We've selected the yummiest street food: the best shawarma, sabich pita with eggplant and cheese, hot falafel, Arabic hummus and bourekas with various staffings.
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.
This major competitor of Oved for the Best Sabich in Town title is located at the corner of Frishman & Dizengoff. Some say that Frishman Sabich is even better than the one in Givatayim – no tricky words or stunning shows from the chef but so much love and care to every single pita that you feel really touched. And they add potatoes to their sabich apart from staffing it with eggs and eggplants.
The founder's motto is 'Oved does the same with sabich that Abu Hassan with hummus – a work of art' And that's true. The place has its own slang but it will be picked up quickly – once you taste their sabich you'll become a regular. Its status of the best fast food on earth has plenty of proof pix – just look at the walls. Their eggplants are ideally fried, thina and hummus pour into pita and if you like is spicy ask for yellow amba and red paprika. The place is located in the suburbs but a 30 minute-trip is worth it.
A very nice and popular joint in the central Rabin Square is packed no matter is it day or night. Their shawarma is served in a pita or taboon bread and my tip is add some abma (mango pickle codiment) if you are not afraid of peculiar flavor.
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.
Yeah, you've all heard about this legendary bakery and its trademark pita with za'atar spices or mushroom bagels with egg and onion. And don't forget about shawarma, by the way, it's the cheapest in town. Arabic waiters are quick, noisy and omnipresent. You can choose different fillings, take your shawarma out or sit at a small table in an old stone building to savor it.
Habourekas Shel Eema
You can find a whole city of bourekas stalls in the busy Levinsky market, but you want the best, right? So your destination is the joint called Habourekas Shel Eema, THE place to get this savory puff pastry. This is a family business that's passed hands through three generations for over 20 years. Their secret: Every boureka is handmade. Our choice: Spinach and cheese as a real Turkish bourekas means spinach, and here, they are generous with it. Combined with salty cheese, and mashed potatoes, this bourekas is a party in the mouth. Tip: Get there early. Preferably before lunch.
Bourekas Shel Abba
Dusty narrow Tchlenov Street near Tel Aviv's old central bus station has a humble little shop serving some of the best bourekas in town. The secret is in the pudding – or puff pastry. So save some room for desert (especially the sweet wheat pudding topped with coconut flakes, nuts and raisins). A long line snakes down the street every Friday, with patrons coming from every corner of the town to get a taste of the Turkish delights and cheese bourekas made by the famous Rafi Ben Meir.
Leon and Sons Bourekas
Chefs say – all good food has a story – that's about Leon and Sons Bourekas. When Leon's mother settled in Jaffa after emigrating from Bulgaria, she desperately searched for some way to bring food to her poor family's table. The only tool she had to work with was her making phyllo dough so she turned this poor men's food into a family business. Her grandsones added quiches and pastries to their repertoire, and their shop turned into a popular Jaffa food institution. Our choice is salty cheese and leek. Bulgarian cheese and leek stuffed generously into two layers of phyllo turn this boureka into a quiche of sorts, lightly crisped on the sides.
This tiny borekas place offers crispy, hot and delicious pastry stuffed with melt cheese and tender potatoes – a simple food becoming a legend. You would never even notice this place but when you discover it your every night will end in a walk with a still hot pastry in hand and a burnt tongue. The thing is served with boiled eggs, tomato sauce, thina spice and pickles and the price (18 shekels for a big one ) includes a broad smile.
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.
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.
Another great option is Bahadunas which used to be a tiny joint in the outskirts. Now this hummus chain has over 20 places in the city and beyond and is loved by those who hang out in the center – it has locations in Dizengoff and Ibn Gabirol as well as a chain in Florentine. And for foodies there is the first one based in Raman Gat – it's said to be the best.