Tel Aviv is sun, sea, beach and… Restaurants! Where else can you find such a diverse and delicious kitchen. And most of it is healthy as well. Once in Israel you often ask yourself the question: how did I eat watery cucumbers and tomatoes all those years?
The restaurant scene in Tel Aviv is vibrant and always changing. Every month there is a new ‘place to be’. But there are plenty of chefs that stay on top of everything, all the time. And who needs an overpriced Michelin-star restaurant when you can have the same quality, but without all the pooh-a.?
There are few rules though when eating out in Tel Aviv. First: make sure you have a reservation. Especially in the weekends it’s impossible to find a place in a Tel Aviv restaurant without being ‘on the list’. Or maybe you don’t mind eating at 18.30h or 22.30h.
Second: when you’re with two, try to find a place at the bar. It’s the center of almost all restaurants in the city. And who doesn’t want to get spoiled by the man or woman behind the bar?
Third: share your food. It might be hard at first, but this is not Europe where you order your own starter, main and desert. No, here the plates go in the middle of the table, so you get to taste as much as possible.
There are so many restaurants spread out over Tel Aviv that it will be hard to choose one. We at ProperTLV will help you find the right place for the right occasion and for the right budget. Of course we have our own favorites. We tried to narrow them down to five. Here they are:
If you want to spoil yourself and your friends or family with a perfect meal, there is no other place than Shila. Located on Ben Yehuda Street it keeps a high standard for many years. Surprising dishes, from starter to desert, this place will blow you off your socks every time you visit. Who thought raw tuna with ice cream could taste that good? It’s nog cheap, but for the high quality you get, it’s a fair price. Also the service is second to none. So if you have something to celebrate or just feel like being overwhelmed by amazing dishes, this is the place to be.
Every country has its famous chefs, Eyal Shani is the one in Israel. He owns a lot of restaurants in Tel Aviv, the Mizon on King George is very good for a small bite, and he’s a regular on tv-shows. You’ll never find someone else who can talk with so much love and intellect about food. But Port Said is the place to be. They don’t do reservations, so expect to wait a bit. But once you sit down next to the big synagogue on Allenby you know it was worth it. The minute steak and masabaha are delicious and for a perfect ending order the French toast. All that comes with a unique vibe: the DJ is playing records (yes, the old black vinyl) and might be surprising you even more than the food. But the prices are the biggest surprise: in over expensive Tel Aviv, here you get still worth the money.
Tel Aviv is blessed with a lot of restaurants, but the Asian flavors are a bit of a minority. Weird, because at least half the population goes – at least once they finished the army – on a big trip to Asia. But somehow they don’t bring back the food they ate there. Of course there are a lot of sushi places in Tel Aviv, like everywhere else in the world. But a good Thai or Indian curry is a bit harder to find. There are a few though, but the best by far – according to our humble opinion – is Nam. The restaurant is located on Dizengoff, near Yimiyahu. And like most places you have to book in advance, although you can alway hope to catch a spot at the bar. The curry’s are great, just like the good old Pad Thai. But the flavor bombs really explode when it comes to the starters. Just try the pomela or green mango salad (depending on the season). Yummy! And for all those people that like spicy: order the Nam Tok. It doesn’t get any better than that.
This is an old time favorite. And the perfect place to bring a date. You’re not showing off, but still you’ll make that very important good first impression. With the huge bar in the middle it’s the perfect restaurant for couples. Instead of being tucked away on a small table in the corner not knowing what to talk about, you’re at the center of an amazing and fun dining experience. If you close your eyes and listen to the music you might even think you’re in Spain. Only the food here is better. No meatballs in tomato sauce or those other old fashioned tapas, but exciting little dishes that will tantalize your pallets. Remember you always hated cauliflower when you were a kid? If only your mother would have made the Tapeo version with a delicious anchovy sauce. Not into to kosher? Try the chorizo or the shrimps in garlic oil. Just make sure with that last dish that your date has it as well. Also the deserts are heavenly in this place on HaArba’a Street, close to Sarona Market. The prices are average.
Want to have fun while eating a good meal? And you don’t get scared away by loud, but good music. This is the place for you. It’s the perfect start for a night on the town, with an almost New York like vibe. Located just off Rothschild, behind the Max Brenner, this place will never disappoint. It serves amazing cocktails, which you can enjoy while waiting for the starters. The calamaris and salads are gorgeous. And why not try a goose leg for a main course. Like most places in Tel Aviv the best spot is right on the bar, but also when you come with a bigger group there a wonderful tables. Not least outside, at the little square. Just make sure you book in time, because it tends to get very crowded, especially in the weekends. But as the saying goes: the more the merrier…