Tourist Tip #314 / Eat Outside the Box: Tel Aviv's Chef Restaurants

The city teems with world-class, relatively affordable great eateries. Be brave: order something you never thought existed!

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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One of the best things about visiting Tel Aviv is its restaurants.

This is a town geared towards fun and there's good reason Tel Aviv has been coined one of the coolest cities in the world, and that sure doesn't refer to the summer weather - hot, hot, chance of heat, hot – and incessantly humid. Tel Aviv is a happenin' place, featuring the odd city-sponsored street party, nonstop events and, not least, the plethora of eateries.

This tourism tip isn't going to grade them. It's impossible anyway – one man's culinary delight in grilled squid tentacles with parsley foam is another man's memory of mommy making him eat. The point here is more that you know they exist, and by international standards, they are relatively affordable – you can have truly memorable meals for around $30 to $50 per person. Yet in fewer big cities in the world you will find better cuisine.

Tel Aviv chefs also tend to be imaginative, creating extraordinary fusions – France meets the Middle East, Italy meets Jewish dishes. Be brave, dear reader. Order something you never thought existed.

It bears note that most of these restaurants aren't kosher: if that matters to you and the shrimp on the menu isn't a give-away, call and ask.

Also, raw fish is very much in and has been for years. Many chef restaurants will feature some form of ceviche, sometimes to the point that the author of the appetizers list seems to have forgotten the art of that fire thing altogether.

Portions tend to be on the reasonable to generous side: a meal of an appetizer and main course should leave you happily stuffed.

Almost all the restaurants maintain websites which offer links to their menus, in English too. We recommend googling some variation of "Tel Aviv chef restaurants" and then searching for the specific restaurant site, which will also elaborate prices. And there you go.

Tel Aviv can offer some madly fine dining experiences. But if you want to be sure the place is kosher, ask. Hint: Shrimps aren't.Credit: Anatoli Michaelo
Israel offers a wealth of gourmet options.Credit: Natan Dvir