This article was originally published on July 22, 2016
Tel Aviv is overflowing with fantastic restaurants. Tourists from all over the world drop their jaws at the variety, abundance and especially the high standard of food — a wild celebration of quality ingredients and inspiring creativity, where East meets West with a Mediterranean influence. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve narrowed our list of favorites down to 10.
If there were ever such a thing as an “Israeli kitchen” this would be it. In a light-filled, spacious room in a German Templar building that has been revamped as part of the Sarona complex, one can slip onto a comfy bar stool and enjoy the culinary show of Ran Shmueli’s dizzying, captivating open kitchen. The service on the bar is excellent. Don’t miss the particularly creative cocktails made of plants and fruit.
23 HaArba'a Street, Tel Aviv. 03-6017777
Chef Uriel Kimchi’s kitchen is creative and inspiring as it dances on a molecular line without falling into any clichés. Although the atmosphere is decadent, the prices are reasonable. Cocktails are made of high quality ingredients and an impressive list of wines are available by the glass. The tasting menu is reasonably priced at 280 NIS for seven dishes.
3 Ahad Ha'Am St, Tel Aviv. 03-5757477
This restaurant, located beside the Tel Aviv Museum, went through some unsuccessful incarnations before chef Hilel Tavakoli took over the kitchen. Now, it’s taking flight with its selection of surprising dishes. The weekday lunch specials at Pastel are reasonably priced at 88 NIS. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the wine list.
27 Sderot Sha'ul HaMelech, Tel Aviv. 03-6447441
After a rocky period, the most elegant eatery in the city is back on the horse and more comfortable than ever. The service is outstanding and plays an essential part in the overall experience. The food and wine is ridiculously expensive, but it’s particularly pleasant to dine here.
25 Nakhmani St, Tel Aviv. 03-5435400
In summer, most of the seating is outdoors without any cover from the scorching heat and the service here is not always the best, but if you manage to snatch a seat at the bar or in the air conditioning, you’ll have a perfect time.
Nestled in the commercial center of north Tel Aviv, this true farm-to-table restaurant receives daily deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables, unusual cuts of meat, and herbs from a farm in the Ella Valley. The chef and grill staff will are there to make your culinary dreams come true. The menu also hosts various fish prepared with a range techniques. Local and international wines, sold for reasonable prices, complete the experience.
5 Moshe Perlok St, Tel Aviv. 077-5155905
This restaurant by renowned Israeli chef Haim Cohen is just what its name implies: a quintessential combination of everything Tel Aviv and Jaffa — with hints of Jerusalem and lots of Europe. Fresh ingredients meet innovative techniques and a staff that consistently manages to change frequencies. The wine list offers a wide range of untraditional choices. It’s worth coming here just for that.
98 Yigal Alon St, Tel Aviv. 03-6249249
Chef Yossi Shitrit’s restaurant is one of the most surprising in town. The meals are crammed full of ingredients and spices but despite that, thanks to the richness of the herbs and vegetables, they manage to invigorate and surprise with exploding creativity. Unfortunately, the cocktails don’t live up to the quality of the food.
5 Mendeli St, Tel Aviv. 03-7500999
This modest restaurant, by chef Ido Feiner and the intriguing wine importer Uri Caftori, opened only a couple of months ago and has already turned into a polished diamond that’s worthy of praise. Feiner and Caftori manage to bring fine dining to the center of the city in a way that’s comfortable and relaxed. The surprisingly affordable prices are a true bonus, as is the selection of wines, which are fairly priced.
15 Ahad Ha’Am St, Tel Aviv. 03-9030677
This restaurant is built around a taboon oven and chef Tomer Agay takes full advantage of it to produce a range of comforting carbohydrates that embrace cuts of meat and fish with love, inspired by places all over the world. A large part of the restaurant spills into an outdoor courtyard behind the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv, which makes it feel like there’s always a party going on. The pizzas here are wonderful, as are the fish and seafood, as well as the surprising desserts. Take note: the weekday lunch specials here are among the most generous and reasonably priced in the city.
2 Har Sinai St, Tel Aviv. 058-7820292
This restaurant is located on the second floor of an historic building, atop a buzzing lounge bar whose groovy atmosphere penetrates the floor above. The service here is generous, the cocktails are exceptional — a great way to kick off the night — and chef Guy Gamzu’s Mediterranean menu even includes touches of Syria, Egypt, Italy and Spain. You’ll find great cuts of meat here and divine desserts. Ask about the tasting menu.
66 Nahalat Binyamin St, Tel Aviv. 03-5296054