The city of Tel Aviv has endless, delicious options when it comes to dining out as a vegan!
My vegan boyfriend who is a total gem and travel buddy-extraordinaire scoped out all of the food spots for our trip to Israel in September 2017. We were completely blown away by all of the amazing vegan options. I have traveled a lot and dined at restaurants all over the world, and hands-down Israel had some of the best food that I have ever tasted to date!
Israel is vegan heaven. According to Happy Cow, the country has the highest percentage of vegans globally, with an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the entire population being vegan, the majority of whom inhabit Tel Aviv. The Israeli Defense Force even provides vegan meals, and leather-free boots and helmets to vegan soldiers. Tel Aviv even made the list of Happy Cow's 10 Top Vegan Cities in the World.
In our experience the majority of the locals that we met spoke at least some English, and many of the restaurants we visited had English versions of their menus - you just have to ask!
Here are the food spots that we highly recommend you try if you're in Tel Aviv:
Ali Karavan/Abu Hassan – 14 Shivtei Yisrael Street, Jaffa
We arrived in Tel Aviv bright and early, and hungry from the long trip, so we dropped our bags off at our Airbnb and headed out for hummus. A bowl of hummus is typically eaten for breakfast in Israel, but let's be real I could eat hummus any time of the day. Ali Karavan is located in Jaffa, which is an ancient port city located in the southern and oldest part of Tel Aviv. The restaurant was about a 23 minute walk from our Airbnb which was located in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
Ali Karavan is one of the highest rated humus spots in Tel Aviv, and for good reason! We ordered The Triple: a portion of creamy hummus, ful (fava beans) and masabacha, which can be described as a deconstructed version of hummus made with whole chickpeas. The dish was spiced with cumin, paprika, olive oil, and served with a generous portion of pita, raw onions (a must try with hummus) and some hot pepper sauce on the side. Ali Karavan is a very casual spot. We sat outside on the covered patio which was filled with locals.
The hummus we had during our travels was always served warm - if you've never had your hummus warm you are missing out. After our trip I became obsessed with warm hummus. When we returned from our travels we soaked chickpeas overnight and made this hummus (which has become my go-to recipe) with freshly cooked, warm chickpeas. I only have one regret from my trip to Israel, and that was I didn't eat enough hummus, so I've basically been making up for lost time/hummus.
Zakiem, Vegan Boutique - Simtat Beit HaSho'eva 20 (at Alenby 98), Tel Aviv
Zakiem was easily one of our favourite restaurants that we dined at in Tel Aviv. The menu features Persian and Middle Eastern dishes made with fresh ingredients from local farmers that are delivered each morning to the restaurant. The menu offerings change frequently based on what is in season. We ordered the hand-torn fries with homemade mayonnaise. While this might seem like a basic option, the fries and mayo were outstanding and probably some of the that I've ever had. We also had the Greek Fattoush Salad which was served with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, kalamata olives, croutons in garlic confit, "ricotta" cheese, chili and za'atar olive oil. For our main we ordered the Shashuka, an Israeli dish traditionally made with eggs. Zakiem's version was filled with delicious sour dough bread and served with tomato, garlic, chili sauce and tahini. We ended the meal with Malabi (Israeli milk pudding) topped with pomegranate syrup for dessert.
Not only is the food at Zakiem excellent, but there is also a strong sense of eco-consciousness which really resonated with us. The restaurant was built and designed to be an eco-friendly space, using secondhand materials, dishes and furniture. This eclectic, shabi chic and fine dining restaurant has won various awards and is definitely worth a visit!
Anastasia - 54 Frishman, Tel Aviv
Anastasia is another favourite restaurant from our Tel Aviv food adventures. It is Tel Aviv's first vegan cafe and is best known for their amazing breakfast menu. The cafe is located in the city center and offers healthy options, with raw and gluten-free menu items. All of the food is Instagram-able and equally as delicious. We arrived mid-day and the cafe was packed! We did not have to wait too long to be seated on the patio which wraps around the perimeter of the building and is shaded with huge umbrellas.
We ordered the Open Table Breakfast which is served with an incredible selection of House Spreads (sunflower aioli cream, pesto, cottage “cheese,” turmeric tahini, sun-dried tomatoes and hazelnut butter), Green Salad with vegetables, topped with pumpkin seeds and an olive oil and lemon dressing, as well as a chickpea and corn omelette made with almond milk, herbs and onion, served with house-made bread. The breakfast is also served with your choice of a hot /cold beverage - we got the fresh mint hot tea which is an Israeli classic. This menu item was quite generous and one portion is a good size for sharing if you're ordering other food as well.
We also ordered the Sabaich which is an Israeli sandwich that typically consists of pita stuffed with fried eggplant and hard boiled eggs. Anastasia’s vegan version was filled with polenta balls, potato, eggplant, pickles, tomatoes, onions, parsley, rocket, tahini, and Moroccan matboucha salad (cooked tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, garlic and chili pepper), with chili peppers on the side. I'd highly reccomend this trendy restaurant for brunch before heading down to the beach, which is only a couple of blocks away!
Nanuchka - 30 Lilienblum St, Tel Aviv
Nanchuka is the only fully vegan Georgian cuisine restaurant in the world. Until recently, this restaurant-bar was a conventional Georgian pub that served traditional Georgian food, which is typically rich with meat dishes. In 2014, Nana Shrier, the owner, became a strict vegan and converted the restaurant to vegan, despite being advised against it by friends and business colleagues. According to a BBC article, after Nanchuka made the shift to vegan, Israelis have been flocking to it and business is more successful than ever!
We ordered the Pchalli - seven Georgian salads including Badridghani, spicy eggplant, Charhaly, Mangold, Tetry, Lobio and Dolma. We also ordered the Truffles Hinkali (handmade pastries), six dumplings filled with different types of mushrooms and truffle purée, topped with truffle oil alongside soy yogurt. It was phenomenal! The food was excellent, and totally photo-worthy! The restaurant itself is boho-chic, with eclectic decor and is definitely a nice date-night spot. We sat on the patio, with dim lighting and beautiful vines and flowers growing along the back. Inside the restaurant, there's a lively bar that stays open late.
The Vegan Shwarma (HaShwarma HaTivonit) - King George 81, Tel Aviv
I was very excited to visit The Vegan Shwarma because it's been a very long time since I've had shawarma, and it was a favourite when I was growing up! This spot offers inexpensive, but fresh fast food including shawarma, burgers, onion rings, and fries too. The Vegan Shwarma did not disappoint, in fact we liked it so much that we visited twice! On our first visit we ordered the seitan-based shawarma in a pita and for our second visit we ordered the shawarma but without the bread, in a bowl which comes with a side salad. You'll find a bar to the left of the cash where you can add extra sauces, pickles, onions and carrots to your dish. The service was fast and the staff were really friendly.
The Green Cat (Hatool HaYarok) - 7 Levontin, Tel Aviv
The Green Cat is Israel's first 100% vegan pizza spot. We heard really good things about this quick-serve restaurant, so I was very excited to check it out! We shared a personal pizza which comes with their house-made mozzarella cheese and the choice of two toppings. We ordered half pineapple and handmade pepperoni, and the other half with crumbled seitan and mushrooms. The service was quick and the pizza was excellent. I appreciated that their pizzas are made with fresh ingredients and house-made dough. The crust was on the thinner side which I really enjoyed, as it wasn't to heavy.
The personal size pizzas are great to share as a snack, or individually as a meal. They also have slices that are available, and if you're really hungry there are larger size pizzas that can be made to order (the couple beside us was eating a large pizza and it was really big). This is definitely a lively, casual dining spot. The artwork and decor is really trendy and I would reccomend grabbing a slice if you're in the area!
Carmel Market (Shuk Ha'Carmel) - HaCarmel St, Tel Aviv
I highly reccomend visiting the Carmel Marketplace. This is where we picked up fresh local fruit, bulk nuts and seeds, halva, and we also found an organic health shop called Nizat Ha’duvdevan (Hebrew for “The Cherry Bud”) in the market that had a large bulk section, organic produce, natural beauty and body products, and a lot of vegan prepared foods like cheeses, and mock meats made from seitan and soy.
Hummus HaCarmel - HaCarmel St 11, Tel Aviv
When you visit the Carmel Market, definitely stop at Hummus HaCarmel for some of the best hummus, which is also said to be the cheapest in Tel Aviv. This quick serve restaurant is hidden behind crowds of stalls, but if you map it on your phone you should have no problem locating it. The hummus is a generous serving and comes with handmade pita. It is served warm with your choice of toppings - our order was topped with ful (fava beans), onions, tahini, chickpeas, finely sliced pickles, hot sauce, olive oil and spices. They do serve boiled egg on their hummus, so be sure to ask them to hold the egg.
Falafel Banin Johnny - 2 Tchernikhovski, Tel Aviv
This simple falafel spot is highly rated and known for their falafel sandwiches stuffed with coated fried potatoes. It is within close walking distance from the Carmel Market and a great place to stop after you've done your shopping. At the counter I asked for a recommendation, and the answer I received was "falafel, falafel, falafel," and so I ordered a falafel. The service was quick and our sandwich was made to order. This might have been the best falafel I've ever had! The pita was generously stuffed with fresh ingredients and it was quite inexpensive.
Meshek Barzilay - 6 Ahad Haam St, Neve Tsedek, Tel Aviv
Meshek Barzilay prides itself on using organic ingredients, with an emphasis on seasonal food. The restaurant itself has a large patio, a bar area and lots of indoor seating, and is located in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, which was where our Airbnb was also located. The menu is fully vegan except at breakfast. We visited the restaurant for dinner and ordered the Cauliflower Clouds (with chickpeas, raisins, peanuts, fresh chili and green leaves on carrot cream) and the Eggplant Fanjabi (small and lentil pitas loaded with eggplant salad, pickled lemon and hot tomato coriander salad).
The food at Meshek Barzilay was good, however, the dessert was the best part - seriously, my boyfriend can't stop raving about it! We ordered the Halva Ice Cream with espresso, and this was one of the best desserts that we had the whole trip.
Anita Gelato - multiple locations
Anita Gelato's boutique ice creams are 100% hand-made from natural ingredients, and they have a huge selection of vegan options. There are multiple locations in Tel Aviv, as well as shops in Sydney, Australia (click here for locations).
We had visited Anita the night before our dinner at Meshek Barzialy and had contemplated between going to Anita for ice cream or ordering off the dessert menu at the restaurant. We ended up staying at the restaurant and ordered the Halva Ice Cream with espresso which was incredible. When we asked asked the server at the end of the meal if the ice cream was made in house, it turned out to be from Anita!
All of the vegan flavours of ice cream that we tried at Anita were fantastic. We passed by the shop that was closest to our Airbnb many times and it was always busy. It is more of an upscale ice cream shop and we were very impressed. Anita's offerings include yogurt, sorbets, and organic sugar-free, fat-free, soy-based and real cream-based ice creams, as well as hand made waffles, and beverages. During one visit I had a coffee on ice with dairy-free milk and it was delicious.
Neroli Organic Juice Bar, Raw Food Diner and Grocery Shop - 3, Lilienblum (at Neve-Tsedek area), Tel Aviv
We visited Neroli to stock up on fresh organic produce and snacks when we first arrived in Tel Aviv. This beautiful health food grocery shop has an Organic Juice Bar and Raw Food Diner at the back of the store. In addition to daily fresh organic produce, the store also has natural cosmetics, supplements, as well as pantry staples. Neroli is good place to get a quick bite and organic groceries. We ordered the Mega Green Juice at the juice bar, which was made to order. We also admired all of the menu offerings including smoothies, raw desserts and sushi. This shop offers a huge selection of organic produce and grocery items, and the store itself is beautifully designed using recycled wood and only biodegradable, water based coating materials, as well as second-hand appliances.
I'd love to see if you visit any of the food spots that I've recommended, so be sure to tag @lovewildlivefree on social media!
Visit the main page of my Travel Guide for additional vegan food recommendations all around the world! I will be traveling a lot over the next few months and I will be adding more destinations soon including, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Thailand and Vietnam. The next edition to my Travel Guide will feature Jerusalem, so be sure to check back shortly!