Off & On Ha-Yarkon, Ben-Yehuda & Dizengoff Streets
Ha-Yarkon Street, Ben-Yehuda Street, and the side streets in between are loaded with restaurants, but don’t miss dining in romantic Old Jaffa and lesser known parts of Tel Aviv, where the city’s spectacular restaurant scene (among the best in the world) truly rides high. Note: Some non-kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv close after lunch on Friday, and then reopen Friday evening or on Saturday.Along Ben-Yehuda Street
If your child has a sophisticated palate, feel comfortable taking him or her to most every restaurant in this chapter; none will turn you away, though you’ll want to make sure they won’t disturb the other diners at the more pricey places. This box really is geared towards the picky eaters among the younger set. Try any one of the restaurants and you’re sure to find at least 2 or 3 dishes that will satisfy even the most spice-averse of youngsters:
Yotvata A favorite of Tel Aviv teenagers and students, with its menu of sandwiches, pancakes, fruit shakes and other simple dishes made from farm-fresh products.
Barbunya No frills and near the hotel district, it offers fresh fish and extremely speedy service. The latter always a blessing when traveling with impatient youngsters—just get there early at dinnertime to avoid the line.
Said el Abu Lafia and Sons Pita Bakery Wonderful Arabic pizzas and stuffed breads. Bring lots of napkins, and you’re ready to have a picnic in the nearby gardens of Old Jaffa!
Mike’s Place Burgers, fried chicken, mac [‘]n cheese and a TV constantly playing sports matches—you may have difficulty getting your kids to leave Mike’s!
Hungarian BlintzesWho doesn’t like blintzes? Well, you’re children may not yet know they like them, but once they try these crepelike treats—which come in both sweet and savory varieties—I guarantee they’ll become fans.
On & Around Dizengoff Street
A (Usually) Locals-Only Dining Experience
Probably Tel Aviv’s best-kept restaurant secret, Hatikva is a vast area inhabited by Israeli families from such countries as Yemen and Iraq, and lengthy Etzel Street is virtually wall-to-wall with restaurants serving the foods of their heritage. That means skewered meats, Middle Eastern salads, and delicious Iraqi pita breads that the waiters obtain straight from the ovens of the many bakeries that dot the street—one of Etzel Street’s mottoes is that an Iraqi pita more than 3 minutes old is stale!
The food is not only unusual and tasty, but affordable. Here you can purchase your meals by the skewer, which means you can put together a few choices like beef and turkey (about NIS 24 per skewer) plus a salad and french fries, and end up with a tasty, filling meal for around NIS 70. Or be more daring and order chicken hearts, or the pièce de résistance of Etzel Street restaurants: the enormously rich but delicate goose-liver skewer, barbecued to perfection and going for about NIS 40.
The street is like a food festival. Just pick out a place that looks busy and interesting (preferably next door to a bread bakery), and grab yourself a table.
Getting there: Pick up southbound bus no. 16 on Allenby Street near Mograbi Square, and ask the driver to let you off at Rehov Etzel in Hatikva. The ride from central Tel Aviv should take about 15 minutes.Along Allenby Street & Southward
This area is away from most hotels but contains some of the best restaurants in town.
Yemenite Quarter & Carmel Market
Walk along Allenby Street from Mograbi Square, and at 54 Allenby, turn right and walk to the grid of little streets at the far end. This is the Yemenite Quarter (Karem Ha-Teimanim), a favorite of Tel Avivians and visitors alike. Built in 1909, it’s one of the oldest parts of the city and its tangled streets harbor lots of scrumptious tiny eateries that might not be especially Yemenite, but do serve some of the tastiest Middle Eastern food in Tel Aviv.
On the west side of Allenby Street, across from the Carmel Market, Sheinkin Street is sometimes called Tel Aviv’s Greenwich Village. It’s a mix of cafes, unusual shops, and family stores—a stroll and a meal here let you sample a slice of authentic Tel Aviv life away from touristy districts. King George Street, which makes a “V” with Sheinkin Street at Allenby, is home to a number of excellent and reasonably priced bakeries and nut shops—perfect if you’d like a snack for your hotel room.
After decades of neglect, this neighborhood, the oldest in the city, is coming alive with galleries, boutiques, cafes, and The Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater, the centerpiece for the revival of the area.
Near Ibn Givrol Street, Ha-Bimah & Mann Auditorium
North by the Yarkon River
The neighborhood, just south of the Yarkon River, sometimes called Little Tel Aviv, is centered on Yirmiyahu Street, a short street near the point where Ben-Yehuda and Dizengoff streets meet, a block from the bend in the Yarkon. Take a bus or a cab north on Ha-Yarkon, Ben-Yehuda, or Dizengoff streets all the way to Yirmiyahu.
In the Tel Aviv Port
The old Tel Aviv Port used to be a derelict stretch of warehouses and garages along the northern stretch of Tel Aviv’s beachfront. It’s now booming with some of the city’s most stylish restaurants, shops, and bars, all linked by a boardwalk promenade. The Port is bustling through the wee hours, but its also a favorite spot for a relaxing beachfront breakfast or lunch. In addition to the restaurants, there are snack and bakery counters, bars, food markets and other restaurant for every need and interest.
Cars and taxis must stay outside the perimeter of the vast, fenced-in port, which is an added plus—pedestrians entering the entire enclave are checked by security guards at each of the port’s gates.
To get here, take bus no. 4 or 5, or sherut no. 4. Taxis will let you off at the closest gate to the restaurant or bar of your choice. Most people just browse and find a restaurant they’d like to try, but after 8pm or on weekends, you’ll need a reservation. After dinner, you can stroll out to the old Redding Electric Plant, which is now used as a venue for exhibitions, on a distant point at the northern end of the complex.
Gourmet Grazing in & Near Jaffa
Inside the harbor of the Old Jaffa Port, Jaffa Port Market (Jaffamarket.co.il; open Mon-Sat 9am-11pm)is Tel Aviv’s newest magnet for foodies, opened in 2012. Here, in addition to purchasing exotic ingredients and gourmet kitchen utensils, you can make a meal from food stalls, many of which are branches of some of the Tel Aviv area’s best-loved local food sources. They sell a huge variety of goods: pastries, Mediterranean tapas, wines, chocolates, scrumptious deli sandwiches, hummus, bouillabaisse, you name it. You can even try traditional Arabic kannafeh, a sweet cheese dish made here by a kannafeh mayivin in regular, sugar-free, and gluten-free.
About 2.4km (1 1/2 miles) south of Old Jaffa and the port area is Jabalya (in Hebrew sometimes “Givat Aliya”) Beach. You need a car or a taxi to get to this out-of-the-way area. Tel Avivians in the know patronize the excellent seafood restaurants here, enjoying the unobstructed views of the sunset. Long neglected, this neighborhood has become a piece of prime residential real estate. There’s a public beach with safe swimming and changing rooms at the foot of the hill.Titanic Ice Cream
Strategically located throughout the city, Iceberg is a local institution that keeps Tel Aviv cool and happy through the hotter months, with seasonal ice cream treats such as apricot or pear in wine. Our favorite two outlet of the chain is at Tel Aviv Port, at the corner of Allenby Street and Rothschild Boulevard, and at 108 Ben-Yehuda Street (next to a wine bar called “Wineberg”). Icebergs are open daily, generally from 11am to 2am. Elsewhere in the city, look for Aldo Ice Cream, at The Tel Aviv Port, and at 107 Ibn Givrol Blvd; and Dr. Lek on Yefet St. in Jaffa, just 1 block north of the Clock Tower. For homemade Italian gelati and ices, our favorite is the Yaffo Café, 11 Olei Zion St., in the Jaffa Flea Market. They also serve wonderful apple pie, plus of salads, pastas, and frozen yogurts.