The Holy Land's best budget bites
Tel Aviv can be a pricey city, but hidden in the cracks is a vibrant scene of budget eateries that reflect the diverse cultural and culinary landscape. Skip the tourist traps and explore Tel Aviv like a local—here are 13 tables where you’ll enjoy delicious meals, spending just a few shekels.
1. Port Said, street food
Har Sinai 5 (next to the Great Synagogue)
If you are looking for a restaurant that represents Tel Aviv, Port Said is it—a buzzing hipster atmosphere, a DJ tucked into a corner, and a delicious take on middle-eastern food. The menu changes daily and includes sharing portions of freshly-sourced local food, served with dollops of rich and creamy tahini sauce.
2. Vitrina, burgers
54 Ibn Gabirol
Topped with arugula, purple beet ketchup and creamy, garlic mayo, Vitrina has the best gourmet burger I’ve ever eaten. Their fries are a combination of regular and sweet potato fries topped with herbs, spices and lemon zest. If that doesn’t get your juices going, try one of their 14 varietal sausages.
3. Cafe Xoho, international café
This is a local gem tucked into a Tel Aviv side-street with laid back funky art, a sleepy house cat and an eclectic chalkboard menu with listing of comfort foods and a juice bar. Their vegan “mushroom bacon” has a bit of a cult following. Be sure to try their delicious all-day breakfast and of course their famous cookies!
4. Thai House, Thai food
If you’re looking for an authentic Thai dining experience, this is it. The restaurant itself makes you feel like you are on a remote Asian beach. The food perfectly satisfies any craving with its extensive menu and great exotic drinks. Best is to go with some friends and order everything to share.
5. HaPizza, Italian food
There is no way you can walk through HaPizza (which is always packed) without getting an instant craving for a cheesy slice. Their thin-crusted pizzas are delicious, perfectly seasoned and dressed in delicious, Italian sauce and contemporary toppings. No wonder they’re known as one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv.
6. Benedict, all-day breakfast
This is a breakfast institution that serves breakfast 24/7. Remember to book in advance or be prepared to queue. Benedict’s is jam-packed with every single comfort food possible: whether it is towering pancakes, eggs Benedict, French toast or shakshuka, here breakfast knows no boundaries.
7. Mezcal, Mexican food
Chaim Vital 2
Mezcal is probably the most original Mexican food you’ll get in Tel Aviv (as explained by a fellow Mexican diner). Their food is delicious; their mojitos magical; salsas are just what you want; with fun vibes, set in a casual atmosphere. Try some of their exotic dishes!
8. Kitchen Market, fusion food
12 Hangar, Shuk HaNamal
Kitchen Market is a contemporary fusion restaurant found above the farmers’ market in Port. This market-to-table restaurant serves up seasonal dishes bursting with creative gourmet cuisine.
9. Moon Sushi, sushi bar
Bograshov 50 and Pinsker 30
If you are looking for exotic sushi combinations, check out Moon. Their menu is extensive and portions are small so you’ll get to taste many new flavors. Sushi is delivered via a conveyor belt, which is a great solution if you’re not sure what to order, or you don’t want to wait too long. On Sunday’s every conveyor belt dish has a fixed price of 12 NIS.
10. Anastasia, vegan restaurant
Voted “Best Vegan Restaurant in Tel Aviv,” Anastasia has a delicious and nutritious breakfast with loads of tasty dips, nutritious salads and incredible cakes. Everything is in super-abundance: from space to light, to the health-savvy staff and the extensive vegan menu.
11. Dallal, Mediterranean,
Dallal, a beautiful hideaway, is known for their special breakfasts. The atmosphere is relaxed and the décor, meticulous. The food choices are simple, but with a delicious gourmet twist that reflects its surroundings. For to-go treats, stop at the Dallal Bakery.
12. Goocha, seafood,
This is the place for lovers of seafood. The menu ranges from light and fresh to well-seasoned and decadent. It is one of the few places in Tel Aviv where you can get good seafood at a fair price. It’s popular among the locals, so you may need to indulge in some window shopping while you wait for a table. Do Belgium waffles with caramelized bananas for dessert!
13. Vong, Vietnamese food
As the first Vietnamese kitchen in Tel Aviv, Vong is an authentic addition to the culinary scene. Always with a lively crowd, Vong is full of energy and great food from an extensive menu covering everything from wild and spicy to mild and delicious.
Some of these are typical “hole-in-the-wall” joints; others need finding. When you’re searching for that perfect bite, slow down and look around—you might miss out on something delicious.
Text & photos by Cindy-Lou Dale