every taste.

Fusion Cuisine

Tel Aviv’s culinary scene is also known for its fusion cuisine, which blends traditional Israeli flavors with international techniques and ingredients. This culinary innovation has brought new life to Tel Aviv’s food scene, with chefs experimenting with new flavors and techniques.

Chef Eyal Shani, who is famous for his roasted cauliflower dish, is renowned for his fusion cuisine. His restaurant, Miznon, became a sensation in Tel Aviv and around the world for its innovative take on traditional Israeli cuisine. The restaurant offers a range of dishes, from pita sandwiches filled with slow-cooked meats and vegetables to roasted whole cauliflower.

Another popular fusion cuisine in Tel Aviv is the street food known as sabich, a sandwich filled with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, and various vegetables and sauces. The dish originated in Iraq but has become a Tel Aviv staple, with many vendors offering their own unique take on the dish.

Tel Aviv's Culinary scene - Sabich

Picture of Sabich; Photo By Alex Lau, Styling By Sean Dooley

Here are some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv that specialize in fusion cuisine:
  1. Miznon – This popular restaurant is known for its creative take on traditional Israeli cuisine. The menu features dishes like roasted whole cauliflower, slow-cooked meats and vegetables in pita, and sabich (an Iraqi sandwich with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, and hummus). Miznon has several locations in Tel Aviv, including in the Carmel Market and in Jaffa.
  2. Taizu – This restaurant offers a fusion of Asian and Middle Eastern flavors, with dishes like crispy duck with hoisin sauce, lamb kebabs with harissa and yogurt, and fried rice with shawarma. Taizu has a lively atmosphere, with an open kitchen and a bar that serves creative cocktails.
  3. Popina – This restaurant offers a fusion of Italian and Middle Eastern flavors, with dishes like wood-fired pizzas topped with za’atar and labneh, and handmade pasta with lamb ragout and chickpeas. Popina is located in the hip Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv and has a cozy, laid-back atmosphere.
  4. Kitchen Market – This restaurant is located in the Tel Aviv Port and offers a fusion of Mediterranean and international flavors. The menu changes frequently, but might include dishes like yellowtail crudo with green apple and yuzu, or lamb shoulder with za’atar and pomegranate. Kitchen Market has an open kitchen and a chic, modern design.

Farmers’ Markets

Tel Aviv’s culinary scene is also known for its focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The city has many farmers’ markets, which offer a range of fresh produce, dairy, meat, and baked goods. The Carmel Market is one of the most popular, offering a range of food and spices, as well as clothing, souvenirs, and household goods.

Here are some of the most popular farmers markets in Tel Aviv:
  1. Carmel Market – Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, the Carmel Market (or Shuk HaCarmel in Hebrew) is the city’s largest and most famous market. The market spans several blocks and is known for its lively atmosphere, colorful displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, and vendors selling everything from clothing and jewelry to spices and housewares. Visitors can also find a range of street food vendors selling local favorites like hummus, falafel, and shakshuka.
  2. Levinsky Market – Located in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the Levinsky Market (or Shuk HaLevinsky in Hebrew) is a smaller and more specialized market that is known for its spice shops, gourmet food stores, and artisanal bakeries. Visitors can find a range of spices, dried fruits and nuts, and locally made sweets like halva and baklava.
  3. Jaffa Flea Market – Located in the historic Jaffa neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the Jaffa Flea Market (or Shuk HaPishpeshim in Hebrew) is a popular destination for vintage and antique shopping. Visitors can find a range of unique items, including old coins, furniture, clothing, and jewelry. The market also has a number of small cafes and restaurants serving local cuisine.
  4. Tel Aviv Port Market – Located in the Tel Aviv Port area, the Port Market is a newer addition to the city’s farmers market scene. The market features a range of vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, and gourmet food products, as well as live music and other entertainment.
  5. Dizengoff Center Green Market – Located inside the Dizengoff Center shopping mall, this indoor market offers a range of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and prepared foods. The market also has a number of small cafes and restaurants serving fresh, healthy meals.

Picture of Levinsky Market taken by Cadya Levy

Overall, Tel Aviv’s farmer’s markets offer a unique glimpse into the city’s culinary culture and provide a fun and lively atmosphere for visitors to explore. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, spices, or local specialties, you will find something to delight your senses at one of Tel Aviv’s many farmers’ markets.

Whether you’re a food enthusiast or a traveler looking to explore Tel Aviv’s rich culinary scene, there’s no shortage of foods to discover. From traditional Israeli dishes to fusion cuisine and farmers’ markets, Tel Aviv’s food scene is diverse, colorful, and flavorful, reflecting the city’s melting pot of cultures and cuisines.


Planning a trip to Tel Aviv? Don’t forget to check in with Sea N’ Rent

Want to learn more about the culinary scene in Israel? Check out our blog about local food gems in Tel Aviv




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