There is no place more Jew-ish than Tel Aviv. The menus of the city’s most popular restaurants flaunt shellfish and bars and nightclubs emanate music into the wee hours on Shabbat. Goys and secular Jews alike live their urban lives free of religious pressure. And yet, there’s no denying the city’s pride for its essential role as the first all-Jewish city in the world.
We recommend you take a quick look at The Great Synagogue and breeze through the Ben Gurion house tour, but your main focus should be eating and drinking so much that you collapse on Frishman Beach for an afternoon nap or find yourself glued to a bench on Rothschild Boulevard peoplewatching.
This lovely cafe has the homey vibe of a living room and a fresh breakfast.
No better place for brunch by the beach. Get there early to snag a coveted table on the terrace.
A tiny spot with a big breakfast. The Israeli breakfast here is one of the best – the fresh bread is heavenly and the sheer amount of dips is next level.
For real couscous and mafrum, this is your spot. It’s worth the 20-minute trip outside the city and the toilet paper rolls that take the place of napkins on each table. Everything is gone by 2 or 3pm.
First and foremost, you get a free, piping hot falafel while you wait. The combo plates are rich in value and taste, and they’ll spike whatever specialty beverage they’re selling with a touch of arak.
You’ll see Chef Eyal Shani’s mastery in this guide more than once. This is his gourmet, fast casual pita stand. Everything is incredible. Especially the luscious baked cauliflower – get it no matter what.
Right in the midst of Jaffa’s Flea Market, this quirky spot is a cafe-meets-restaurant-meets-secondhand-store. The outdoor patio is always full, the Mediterranean menu is varied and vegetarian-friendly, and the eclectic furniture and dishes are for sale.
Sabich – like falafel, but so much better. This lightly fried eggplant in a pita will melt in your mouth. Add “hakol,” or “the works”: a freshly boiled egg, potato, tahini, and every last salad and pickled thing.
After 50 years of operation in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehudah market, this low-key Turkish family restaurant expanded to Tel Aviv. Best kibbeh in the city.
The fresh, creative menu changes every day and is inspired by the Carmel Market, in which the restaurant resides. The soundtrack is on point and traif reigns, from melt-in-your mouth crab burekas to brains on toast (unless you’re offal-averse). Sit inside for a romantic vibe, outside to feel like you’re in the mix.
You can order your cocktails by the pitcher, and the friendly waiters provide you with copious shots of arak and join you in the festivities. The spicy feta brulee is just wow. The menu is conveniently organized by size of dish, and there’s something for everyone, from veggies to seafood and meat.
While The Minzar is mostly known as a pub, its best kept secret is that it’s one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. The menu never conforms and always changes but is consistent in its impressive execution. Far from your typical bar food.
Yet another mindblowing Eyal Shani institution. Our favorite, in fact. This isn’t a rustic farm-to-table affair; sit at the bar, right next to the kitchen, to marvel at the chefs’ talent and be delighted by the exquisite plating.
This relaxing and playful restaurant serves a seamless hybrid of Greek and Israeli food and a generous selection of ouzo. The owners’ motto is “joy,” and you’ll feel it here.
This one requires a reservation, and we recommend you take one at whatever time you can get it. The creativity and fun levels are turned way up, and the raw fish dishes are especially refreshing.
The spot you’ll be wary of because it’s the one everybody recommends, but they’re right. This is a glorious, legendary, nothing-but-hummus spot. Take the hummus, pita, and white onion they give you and head to the Jaffa port to devour it all in one sitting. First come, first served – don’t delay.
Avoid the slushy, icy, milky mix that passes for iced coffee at most Israeli cafes and enjoy Cafelix’s cold brew. Bonus: bring a blanket and a newspaper and stretch out on their lawn with your rare third wave Israeli coffee.
This Hungarian bakery has more monikers than pastries. Their namesake cake, the Kurtos Kalacs, is crack-a-licious. Eat it right out of the oven.
Inside the Carmel Market, this super casual beer garden is best for a Friday afternoon drink. As the shuk shuts down, Beer Bazaar slowly expands its folding chairs and tables to the surrounding streets. Order the sampler.
Everything at this quirky, Prohibition-era bar in the lobby of the Berdichevsky boutique hotel is over the top, from the prices to the presentation. Indulge and get the salted caramel cocktail.
This wine bar takes its name seriously, serving unadorned plates of nose-to-tail fare. The food is inventive, but the extensive wine list is what you’re going for.
A Mexican-Korean mash-up with a neon Californian vibe. Go for drinks after dinner and sit near the DJ booth. Don’t leave until you Instagram the shrine upstairs.
The perfect place for afternoon-into-evening drinks on a sunny day. Find a seat on the patio and peoplewatch until live music strikes up in the back room. Dance.