National cuisine: the top ten

Tel Aviv, Israel

9 places

Marina Yurcheva

For many national food is a journey essential: kebab in Germany or falafel in Sweden. Tel Aviv is THE destination for hummus, chickpea and shawarma – more modern than Old Testament Jerusalem it offers a plethora of hummus, doner kebab and falafel places – and no need to get a visa.

Haj Kahil

An authentic Arabic restaurant right in the city center with a lovely patio. They offer grilled meat and menu in English but follow the locals right to shawarma stall where you will also spot a mini-bakery where you can watch the preparation of fresh laffa bread. Their specialty is beef kebab and a special shawarma with lamb fat.

Buddha Burgers

Mainly all Tel Aviv eateries are vegan-friendly but the best spot is at Yehuda Halevi. The place is 100% eco-friendly: stools are made of old pipes, walls are made of old olive oil tin boxes, and chairs are decorated with old newspapers. And this actually looks stylish and pretty. They offer good karma and great food filling even for meat-eaters. They serve no meat, dairy or egg products – only soy but you’ll love. The best is their all-you-cat-eat buffet - you just chose the size of the plate and stuff it with everything – from fresh veggies to unknown deserts. I failed to guess what I was eating except for baked potatoes. But this only adds to the overall impression. The menu is in English and Hebrew and so detailed you can get confused.

The Container

Jaffa port has long become the artists’ attraction. During the day artists open the doors of their studios, musicians rehearse new songs and at night they all can be found in The Containers – a huge loft, bar and art space. So it's great food, music and art in one. They offer new menu practically every day, and don't forget about fresh fish – right from Jaffa fishermen’s nets. At night the place offers concerts, parties and art events.

NG Restaurant

It has been the third year in a row NG meat bar gets The Best Meat Restaurant in Tel Aviv prize by Time Out Magazine. The owners describe the venue in bohemian Neve Tsedek as a small, romantic and almost magical place at the heart of bustling city. The bar is known for its medieval atmosphere and the special event of Barbarian Meal. Without cutlery or plates, the guests are sitting around a large table and feasting on large chunks of meat with their bare hands. For a starter, freshly baked bread is served, followed by oaks-tail in red wine and chestnuts, and a piglet in maple sauce and apples. Throughout the meal, red wine and beer are poured freely. And no cutlery will arrive – you’re in the Middle Ages.

Mul Yam

The only Israeli place that made it to Grandes Tables du Monde top 120 and was praised by Gault Millau restaurant guide. Every day fresh fish and seafood from all over the world, including Australia, is shipped to the place, which is actually quite prices – 500 NIS for a diner but it's more than worth it. You can eat cheaper during the day – lunches start from NIS 130. They have a menu in Russian and nice selection of wine.

Abu Hassan

There is no trip to Israel without trying hummus. Abu Hassan is a must-go. Step inside this iconic place and you’ll find yourself at the communal table and will immediately be asked what you prefer - hummus, masabacha (hummus with whole chick peas) or both – in a second your plates will arrive. There is no place to savor the food – eat not chew that's the motto – it is so busy that you are urged to finish the hummus faster in order to let other people sit. Their fame and huge lines exhaust all supplies by 2 pm so better wake up early to get some.


The joint is famous for its falafel and sabich but their shawarma is also awesome – turkey based, soft and juicy, sliced thin. The meat is laid atop hummus with whole chickpeas and tomato salsa, and served with a ton of side dishes including a falafel ball with tahini, thin and crispy slices of eggplant, spicy peppers, pickles, lemon juice and a pile of fresh pitas.

Abu Adham

Want to enjoy your sleep and avoid a Jaffa ride? Then Abu Adham is for you – original Tel Aviv hummus that was actually born in a small northern village but rocked the capital. Be ready for a line, especially on Friday but as soon as you are in relax and enjoy your hummus with warm bread, ice tea and thoughts on the greatness of this food.

Dr. Sa'adia

Dr. Sa'adia a good old falafel place where chickpea balls are served very hot but places to sit and wait for them to cool are few. But its central location is great.


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