Since the dining scene in Tel Aviv is so robust, finding a good meal can go beyond just recommending certain restaurants, though we certainly do that (and have full reviews on this site). You can also simply stroll to the areas of town that are known for food, and try the places with a crowd. Here are a few of the best neighborhoods for foodies, plus a look at kid-friendly eats,  restaurants that work for vegans and the city's finest ice cream.

The Seaside Promenade

Dinner with a water view. What could be better? This area is loaded with lovely seafood and fish restaurants, but there are also tons of culinary gems in romantic Old Jaffa and in more inland, though still easily accessible, parts of Tel Aviv.

Note: Some non-kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv close after lunch on Friday, and then reopen Friday evening or on Saturday.

Dining at the Port

The old Tel Aviv Port used to be a derelict strip of warehouses and garages along the northern stretch of Tel Aviv’s beachfront. It’s now booming with restaurants, shops, and bars, all linked by a boardwalk promenade. The Port, or the Namal in Hebrew, is bustling through the wee hours, and there are snack and bakery counters, bars, food markets, and other restaurants for every need and interest.

The easiest way to get there is simply to follow the seaside promenade as it continues north from Hilton Beach (about a 10-minute walk). Note that on weekends Tel Aviv Port is a favorite with Israeli families who come from other towns to catch the sea breeze; you’ll have a calmer experience if you visit during the week.

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.

Yemenite Quarter, Carmel Market and Levinsky Market

This area, which has undergone a massive rejuvenation since 2010, contains some of the best restaurants in town. These include the colorful and culinarily rich Carmel and Levinsky Market, as well as a grid of little streets off Allenby Street known as the Yemenite Quarter (Karem Ha-Teimanim in Hebrew). Built at the beginning of the 20th century, this is one of the oldest parts of the city and its tangled streets harbor lots of scrumptious, tiny eateries that draws on the Yemenite, Iranian, Turkish, Greek history of the neighborhood.

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 plus a salad and french fries, and end up with a tasty, filling meal for less than NIS 85. 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.

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.

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.

Neve Tzedek

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.

On and Around Ibn Givrol Street, Habimah, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Ibn Gvirol Street runs through Tel Aviv’s center of culture, from the Cinémathèque northward toward Shderot Shaul Ha Melech, where you’ll find the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the fantastic Cameri Theater, and finishing at the green, activity-packed Hayarkon Park. This street is lined with many great choices for everything from post-theater fine dining to young and experimental street food joints.

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.

Near Jaffa

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.

Tel Aviv’s Ice Cream Scene

Tel Aviv, a city that is hot most of the year, has unsurprisingly, some really great ice cream options. Among the most unique is Buza, an ice cream parlor that is named after the Arabic word for “ice cream,” which is typically made according to techniques (pounding and stretching, rather than churning) that were honed over centuries in Syria. Launched by a Jewish-Israeli kibbutznik and a famed Arab-Israeli chef, Buza won a UN award for promoting coexistence, bringing together Jews and Arabs with a shared love of unique, locally inspired flavors. The incredibly creamy and chewy texture is simply in a different league from what Americans and Europeans know as “ice cream”.  Buza is located on 91 Hahashmonaim St and in four other locations throughout northern Israel.

The chain known as Golda also keeps Tel Avivim cool and happy through the hotter months from dozens of branches, by serving European-style ice creams in often unique flavors (pistachio with white chocolate, limoncello). Our favorite outlets of that chain are at Tel Aviv Port, on Rothschild Boulevard, and at 9 Yehieli St, in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood. Golda’s branches are open daily, generally from 8 or 9 am to midnight.

For homemade Italian gelati, our favorite is Arte Italian ice Cream, 11 Nahalat Binyamin; they also make sorbets and refreshing granitas, many of which are vegan.

Vegan Restaurants

Tel Aviv is a foodie town par excellence, where the locals dish on their latest restaurant finds with almost as much relish as they do when actually chowing down. The most recent culinary craze is for vegan restaurants, and somehow it’s fitting: after all, with hot, humid weather several months out of the year, lighter, fare just makes sense. Even the most famous, most classic restaurants are now offering vegetarian or fully vegan alternative menus, but check out some of the insider addresses below for recommended hot spots.

Opa’s low-key, monochrome cream décor is almost as impressive as its plant-based food, both of which strongly exude an elegant, minimalist ethos. As the antidote to the city’s plethora of hippie vegan joints, Opa is a sophisticated chef restaurant where you’ll sample dishes sourced from a farm just outside of Tel Aviv. Favorites include a salad dressed with fermented macadamia milk and, for dessert, a decadent Gianduja chocolate-hazelnut ganache.
8 Ha-khalutzim St. tel. 052/583-8242. Mon-Thurs 7pm-11pm, Fri 12pm-3pm. Bus: 4, 129, 172.

Anastasia Vegan Café  was the first vegan cafe in Israel, and is still knowm for its delicious breakfast with loads of tasty dips, good salads, healthy shakes, and incredible cakes.
54 Frishman St. tel. 03/529-0095. Sun-Thurs 9am-10pm, Fri 9am-4pm, Sat 10am-4pm. Bus: 24, 48, 3, 25, 125.

Goodness is where you go to sample all the Israeli classics -- shnitzel, shawarma, shakshuka, kubbe — but vegan. They’ve somehow perfected the difficult task of making vegan cheese actually “cheesy” in texture and taste, and have a long menu of other fun, junk food type dishes, like sloppy Joe sandwiches or chicken nuggets, that are well complemented by the restaurants’ raucous, joyous vibe. 

41 King George St. tel. 055/973-5792. Sun-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm. Bus: 4, 125, 72, 172, 129, 61, 62, 115.

Four One Six is a hip, dimly lit bistro restaurant that stands out as a special-occasions destination for vegans and their non-vegan friends. Any of the items on the impressive cocktail list (many based on gluten-free Stoli) go well with homemade signature dishes like the soy-based labane, topped with sumac, chile, and sumac, or the Korean oyster mushroom skewers.
16 HaArba’a St. tel. 03/775-5060.  Daily 12pm-11pm. Bus: 62, 115, 63, 238, 2, 8.

Market Seasonal Kitchen is a vegan salad bar and restaurant that opened in 2015, offering seasonal, homemade vegan comfort food such as stews, soups, sandwiches, salads. Saturday's opening time is one hour after Shabbat.
31 King George St. and 140 Dizengoff St. Sun-Mon 12pm-11pm, Tues-Thurs 12pm-9pm, Fri 12pm-3:30pm, closed Sat. tel. 03/552-5808. Bus: 4, 62, 115, 61, 129, 172.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

If your child has a sophisticated palate, feel comfortable taking him or her to most every restaurant in this chapter; Israel is a famously pro-kid country where even many of the pricier places will be happy to host young ones and provide them with entertainment like coloring books and crayons. This box really is geared towards the picky eaters among the younger set, which is easy in a country where restaurants serving schnitzel, fries, burgers and pizzas are found every few streets. Try any one of the spots below and you’re sure to find at least two or three dishes that will satisfy even the most spice-averse of youngsters:

Barbunia No frills and near the hotel district, it offers fresh fish and relatively speedy service. The latter is always a blessing when traveling with impatient youngsters—just get there early at dinnertime to avoid the line.
163 Ben Yehuda St. tel. 053/942-4941. Fixed-price meals NIS 90–NIS 110. Daily noon-midnight. Bus: 4, 10, 55.

Fat Cow This chill burger spot focuses on its butcher-quality cut, grilled to perfection (though there are a few other options, like tasty chicken fingers and a remarkably good Caesar salad) is great for a tasty, quick meal less than 10 minutes from Mezizim Beach. The interior is diner-style, and the outside your typical mix of bar stools and low tables, with an all-around focus on comfort.

265 Dizengoff St. tel. 03/773-2591.  Fri-Wed noon-midnight, Thurs noon-1am. Bus: 4, 10, 62, 115.

Pizza Brooklyn. With two branches — on King George 88, near Dizengoff Center, and on Dizengoff 274, in the Old North, you’ll find the perfect midway between gourmet and casual. The pies range from basic but delicious Margherita to more creative versions, like Hawaiian with corned beef.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.