Food enthusiasts beware: when visiting a city like Tel Aviv, it’s important to pace yourself, or else face the inevitable food coma. With access to some of the world’s best produce, seafood, and innovative spirits, local chefs have launched the city onto the international culinary scene. In 2019, the prestigious La Liste ranking of the 1,000 best restaurants in the world included 13 Israeli restaurants, of which 11 are in Tel Aviv. Look out, Paris, Tokyo, and New York: Tel Aviv is coming for your awards. We’ve picked our favorite upscale options for a special night out, and balanced them with some local favorites. Don’t leave Tel Aviv without sampling a bit of everything on the spectrum, from simple to splurge, prepare to be delighted by the best restaurants in Tel Aviv.
Celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s Port Said is a local treasure. Get ready to wait for a table, which is part of the experience here. Tel Avivis congregate on the steps across from the Great Synagogue, beer bottles and wine glasses in hand, listening to a phenomenal playlist as they seem to forget that they are always in a hurry, and wait to be seated in an orderly fashion. And you thought it was impossible. The menu embodies Shani’s unpretentious approach to fine dining: roasted sweet potato served on butcher paper with a dollop of créme fraîche, a bag of Jericho green beans dripping with garlic, lemon, and olive oil, and tender minute-steak served on tahini with tomato tartar and spicy pepper. Come for the food, stay for the music and eccentric crowd.
In the heart of Shuk Levinsky, Ouzeria offers an exceptional dining experience in a welcoming environment. The menu, inspired by Spanish tapas and Greek mezze, offers small plates of meticulously prepared dishes that are great for sharing – and trust us, you’ll want to sample them all. Start with the fried calamari and sumptuous burrata, then move to the beetroot ravioli filled with goat cheese, fresh fish on the plancha, and carpaccio tartare. Finish with a glass of ouzo or arak, and toast “yiamas” or “l’chaim” to the chef in appreciation. Now try to stop thinking about the food for the rest of the week – you’ll definitely be tempted to go back!
Nestled inside the Levinsky market, you’ll find another local favorite for exquisite food and ambiance. Dalida, like the legendary singer that inspired its name, is a harmonious blend of east and west, mingling Arab, Italian, and French flavors on their seasonal menu that’s intended for sharing. Indulge in their spicy feta brûlée, brioche steak and bone marrow, and filet mignon with vegetables in hawaij butter. For a very happy hour, or two, Dalida offers 50% off their dishes Sunday-Thursday from 17:00-19:00. Sample a bit of everything along with one of their signature cocktails, available by the glass or pitcher.
Just on the border between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Par Derriére wraps all of life’s temptations into one menu and serves them up in an impossibly charming garden wine bar. Day or night, this is the place to be. Whether you crave eggs benedict and french toast, or sea bass and entrecote, Par Derriére’s menu is perfect for brunch, late-night cocktails, and everything in between. Choose from their impressive wine list, curated by Par Derriére partner and sommelier Itay Shalom, which also includes a cigar menu for those who enjoy a Cohiba or Montecristo in the garden on a summer evening.
Shlomo & Doron
No list of best restaurants in Tel Aviv would be complete without a hummusiya, and every Tel Avivi has a passionate opinion about which one is the best. But unless they tell you it’s Shlomo & Doron, they’re wrong. It wasn’t long ago that this family-run Yemenite restaurant, open since 1937, was relatively off the radar. Locals would pop by for some hummus shakshuka and watch the older residents of Kerem Hateimanim (the Yemenite Quarter) congregate, sorting chickpeas at the tables and talking about the current state of affairs. These days, you’ll have to wait in line, but we promise it’s worth it. The offerings have evolved with each generation, now boasting a creative and hip fusion menu courtesy of Shlomo’s grandson, Elad. One thing never changes – you’ll always find the best hummus in Tel Aviv served with a warm smile. You’ll be in good company, too – celebrity chef Eyal Shani can be spotted here from time to time, so you know it’s the best.
Fall in love with Old Jaffa inside a historic building, exquisitely renovated into a center for contemporary art that manages to capture the essence of the ancient city within its walls. Did we mention there’s food and alcohol? Beit Kandinof contains 5 galleries that display expertly curated artwork to admire after you’ve satisfied your culinary palate. Chefs Yogev Yaros and Shami Golomb have created a menu worthy of its own exhibit, with rosemary focaccia, fava hummus, local red mullets breaded with paprika flour, lamb spare ribs, and some crack pie with salted Turkish yogurt ice cream to bring it on home. Once you’re fully satisfied in every way, wander the stunning alleys of Old Jaffa to find your inspiration.
Speaking of Israel’s pride, Eyal Shani, his HaSalon restaurant was recognized by La Liste in 2019 as one of the best in the world. The menu changes daily, with an emphasis on fresh seasonal raw materials transformed before your eyes into culinary masterpieces, usually by Shani himself. This is definitely a splurge, so save HaSalon for a special occasion and book in advance. At around 23:00 the music turns up and the sophisticated ambiance transforms into a lively party, complete with smashing plates, flying napkins, and dancing on tables. Opa!