Tel Aviv restaurants: our favorite places to eat


When we say we’d return to Tel Aviv just for the food, we’re only half joking.

Healthy Mediterranean food in the form of Jewish delicacies and mezes (small appetizer or sampler plates similar in size and occasion to Spanish tapas) is only part of the story; the big-city culinary diversity of the glimmering White City is the true magnet. We’ve visited Tel Aviv together three times, and while our scope is confined just to the most central neighborhoods, we have found plenty there to thrill us. These eateries don’t just qualify as our favorites in this city; they are some of our favorites worldwide.


Shakshuka, a popular breakfast in Tel Aviv (poached eggs with spicy tomato sauce)

Shakshuka, a popular breakfast in Tel Aviv (poached eggs with spicy tomato sauce)


Here are our top picks for the best places to eat in Tel Aviv (click on the names to visit their websites):


Best seafood: MantaRay (Neve Tzedek)


Our opinion might be skewed by the spectacular view (the restaurant is right on Alma Beach), the inventive mezes, or the cleanly decorated and light-filled venue. Either way, it’s the one we tell our friends about when they head this way.

Alma Beach

+972 3-517-4773


Best Thai food: Thai House (Hatsafon Hayashan South)


I wasn’t kidding when I said that Tel Aviv offered culinary diversity. While we won’t be going into every ethnic variation available here, we definitely want to mention Thai House. This is a fine dining establishment, not a hole-in-the-wall eatery, and the food is superb. Unfortunately, many others think the same so it is critical to book a table in advance. There’s usually a line out the door for the first come, first served seats at the bar.

*Tip: In Tel Aviv, reservations are made in increments. Don’t be surprised if you are offered a table “from 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. While American visitors won’t find this quite as unusual, European visitors used to lingering at a table all evening will be in for a rude awakening.

Bograshov 8



Best bakery: Kurtosh (Hatsafon Hayashan South)


In a city where everybody has an opinion about the best rugelach and challah, it might seem rather blasphemous that we recommend this Hungarian bakery. Yet given that it’s an Israeli institution with multiple branches around the country, I don’t think anybody would mind.

A Kurtosh is a flaky cylindrical pastry baked on what looks like a wooden rolling pin and often filled with yumminess. Don’t worry, Kurtosh has plenty of rugelach, too, as well as savory treats and drinks to accompany them. It’s the quality that we appreciate most here, and the obvious love of baking that shines through warmhearted greetings and fanciful window displays.

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Best burger: Molly Bloom’s (Hatsafon Hayashan South)


Known as the “Irish Embassy” because of its location near several (real) embassies, Molly Bloom’s was the first Irish pub to open in Tel Aviv.

Usually when traveling I avoid Irish pubs like the plague. But where else in this kosher stronghold can you find both meat and cheese together? Or find leavened bread during Passover? The complete disregard for Jewish dietary laws makes Molly Bloom’s a welcome reprieve when you’re here for an extended visit. Though even if that weren’t the case, this rates as one of my top favorite burgers. And as you might imagine, the beer and whisky aren’t bad, either.

2 Mendele Street, corner Hayarkon



Best sushi: Moon (Hatsafon Hayashan South)


Simply phenomenal sushi, served up at the bar, in front of a conveyor belt, or at table seating. The creativity of the shapes and ingredients of the “rolls” (try the sushi “sandwiches”) means you’ll probably be back for a second sampling.

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Best Italian: Boccaccio (Hatsafon Hayashan South)


Quirky, cozy, and filled with the owner’s sculpture projects, Boccaccio is well known for being open on most Jewish holidays. Which is a shame, because the food is really very nice, as is the wine selection (this is where we first tried Recanati Reserve Chardonnay, one of our very favorites). Need more wine? Head down a block to Tomas Wine Bar, where they not only serve great local wines but (free) delectable sweets.

106 Hayarkon, corner Frischman



Best mezes: everywhere!


A post on Tel Aviv food seems lacking without a recommendation for traditional mezes, but it was impossible to pick a favorite (though the fish variations at MantaRay do stand out). To us, they all seem delicious.

However, we’re happy to suggest some must-eats: olives; tabbouleh (bulgur wheat with parsley, mint, scallions and tomato); babaghanoush (roast eggplant spread); strained yogurt; muhammara (hot pepper spread with ground walnuts and breadcrumbs); salad, roast vegetables, and the requisite hummus (chickpea spread).


Best Chocolate: Ornat


This isn’t a place, but a brand. Truly creamy, melt-in-your-mouth artisan chocolates with flavors like pomegranate and fillings such as sesame creme. It’s the essential way to end your day in Tel Aviv on a sweet note!



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  1. Um, um, um! How do you and Ben stay so svelte? (You don’t have to answer that!)

  2. Such wonderful and enticing descriptions, it sure made me hungry. I’m always intrigued by the importance of food (and sharing meals) in every culture around the world. Tel Aviv certainly has a lot of choices to offer. Each restaurant sounded like a fun and interesting experience. Thank you for the great recommendations.

    I wonder if I can find that wine in the US?

  3. Wendy – Haha. I’ll take a stab at Ben’s method: lots of nervous energy 🙂

  4. Kristen – I agree! From community BBQs in the U.S. to long communal tables and family portions in Italy, most cultures celebrate food. Next up for discovery: Asia!

  5. I wonder if any of them deliver to the US? Only kidding!

    While we all know Tel Aviv is an international city, somehow I never thought of it as a culinary hot spot. I’m parochial, I know! The kurtosh sounds intriguing – I did a web search and didn’t find any Hungarian bakeries nearby, but I’ll keep looking.

    But, even if they don’t deliver food, at least we can get some Israeli wine here. We had a very good Israeli chardonnay the other night, a Yarden – but I’m going to look for the Recanati you mentioned.

    I can’t wait to read about the Jewish restaurants in Okinawa, lol!!

  6. How amazing! I envy you. We’ve always wanted to travel to Tel Aviv, but never had the chance. Your descriptions of those restaurants sound great. I can only imagine the authentic cuisine that could come out of those city streets. Thanks for the share. I’m pushing it for our next vacation…

  7. Thanks, Sharon! I’ll cross my fingers that you get there (I want to hear about it if you do 🙂 ).

  8. I love to travel a lot and gather information. But with your information provided I would love to fly to Tel Aviv. Will see to fix a schedule for that. Thanks for the information anyway. Have a great day.

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