Israel’s Mediterranean-coast city is bustling with energy, ever-inspiring for Marc Summers, founder of Soho and Spitalfields’ popular Bubala restaurants. Dine there for lunch – or, if you’re planning a trip to Tel Aviv, we’ve gleaned the insider low-down from Marc. Here are the best places to eat and drink in Tel Aviv.
Where To Eat & Drink In Tel Aviv
According to Marc Summers, Founder of Bubala
This is a gem of a food van I stumbled upon in Shuk Carmel. It really is the best street food in Tel Aviv with the freshest challah bread. Take a walk in the market, get a boreka to snack on and then head to Hashomer1 for lunch. Take your seat in the food truck and just marvel at what can be done from a tiny truck kitchen.
Tel Aviv has some of the best falafel you will ever have in your life, and nowhere sums this up more than Hakosem. The ‘magician’ Ariel Rosenthal has created the best falafel pita I’ve had in Israel. The crispy aubergine takes it to another level! Beware: the pita will leave you covered in tahini.
Abie is an incredible restaurant from brothers Asaf and Yotam Doktor, who also own Dok and Ha’achim (which are amazing, too!). The brothers showcase some seriously innovative cooking and there is nowhere better to enjoy the best and freshest fish and seafood in Tel Aviv. I love an open kitchen, so I get a seat at the bar and watch the chefs all night.
Port Said is the first place I go to whenever I land in Tel Aviv, as I instantly feel relaxed and in holiday mode. There’s always a buzz that I crave from eating out. I must admit, the chicken livers and tahini are on my mind all year round – there’s nothing quite like it. Sat with a cold beer, overlooking the historic Great Synagogue and sharing some of the best food in Tel Aviv is a dream, and I already can’t wait to go back.
In Jaffa, run by the legendary Dr Shakshuka – a Libyan Jew who specialises in, guess what, shakshuka. A pretty famous spot.
Old Man By The Sea
A pretty mad place which you’ll probably never see anywhere else. You have the option to order ‘mains’, but you don’t need to. You’re basically inundated with about 20 tiny little Mezze dishes and pitas. As soon as you finish a dish, they replace it and continue to replace it until you say ‘no more’. This is also located in Jaffa, right by the old mosque.
I’ll start by saying this is my favourite restaurant in Tel Aviv. Romano encompasses what eating in Tel Aviv is all about: vibrant cooking, great energy, and a setting that cannot be matched. Picture an old, derelict-looking building from the outside that opens up to a magical courtyard, with Romano sitting beautifully on the top floor. I have not experienced a vibe anywhere like it in the world. Go with a big group, order the majority of the menu, and just soak up the atmosphere.
The OG gazoz place, and a great hole in the wall. Go for a drink while browsing the various stalls in and around Levinsky.
Jazz Kissa Bar
Eyal Shani’s jazz bar/restaurant – the food will be similar to Romano, but go for the vibe in the evening – it is so beautiful.
This is Tel Aviv’s equivalent of River Cafe. Expensive, classic, and beautiful food. Definitely go to soak up the vibe – it’s a great barometer for food in the city.
The most famous place for hummus in Tel Aviv – located in Jaffa! Go here for breakfast, walk about, and then return for lunch. It’s very, very chaotic, so be prepared for hustle and come with cash. Known as a spot where Jews and Arabs come together over their love of hummus.
Bubala has two London branches, located in Soho and Spitalfields. bubala.co.uk
Featured image: Jaffa, Tel Aviv (via Getty).