Tel Aviv is a hotbed of innovative culinary experiences, ranging from gourmet creations of old Jewish recipes, to unique and exotic cuisine from far-away lands.
They might not be cheap, but you’ll soon find that these world-class restaurants are worth every shekel.
Chef Yuval Ben Neriah creates culinary masterpieces inspired by street foods from India, China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each night of the week features unique and flavor-packed dishes from one of these Asian countries.
Diners may choose their own dishes from the menu, or you can opt for the grand tasting menu, where the chef provides you with a vast array of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks. The Indian evening (every Sunday) is highly recommended for adventurous foodies.
Address: Derech Menachem Begin 23
Keywords to know: הוֹדוּ (India)
Popina, located in romantic Neve Tzedek, is a European-inspired culinary experience.
The menu is separated into five different cooking techniques: cured, steamed, baked, roasted, and slow-cooked. Each category includes a cocktail, appetizers, entrees, main courses, and a dessert.
Popina also offers a separate vegetarian and vegan menu, with a wide array of delicious plant-based dishes.
Address: Ahad Ha’Am St 3
Keywords to know: צִמחוֹנִי (vegetarian), טִבעוֹנִי (vegan)
Transliteration: tzeem-choh-nee (vegetarian), teev-oh-nee (vegan)
Hotel Montefiore is most famous for its decadent breakfast and brunch — many say it’s the very best in the entire city — but they also offer high-class lunch and dinner menus featuring French-Vietnamese fusion dishes exploding with flavor.
Ask a waiter to help you pair your meal with a fine wine or fancy cocktail.
Address: Montefiore St 36
Keywords to know: אֲרוּחָת בֹּקֶר (breakfast), מָלוֹן (hotel)
Transliteration: ar-oo-chaht boh-ker (breakfast), mah-lone (hotel)
Chef Ran Shmueli — one of Israel’s top veteran chefs — takes diners at Claro on a delicious adventure through the Mediterranean countries: Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and, of course, Israel.
From the vegetables to the olive oil, this farm-to-table restaurant gets their ingredients from local Israeli sources, making for a seasonal and always-changing menu.
Address: Ha’arbaa St 23
Keywords to know: מְקוֹמִי (local)
This wildly popular, exotic Asian restaurant is built around a central theme (fire), which is quite apparent as you step into the space and find an open kitchen glowing with heat and flames.
Topolopompo is truly a world-class restaurant, where the atmosphere, service, and dishes themselves are true works of art. And, like art, it comes with a high price tag, but most agree the exquisite experience that chef Avi Conforti provides is worth the price of admission.
Address: Hasolelim 14
Keywords to know: אֵשׁ (fire), יָקָר (expensive)
Transliteration: esh (fire), yah-kar (expensive)
Chef Raz Rahav sets out to tell a story with each meal served, drawing inspiration from the local culture, history, and chutzpah of Israel, plus influences from experiences around the world.
Guests sit at a bar around the open kitchen, featuring dinner and a show. A set tasting menu is planned in advance, without diners in-the-know about what will arrive next.
As long as you tell them in advance, they are happy to accommodate culinary limitations for vegetarians, vegans, pregnant women, gluten-free, and kosher meals (though it’s not a certified-kosher restaurant).
Address: Tirtsa St 17
Keywords to know: הַפתָעָה (surprise)
Run by Israel’s celebrity chef Eyal Sheni, HaSalon is an upscale yet down-to-earth restaurant that never disappoints.
Since it’s only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, this place is not easy to get into — so make a reservation well in advance! If you want to taste the best of the best that Israeli cuisine has to offer, don’t miss out on this gem.
Address: Ma’avar Yabok 8
Keywords to know: סָלוֹן (living room) הַזְמָנָה (reservation)
Transliteration: sah-lone (living room), hahz-mah-nah (reservation)
Located at the Tel Aviv Port, Kitchen Market offers top-notch local, savory and seasonal gourmet dishes while you take in the stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s the perfect place to go on a fancy date. (If you can, try and come here as the sun sets over the sea for the ultimate romantic experience.)
The fresh-caught seafood is highly recommended, and there’s plenty of vegetarian and kosher options as well.
Address: Ha-Angar St 12
Keywords to know: מִטְבָּח (kitchen), נָמָל (port), יָם (sea)
Transliteration: meet-bahch (kitchen), nah-mall (port), yahm (sea)
You can find this swanky kosher bistro located inside the Carlton Hotel, right on Tel Aviv’s beachfront.
Chef Meir Adoni offers succulent brasserie dishes for meat lovers to savor, as well as modern interpretations of traditional Jewish cooking. Wash it all down with one of their many fantastic kosher wines!
Address: Eliezer Peri St 10
Keywords to know: בָּשָׂר (meat), כָּשֵׁר (kosher), יַיִן (wine)
Transliteration: bah-sar (meat), kah-sher (kosher), yai-een (wine)
Pankina offers gourmet kosher Italian food oozing with authenticity — and cheese! This is a dairy restaurant, so you won’t find meat here, just fresh, juicy fish and piles of heavenly cheese.
Try the risotto balls for a starter, and the ravioli with zucchini, ricotta, and saffron for your entree. And, don’t forget to leave room for the best tiramisu in the city.
Address: J.L. Gordon St 39
Keywords to know: גְּבִינָה (cheese), דָּג (fish)
Transliteration: gvee-nah (cheese), dahg (fish)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Zoë Biehl is a full-time freelance writer and editor with an insatiable passion for travel. Originally from New York, she now happily calls Tel Aviv home.