The Food Scene
Rich and varied, with something for everyone’s budget and taste, dining in Tel Aviv is surely a moveable feast, an experience in delight, and visitors to the city with an eye - or a stomach - for memorable culinary experiences will enjoy moving from one fine restaurant to another, day after day during their stay, and feel utter contentment. French, Moroccan, Iraqi, Italian, steak, seafood, Arabic, Mexican, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Eastern European/Jewish and much more - restaurants reflecting a world of culinary wonders and the scores of countries and regions back to which Israelis trace their roots. Ever attentive to developing trends, Tel Aviv’s restaurateurs have also started to launch more and more vegan restaurants, positioning the city as one of the world’s more significant vegan dining centers.
With more than 4000 restaurants and other eating facilities at last count - and still expanding - to complement the city’s 500
or so bars and clubs, and with a legion of local foodies that increases from year to year, to serve as motivation and catalyst
for ever-expanding innovations, dining in Tel Aviv is an experience in delight.
In restaurants, dinner crowds rarely start to arrive before 8:30 PM, and the great majority of quality dining establishments is open until at least midnight, with some later still.
From the luxurious a la carte kosher restaurants at five-star-level hotels, and prestigious restaurants operated by celebrity chefs, to family-run hummus establishments in the Yemenite Quarter, to the small and intimate bistros in Florentine and the tantalizing variety of meat skewer options in the Hatikvah neighborhood, Tel Aviv dining offers unexpected culinary pleasures.
Tel Avivans are barflies too. Cocktail and mixed drinks are the latest trend, and the city’s barmen (and women) have become creative in blending original drinks, combining ingredients in ways never imagined even five years ago, with results that have been garnishing kudos from locals and visitors. Along with pubs and bars of all sorts, resto-bars merging dining and drinking have also created a very strong presence on Tel Aviv’s after-hours scene, with some that continue into the night as a designer lounge or club featuring DJ, dance floor, special effects and themed décor.
For groups requiring a kosher dining option, the major luxury hotels are a good place to start, where intense competition for the sophisticated tourist and his dollar has raised the level of quality to truly international standards. Designed and overseen by chefs of amazing talent, the menus range anywhere from classic “grill” style, to modern ethnic, to trendy fusion cuisine. When Jewish dietary laws are not an issue, detailing choices from among the city’s roster of truly excellent restaurants and chefs is beyond the scope of this short introduction; your agent or DMC will be able to provide you with all the information you need. However, what seems to distinguish an excellent Israeli restaurant from one that is merely good is a sense of imagination and flair, particularly among the generation of young, talented Tel Aviv chefs, a significant number of whom have worked with master chefs all over the world and have even run well-received restaurants abroad before returning to Israel. They have been crucial in helping the city develop a well-earned international reputation for culinary innovation and excellence.
So dine till you can’t even think of eating more. It’s easy to feast in Tel Aviv till you drop.