What are Tel Aviv's best restaurants?
As the culinary capital of Israel, there are so many restaurants and cafes to choose from.
The city is home to a huge varierty of great Tel Aviv restaurants, from gourmet to qualilty 'blue-collar' joints that only the natives know about serving delicious, ethnic food.
So here is the updated list of my nine favorite Tel Aviv restaurants, in no particular order.
14 Hasolelim Street 03-6910691
I confess that I usually don't like overly stylish, 'in' gourmet restaurants. But Topolopompo is so delicious, the meals are so beautiful to look at, that I can't help but recommend this delicious Asian 'grill' restaurant, although its not cheap.
Its a great place to share lots of small dishes.
Take a look at the two appetizers that we ordered recently -
The bottom dish was delectable salmon sashimi with three varieties of wasabi sauces. I felt like I was eating a work of art.
Topolopompo manages to be delicious and original even with salad.
We enjoyed this unusual, blackened cauliflower salad with mint, scallions and puffed rice. And beautiful to look at too...
We also ordered steamed buns, one with pork and one with shrimp. Light and tasty.
If you feel like an elegant experience that is stylish, delicious, artistic andnot cheap, Topolopompo is an excellent choice for Tel Aviv dining.
7 Kaufman Street on Alma Beach. Telephone 03-517-4773
When my friend Michael asked me to recommend a romantic Tel Aviv restaurant for his anniversary, I didn't have to think twice. I sent him to Manta Ray, one of Israel's best seafood restaurants with a very special atmosphere.
Make reservations in advance and ask for a table near a window for a romantic seaside view. It makes all the difference.
On a summer evening, if it's not too hot, ask to be seated on the terrace so you can enjoy the sea breeze and watch the waves crashing.
After drinks, the waiter will offer you 10 or more appetizers assorted on a tray for you to pick and share together. Choose several – they are scrumptious! In fact you can make a whole meal out of the appetizers.
They vary, but can include feta cheese with figs, spinach salad with shrimps and mangos, pickled mullet fish with onion, tzatziki yogurt with mint.
They are served with delicious homemade focaccia along with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt for dipping.
My favorite main course here?
Definitely their bouillabaisse (fish stew), but I've tasted most of their fish and seafood dishes and they are all first class. If you're not a fish lover, there are also excellent meat and vegetarian entrees.
The price range for the main courses runs from 85 to 160 NIS. Manta Ray serves great breakfasts until 12 noon for 40 - 65 shekels.
Kerem HaTeimanim - translated as the Yemenite Vineyard - was settled by Jews from Yemen in 1903.
It is now a tiny, quaint Tel Aviv neighborhood, in between Nachalat Binyamin and the Carmel Market. The place is brimming with small restaurants serving aromatic, traditional Yemenite food.
You can come any time of the year. I especially enjoy coming during the winter which is a perfect time to eat the hearty Yemenite soups which taste like no other!
at 28 Nachliel Street. Telephone 052-255-3808
My husband Yoram Yoram adores their rich bone soup...
made with lots of beef bones full of marrow,chickpeas, carrots and greens. It's a bit too much cartilage for me :)
But I love their Yemenite chicken soup cooked with Hawaj, a Yemenite spice mix that includes turmeric, cardamom, cumin and pepper.
The food is good value. A filling soup dish with 'lachuch' - the unique, spongy Yemenite bread on the side costs about 25 - 30 shekel, less if it’s a bean soup. Beside soup, they serve many other tasty Yemenite and Middle Eastern dishes.
Take note that the best time to come is for lunch. Erez and other restaurants in Kerem HaTeimanim close during the week at about 6 PM and are closed on Saturdays.
87 Hayarkon, in the same building as the Dan Hotel, 03-5226464
Rafi Cohen is the well-known chef at this sun-filled, lively gourmet bistro. Raphael Bistro has been around since 2001. Despite some downs, it continues serving superb and creative dishes.
It's pricey but worth it for special occasions. You can try the business lunch at 125 shekels per person,and a weekend special of 145 shekels, both excellent value for the good food.
One of Rafi's better known dishes is his lamb couscous -
with chickpeas and vegetables. The lamb is soft, the vegetables melt in your mouth. Succulent and delicious!
Try your best to save room for the amazing deserts...
My extended family has a tradition of dining out to celebrate family birthdays.
We consistently return to three Tel Aviv restaurants that we love, all owned by Ruti and Mati Broudo:
42 Montefiore St. Tel. 03-564-6100
Located in the boutique Hotel Montefiore, you will love the old-world atmosphere of leather chairs, mirrors and palm trees. If it's available, ask to sit in my favorite, the library room...
I usually prefer the lighter French-Vietnamese flavored fish dishes with lemongrass and vegetables.
My parents' enjoy the spare ribs, the lamb dish and the classic French dish “Tournedos Rossini" with beef and goose liver.
If you feel like indulging your sweet tooth, the Montefiore runs a special Aternoon Tea every Saturday.
The cakes and scones are fabulous!
70 Ibn Gvirol St. Tel. 03-696-7111
Brasserie is a Tel Aviv favorite. The decor is simple elegance, with lots of black and wood, high ceilings and mirrors. It is a bit noisy because the restaurant is huge and always seems to be full.
It's open 24 hours a day, serving delicious classic French food that I cannot recommend enough.
I think their french onion soup is the very best in Israel, their warm Chevre goat cheese and greens salad is amazing and their hamburgers and french fries ('chips' in Hebrew) are excellent whether you order them at 1 PM or 3 AM.
13 Yad Harutzim Street. Telephone 03-688-9696
Don't be confused by the restaurant name! This isn't a simple coffee bar, but a superb restaurant with a compact menu of great French and Italian classic dishes.
My sister always orders their delectable carpaccio -
with lots of tart arugula leaves, freshly shaved parmesan and olive oil.
There is always one or two pizza options with extra crispy crusts, handmade pasta dishes and polenta or risotto.
If like me, yu enjoy Italian sweets, I recommend their mouthwatering cannelloni stuffed with ricotta and oranges!
54 Moshe Sne Road in north Tel Aviv Tel 03-649-9466
Most foodies will disagree, but believe me, 206 is one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in all of Israel.
Their hummus competes with the best of the best. It is also one my family's favorite Tel Aviv restaurants. Not many tourists aware of it, since its in the north of Tel Aviv, a 15 minute ride from the city center.
206 is also a sponsor and the proud 'home' of the Tel Aviv Macabi basketball team, one of the best teams in the Euroleague. You can't miss their photos all over the place.
206 Dagim is the good fish restaurant upstairs. But for the Middle Eastern restaurant, head downstairs to the basement.
206 serves what locals love to eat and I'm sure you will to:
As soon as you are seated, the waiter will bring warm pitas, bitter Syrian olives and pickles. Ask for the grilled pita halves with olive oil and zaatar (hyssop). Yum.
I come here often with the family. We like to sit at the bar and watch the cooks behind the scene.
When my kids were younger, they loved watching the cook chop huge amounts of vegetables. It's like watching a magic show. One minute there are 10 whole cucumbers. After thirty seconds, they are all chopped into tiny cubes. And elegantly done too. I think that started my son Gilad's interest in cooking.
22 Ibn Gvirol Street. Telephone 03-652-5311
Tel Aviv is an expensive town. It may be hard to believe, but in the heart of Tel Aviv near City Hall, chef Eran Zur serves reasonably priced, quality dishes!
First things first.
The Local has an amazing bar with every drink imaginable and prices you can afford. Try some of the unusual and delicious cocktails like the apple and ginger Chaco, or my favorite, the Local with lemongrass, vodka and citrus fruit peels.
I felt like a light meal, and chose a hot salad dish -
of perfectly grilled calamri on arugula leaves that I loved.
My Mom had a a grilled filet of fish on risotto and my daughter ordered torn pappardelle pasta with tomotoes and vegetables. They both loved their dishes.
I will never be able to review all the Tel Aviv restaurants. Tell us about your experience, good or bad, at a Tel Aviv restaurant.
Add a picture if you have one!
Tel Aviv Restaurants
Tel Aviv Best Restaurants