5 of the Best Tel Aviv Restaurants
Tel Aviv, Israel is known for its vibrance, acceptance, fun clubs, unique architecture, and of COURSE food! I got to spend the end of May and beginning of June in this full-of-life city with my sweet boyfriend, Daniel. We had SUCH a great time! He's there for work quite often so he has gotten acquainted with the local food scene and I was along for the ride. We ate every meal out and of the 20+ I've narrowed it down to a select few...
This place is delicious, fast, kosher, and affordable. Located in what some would say is the heart of Tel Aviv, on the corner of Herzl and Rothschild Blvd you'll find Meatos. Meatos is actually a chain and the location on Herzl is considered to be the fast-paced option. Seating availability is relatively small. There are about 15 counter spots inside and 8-10 large 4-6 person tables outside. Neither of us ordered a burger, but everyone around us was saying the burgers were out of this world.
I ordered this tasty hummus salad topped with grilled chicken. Underneath the mound of the juicy chicken is roasted chickpeas, tahini, hard boiled eggs, cabbage, traditional Israeli salad, and freshly squeezed lime. The textures and tastes together were mmm mmm soo good. Obviously had to get a side of fries too. #Balance Just want to put this out there -- if you're expecting a leafy green salad (like kale, spinach, etc.) look elsewhere. Meatos certainly doesn't have that (same with most restaurants in Tel Aviv). Israeli salad is always a base of cucumbers and tomatoes, not exactly like Sweet Green.
My boyfriend got beef kebabs (and fries) and they were on POINT. The meat was the perfect combination of fatty and not, plus the spices they added couldn't have been better -- fresh mint, garlic, onion, and parsley. Next time I go, I'm getting what he got! You can tell by the picture though, if you're awfully hungry the kebabs aren't very filling.
2) Susu & Sons
With at least two booming locations Susu & Sons is what we would consider to be a fast food burger joint. The newest location on Rothschild Blvd (pretty much adjacent to Meatos) is always crowded. They say you can wait in line up to 45 minutes during peak times! This establishment, not fully Kosher has a pretty condensed menu with the basics. Pick how many patties, pick what extra toppings you'd like, do you want a side, and BAM it's out in what felt like 3 minutes! Also want to add, the customer service was wonderful (which honestly is rare to find in Israel).
I ordered a one-patty burger with a fried egg and grilled pineapple and it was exactly what I was craving. Daniel also ordered a one-patty burger but with bone marrow as his add-on. He said it wasn't worth the money because it was mostly fat and hardly anything substantial to actually eat. If you're gagging at your screen thinking that's disgusting, I'm right there with you, but he's into bizarre foods. We got fries to split - average fries, nothing special to be honest. All their burgers come with tomato, lettuce, onion, and thousand island dressing at no extra cost. You can also add cheese, but #KosherProbz we did without. The meat itself at Susu and Sons is kosher, however there ARE toppings that aren't, they're open on Shabbat, and the establishment is NOT overseen by a Mashgiach.
One of my favorite and most unique meals was at Vong, this awesome 5-year old Vietnamese restaurant. Located in a prime spot (again) on Rothschild Blvd, Vong was packed on a Saturday night at 10pm. That should certainly tell you something! It's the only Vietnamese restaurant in Tel Aviv and is full of unique spices like anise star, Thai basil, chili mint, coriander, fennel seeds, and more all constructed by the head chef, Van Thi Thuy Vu. Every time Daniel goes to Israel now he eats at Vong at LEAST once during his stay. He predicted I'd love their dish "The New Green Garden" and he was 100% right. I wish you could taste this dish through the phone that's how good it was. The portion though was huge so we split it and it was just enough food! Note: we subbed the chicken for beef.
We also got beef banhs as our appetizer and they were so fresh and spicy. The cloudy buns were sooooo soft. They couldn't have been better. Seriously.
Their cocktails are also great and pretty strong. I ordered the passion mojito and Daniel had the Tsunami. Mine was really refreshing, I love fresh mint in cocktails! And Daniel's was quite spicy. Overall, Vong is great for meat lovers, but also extremely friendly to those who are vegetarian AND gluten free.
You're laying out on the beach, soaking up the sun, dipping your toes in the warm blue water, and then it hits you -- you're hungry AF. Where do you go that's not crappy food, or super overpriced (careful there's a lot of that right off the TLV Beach)?? I did the research for you... Hamburg. At 76 Rehov Herbert Samuel you'll find yourself the king of all hamburger establishments. Let me first start by saying this place is decorated extremely well, the bathrooms are super clean (a lot can be said by a bathrooms cleanliness), the staff were very friendly, and the views are spectacular.
Depending on where you're sitting you have a direct view of the water and at the right time, the gorgeous sunset. We were starving by the time we sat down so we went all out. I got the classic-size burger and added guac, sautéed mushrooms, and grilled pineapple. BEST BURGER I'VE EVER HAD, no exaggeration.
Daniel got the full-size order of sweet and spicy wings and loved each and every one. He said there were the perfect combo of crunchy skin on the outside and tender, juicy meat on the inside. I could visibly see that they actually had meat to them, too. It's the worst when you order wings and practically get a morsel of meat and the rest bone.
That's a HUGE statement to make, I know, but I honestly think the dinner I had at Regina was out of this world. The ambiance, check! The location, check! The service, check! The menu options, check! The food itself, check check check! This was my final dinner in Israel (now with my coworkers, byeee Daniel) and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. The location shouldn't go unmentioned -- Regina is located in the Old Tel Aviv Train Station and it's a gorgeous restructure. The restaurant is in a stunning Mediterranean building, constructed in the 19th century. Huge and heavy iron gates surround the restaurant among colorful flowers and tall palm trees. Okay back to the food... we had the ceviche to split which was extremely fresh and plated beautifully.
After we devoured the ceviche appetizer, bread for the table, and tomato, radish, and spicy pepper salad (thanks Menachem for not being able to finish it!) our main courses came to the table. I've never had anything better than the asado slow-cooked beef in a plum sauce with date honey served with roasted carrots and potatoes. The meat was cooked PERFECTLY. Even though I was already full I made myself eat every last bite -- it was just TOO good to pass up! I don't have words for this meal other than if you're in Tel Aviv/Yaffo you need to try it. My boss got Moroccan fish and loved his meal as well!
6) Bar Ochel
I'm not really good at following rules, even when they're my own, so despite titling this article, "FIVE of the best..." you're gonna get 6.... plus a bonus as you continue reading. You're welcome!! ;)
Anyway, if you're into a savory brunch, you'll love the Israeli dish, shakshuka. Prepared with tomatoes, eggs, garlic, cilantro, and other spices this meal is filling and yummy. While I was staffing Birthright in May my students and I had almost two hours to explore the Tel Aviv shuk and while doing so some of the boys found this crowded place, Bar Ochel. I got a few WhatsApp messages saying to come and join because it's just "sooo good." I'm really, really glad I met up with them because I had the best shakshuka of my life and probably the best ceviche, too.
The shakshuka was served with delicious, freshly made bread (not pictured) and topped with crunchy flavorful scallions!
I was really having a thing for ceviche while in Israel. But honestly who wouldn't when you're by fresh fish right from the Yaffo port every day?! Bar Ochel's ceviche was a white fish with lime juice, cilantro, watermelon, and red onions. Watermelon?!?! Yeah, don't knock it 'til you try it. It was the perfect flavor combo.
7) Anita Cafe
Not really a restaurant, but a TOTAL sweet spot is Anita Cafe! I was told by more than 10 native Israeli's that if you want the best ice cream, ever go to Anita. So after dinner at Regina my co-workers and I walked over to their main shop on Shabazi St 40. It's a gorgeous, artsy, prideful area filled with tourists and locals. Lots to explore there! I digress... I got dairy free gelato and my coworkers got frozen yogurt with fresh fruit. ("Fro-Yo" in Israel is WAY different than in America. If you have the opportunity to try it out while abroad there, do it!)
I got one scoop of watermelon mint and one scoop of caramel cookie. Nomz!
Below is a picture of my co-worker's frozen yogurt with strawberries, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. Kinda regret not getting this, TBH.
There are a tonnnn of amazing restaurants in Tel Aviv and it's totally fair to say that although the above 6 were perfect for me, there are probably another 6 (or more) that I'd feel the same way about! Below are places I wanted to try, but didn't have time for...
Miznon, Vitrina, The Old Man and The Sea, Thai House, Benedict, Abu Shaker.