Hakosem- The Best Falafel in Tel Aviv But Don’t Skip their Hummus

Four of Israel’s best known streets foods are hummus, shawarma, falafel and sabich (fried eggplant). Scattered throughout Tel Aviv are many places that offer you each of these. Hakosem offers some of best Israeli street food you can find in the center of Tel Aviv

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Hakosem is located on Shlomo Hamelech Street, only a half block away from Dizengoff Center. People recommend their famous falafel, but actually they offer many other tasty dishes as well. Besides always having a long line, there are always plenty of places sit down to enjoy their excellent dishes. Whether you are eating  a dish served in a pita or sitting down for relaxing meal, the large helpful staff provides excellent service that  will remind you that this is not just another of the falafel stand, but a significant stopping point for the hungry.

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One of their best dishes that they  offer is their homemade hummus, costing 29NIS. While people in the past have written about their “Best in Tel Aviv Falafel Balls” I recommend paying more attention to their homemade hummus. For those looking for a fresh plate of delicious of hummus, you came to the right place. The hummus is made fresh throughout the day, so it is always hot and fresh. Each plate of hummus is served with a fresh pita (whole wheat option as well), onions and pickles, spicy hot pepper, garlic, and enough lemon sauce to complete the perfect plate of hummus.

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Their newest dish that has been the talk of the local food aficionados is their creation that they call Haborik. Hakosem offers two versions of the dish, sabich (20 NIS) and meat (25 NIS). While their sabich version is a re-engineering of the dish we have all come to love, their meat version is excellent with amazing texture and flavor. The thin dough is served with an egg, potato and parsley, and fresh ground beef with a perfect amount of garlic.

For those looking for different kinds of dishes, I recommend ordering their famous falafel or their lesser known dish called “haraime”. This chicken dish combines a spicy tomato sauce with chunks of grilled chicken just enough to question how have I not seen this anywhere else?

KOSHER

Price: 15-40NIS

Address: Shlomo Hamelch 1

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 9:30AM-11PM, Friday 9:30AM-4:30PM

Falafel Dror- the Tastiest Falafel for only 7NIS

Walking the lively streets of Tel Aviv, I always look for the best deals available for the Israeli homegrown street food called “falafel”. Different locations around Tel Aviv offer falafel at low prices. Falafel Dror offers their famous and delicious falafel for only 7NIS.

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Falafel Dror opened their Tel Aviv branch in late 2013 on Nachalat Binyamin street right near Rothschild Street. They originally offered their falafel for 5 NIS, however, in the past year, the price climbed to 7 NIS which has not hurt their business. There are a few places around Tel Aviv that offer for less but they don’t offer the crispy and delicious falafel we have grown accustomed to. This falafel stand is very clean and you rarely have to wait in line, even at the peak lunch hours. In summary, you can feed a group of friends for only 30NIS.

Their falafel is simple: fresh pita with six falafel balls with diced salads, pickles and bottles of amba, hot sauce and tehina to top off on your fresh falafel. No matter when and what time you order, the pita will have at least six falafel balls. These large falafel balls provide the perfect crispy and not too burnt taste that all falafel eaters hope for. For those trying to stay away from bread, they also offer five falafel balls for 4 NIS. Customers should not underestimate the taste and quality, even with the low price. Looking to water down your delicious falafel? They offer soft drinks for 5 NIS or a glass of juice for 3NIS.

KOSHER

Address:Nachalat Binyamin 48

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10AM-7PM

Mifgash Osher- Happiness in a Pita

In Israel, when people think of street food, the first things that come in mind are falafel, shawarma and hummus. One of the more affordable and tastier dishes you are forgetting about is sabich. Throughout Tel Aviv there are many places that offer sabich.  Sabich is fried eggplant which is served with different vegetables with tehina as a dressing while served in a pita bread. One of the more underrated and better sabich dishes in Tel Aviv can be found at Mifgash Osher.

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Mifgash Osher is located on King George Street not far from Dizengoff Center. They opened their doors in 1991 and, like their menu when they opened, has not changed since. Their menu is very simple; you can choose from three dishes – falafel, sabich and salad. Their sabich (6-18 NIS), falafel (5-16 NIS) or “friends” dish (6-18 NIS) includes salad, chickpeas, eggplant, pickles and white cheese. Each dish can be ordered in a quarter pita, half pita or full pita bread. I recommend ordering a sabilafel, which is a mix of falafel and sabich. It is literally happiness in a pita. What makes this place different from the other falafel and sabich stands? It’s their unique technique in the making of their falafel. They gather all the ingredients (falafel balls, salad, tahina and amba) and pour it in a small bowl, mix it together, and then pour it in a fresh pita bread. The staff is very friendly and each customer gets extra attention and love, as if it was their mother making each dish for them. The architecture of the restaurant is very simple but if you take a close look at the walls, it is a manifest of happiness and full of passport photos of satisfied customers.

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They also offer their own style of salads which range from 29-35 NIS. Their most interesting salad is their sabich salad, a great option for those looking for this delicious dish without eating bread. Their famous salad, which costs 29NIS, consists of bulgur, tehina, falafel, white cheese, eggplant, egg and coriander, and is topped off with pineapple and mint juice. The ending result will bring you happiness; which is the translation of the name of their business in English, “Meeting of Happiness”.

Order: Sabilafel, It’s a mix of sabich and falafel all in a pita.

NOT KOSHER

Address: King George Street 105

Hours: Saturday-Thursday 10:30AM-8PM, Friday 10:30AM-3:30PM

Etnachta- An Affordable and Delicious Breakfast for two in Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv brunch scene has taken the city by storm. Whether you are looking for a casual mid week meal or looking to take advantage of a relaxing weekend brunch, there are many options in the city. Unlike the majority of the brunch options in Tel Aviv which tend to be a bit overpriced for breakfast food, Etnachta offers the best deal for a breakfast for two.

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Etnachta is located on the always trendy Dizengoff Street between Ben Guiron and Arlozorov Street. They opened their doors in the late 2007 and have been a great option since their opening. What makes them different then all the other cafes in the area is that they offer amazing deals when you download their application to your smart phone. Their current deal is breakfast for two for only 69 NIS. Similar to most cafés, they offer the usual eggs of choice, coffee, different spreads, bread and cheeses. What I really enjoyed was the fresh and large salad of choice that you get with your breakfast special. By far their breakfast was the best deal I have seen in Tel Aviv for those looking for a fresh and healthy breakfast to start their day.

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Similar to majority of the cafes in Tel Aviv, they offer a variety of food options throughout the day. Their menu is highlighted with fresh salads, sandwiches, Italian food, hamburger and schnitzel. If you are lucky to be free in the early afternoon, they offer a great lunch special which entails a main entrée, cold drink, choice of salad for only the price of a main entrée. For those looking for a healthier choice, their quinoa salad (45 NIS) is one of the best in the city and I recommend putting tehina as a sauce for the salad. Their roast beef sandwich, available as part of their lunch special, is the perfect mix of being not too heavy and totally delicious. Their other lunch options are not overpriced and are all very,  so it’s hard to go wrong when deciding which to order. That being said, this review is about their breakfast. This is a truly affordable dining option in Tel Aviv. Don’t forget to download their app to receive their deals.

NOT KOSHER

Average price per person: 45NIS

Address: Dizengoff 190

Hours: Sunday-Saturday 7:30AM – Last customer

Hashomer 1

In Tel Aviv, you always somehow find yourself eating different fresh street food at great prices in the Carmel Market. The different food stands offer customers many options – from authentic Israeli food to foods from different cultures. One of the new additions to the market is Hashomer 1.

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Hashomer 1 recently joined a few months ago the bustling dining scene of the market, but sometimes it seems that they have always been there. The friendly staff presents their customers with fresh food that fits well in the market. The architecture of the restaurant offers their customers the opportunity to sit on bar stools while viewing the chefs prepare their dishes. If you came to the market thinking you were not hungry, you will be unable to resist the temptation.

The first thing that caught my eye on the menu was the prices – their main dishes range between 20-30NIS. Outside of the market you will pay at least double. The next thing that caught my attention was the fresh and crispy challah rolls that they serve their sandwiches on. I feel it’s about time that we make the change from the typical pita to a fresh and warm challah roll. The young staff works at a quick pace while preparing dishes and handles each dish as it was their own.

10580251_607277439391951_966736131481326042_n One of the best sandwiches is their Schnitzel moderately priced at 27 NIS. They offer a large fried schnitzel which isn’t too thick prepared fresh, the tender chicken is cooked the right amount of oil and lemon. The sliced sandwich is served on a delicious roll and is paired up with an excellent homemade pickled lemon. This dish is not too heavy and very tasty, making it one of the more popular dishes. One of the more interesting dishes is their Jerusalem mix sandwich which costs 29NIS. I usually won’t recommend Jerusalem mixed grill because I try to refrain eating such a dish, but this Hashomer 1 dish is too tasty not to say no. Their Jerusalem mix sandwich is a perfect mix of mixed grill, tehina and fresh spices. With each bite, it only gets better.

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I recommend ordering their vegetable patties which are very tasty and crispy. If you are looking to drink something with your meal I recommend ordering their pink lemonade which is flavored with rose water.

KOSHER

Average price person: 30 NIS

Address: Hashomer 1

Hours: Sunday-Friday  9AM until the last customer

Arepa’s- Not Your Average Food from the Carmel Market

In Tel Aviv, one of the best food locations is the Carmel Market. You can find varied authentic foods at very affordable prices, such as hummus, meat, fish or even fresh micro Israeli crafts beers. One of the best food stands you can find in the Carmel market is Arepa’s.

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Arepa’s is located in the heart of the Carmel Market closer to the Carmlit street entrance. Unlike other food stands in the market which provide locals and tourists with Israeli authentic food, Arepa’s presents delicious Venezuelan street food cuisine. After a few months being located in the Friday market in Dizengoff Center, they moved to the fun and always exciting Carmel Market.  Arepa’s started and is managed by two young immigrants from Venezuela. Their stand, no matter what day or what hour of the day, is typically busy with customers.  Their staff prepares the authentic food on location, always fresh. Since their food is corn based, all their items are food gluten-free. The food stand has an amazing atmosphere which makes them a perfect fit for the Carmel Market.1962674_864990086878257_1167472520767932124_n

Like their sign proudly announces, their best dish is their Arepas. Their best is the beef and cheese which costs 25 NIS.  Arepa’s is the pita of Venezuela, a huge pouch of thick corn dough prepared on site. After cooking the meat over the stove for hours they add a small amount of fresh guacamole and lots of cheese which melts to perfection during the preparation of this dish. Arepa’s provides a very interesting texture that is soft and tender in the inside while the outside is slightly crunchy. The addition of pickled jalapenos makes the Arepas very addictive and will bring you back for more.

Apart from their Arepas they offer a delicious chicken or vegetarian casserole. They also offer their home made fried Empanada which is made out of corn or cornmeal. I also recommend ordering their corn pancake which is thick with plenty of melted cheese to please any customer. All their different tasty dishes will make you happy that you made the trip to the busy Carmel Market.

Price:25NIS

Adress : 11 Hacarmel street

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 9:30AM-6PM and Friday 9:30Am-4PM

Top 5 Burgers in Tel Aviv

In the past few years, Tel Aviv has become a mecca for lovers of fine food. People used to argue about who has the best hummus, but now, all the rage is who has the best burgers in town.  My list of the best burgers in town are listed below. The majority of the places are not cheap, but they are worth the extra cost. Each has made the list for a  specific reason.

The Best – Vitrina

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Not just a sausage place, now one of the best burgers in town.

Vitrina, which opened two years ago, has done the sausage a great service by restoring it’s lost honor and elevating it to gourmet status. Not many loyal customers are aware that Vitrina was originally meant to be a hamburger place. After months of urging by the owners father, who noticed that there were way too many hamburger places in Tel Aviv, owner Nati Menashe  finally listened to his father and devoted the restaurant and bar to sausages. Menashe has always honored his original vision of Vitrina by serving hamburgers as well, even when they weren’t on the menu. After noticing the success of his hamburger, Menashe made the hamburger a mainstay of the menu.

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With the hamburger now having a spot on the menu, it is identified only by the name “Butler”. When you take a look at the Butler, it might not look like anything special; however, looks can be deceiving.  Delivered on a first-rate bun, it embraces a thick patty (220 grams) made of smoked neck meat and a bit of roast beef and black pepper. Arugula is used in the place of romaine lettuce, the pickles are homemade and the onions are cooked perfectly. People may come for the sausages, but they stay for the hamburger.

During the peak hours of lunch and dinner, Vitrina tends to have a short line, but it is worth the wait. The staff is very hip and friendly and their service is top notch. The waiting time at most will be 10 minutes but, trust me, it is worth every second for this delicious burger.

What to order with your burger:   The fries are some of the best fries I have tasted. Called “50/50”, they are made with two different kinds of potatoes: half white and half sweet. Their amazing taste can be credited to the lemon zest and parsley toppings.

Average price per person: 40 NIS-60 NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: 54 Ibn Gabirol Street

Hours: Sunday- Thursday 12:30PM-12AM

The New Comer- Gourmet 26 Burger

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Gourmet 26 Burger is located in the upcoming trendy street of Mikveh Israel which is just west of Rothschild Street. Gourmet 26  Burger opened their doors almost over a year ago and recently has joined the best burger in Tel Aviv competition. The restaurant was opened by two new French immigrants from the south of France and they bring the famous French “blend” to the hamburgers here in Tel Aviv. The restaurants has a few chairs and tables outside, but inside, if you sit by the bar, there is a great view of the kitchen where you can see the cooks make their masterpieces up close. While indulging in your juicy hamburger, you will be listening to new music from artists which gives this place the perfect ambiance.

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Unlike other Tel Aviv hamburger locations, Gourmet 26 doesn’t offer too many different types of hamburger for you to choose from. They offer three regular weekly burgers and one vegetarian burger. Forget all the other French style culinary burger options that came with the recent wave of French immigrants that caused the Tel Aviv beach area to be flooded with overpriced kosher food options. This is not the story here; each burger here is more sinful than the next. The meat is prepared on location, the fresh and tasty cheeses are imported from France, and all the sweet brioche buns are baked in a local pastry shop each morning. Their “Classic” burger is the standard option which is a classic beef burger with melted emmental cheese, bacon and fried onions. Alongside the “Classic” (NIS 55) you have the side dish option of fries or a small salad. In addition, one has the option of deciding between different sauces, including  blue cheese or Swiss raclette cheese. Even the vegetarian option, mozzarella cheese steak grilled with sundried tomatoes and pesto can also tickle the taste buds of a devoted carnivore. It hard to recommend any specific burger here but trust me any choice you make you won’t regret.

Average price per person: 50-70NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: Mikveh Israel St 26

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30AM-12AM, Friday 11:30AM- 6PM and Saturday 11:30AM-12AM

The Best Deal- The Diner

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The Diner, by Goocha, is located in the southern section of the food friendly street of Ibn Gabirol. The Diner is an American retro style diner that serves hamburgers, steaks, fish, sea food, desserts and alcohol. The prices on the menu are not the cheapest, but if you come between 16:00-19:00, prices are 33% off. By far, they offer the best burger deal in the city. From Sunday to Thursday, they offer all day 1+1 for their delicious and juicy hamburgers. Unlike other places around Tel Aviv that offer 1+1 deals, The Diner hamburgers are still some of the best burgers you will find in town. The restaurant has the feel of an American diner with a very helpful staff and full bar of tasty cocktails and many draft beers.

The Diner offers ten different kinds of hamburgers to choose from. Like most gourmet hamburger locations around the city,  their hamburgers are not kosher friendly. Each burger is made with fresh beef prepared on location and served with a fresh bun and different vegetables of choice. The only question you need to ask yourself which two delicious burgers I want to order. Some of the best burgers are the “Lots of Onions Burger”  which is a delicious burger served with fried onions and chili, and the “Brisket Burger” which is smoked brisket with a fried egg. Honestly you can’t go wrong with any of the burgers available at the Diner..

Average price per person: 60-100 NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: Ibn Gabirol 14

Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 12:00 PM-12:30AM, Thursday 12:00 PM-2:00AM, Friday 11AM-2AM and Saturday 11AM-12:30AM

Best Dirty Burger- Ad Haetzem Express

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Ad HeZtem Express opened their doors in 2013, and since their opening of their two branches ( Ibn Gabirol and King George) they have been a local and tourist favorite for those seeking a delicious burger. What brings people back is both the juiciness of their burgers and the atmosphere. The atmosphere is like no other, you know immediately that you came to the right place if you love burgers. The staff tends to be young and sometimes not the most helpful, but they are overall friendly and if they make mistakes you usually get rewarded with free fries.

Unlike the trendy “gourmet burgers” that have taken over Tel Aviv in recent years, they offer more of a fast food style burger at an affordable price.  They offer three sizes of burgers, each patty is 120 grams but you have the option to order from one to three patties. If you are looking for a great deal, the 120 gram burger is only 25NIS. Each juicy burger is presented on a soft bun, lettuce, tomatoes and different sauces. You can order additional toppings for a small fee.

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Ad HeZtem Express offers different meal specials as well. Each of these meals come with a side of crispy french fries, fried to perfection, and unlimited soft drinks (this is the only restaurant I found in Tel Aviv that has fountain soda). They offer the 120 gram lunch meal at the cost of 42NIS. The 240 gram burger lunch meal costs 49NIS. Last, but not least, the biggest lunch meal, the 360 gram burger, costs 57 NIS. I recommend if you are hungry to get a meal, it will satisfy.

Price: 25NIS-57NIS

NOT KOSHER

Address: Ibn Gabirol 21 and King George 77

Hours: Sunday-Saturday 12PM-4AM

Best Kosher Burger- Magic Burger

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Magic Burger is located in the heart of the city right across the street from Rabin Square on Ibn Gabirol Street. Unlike the previous entries on the list, Magic Burger is kosher. The trend in Tel Aviv is that a lot of restaurants are going kosher, but it is happening slowly.  Even with this recent trend, kosher eaters in Tel Aviv have available tasty and quality burgers. The design of  the restaurant is very straight forward – it looks like a typical burger restaurant in the U.S. Their menu includes the typical options such as hamburgers, lamb burgers and chicken sandwiches.

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Similar to most burger restaurants found in and  around the city, Magic Burger offer theirs burgers in the size of 200 grams (you can stack them together if you are in the mood for a larger burger). Each burger is served on a fresh hamburger bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a side of potato slices. Their burgers are cooked to perfection which will bring you back for more. They offer different deals when you order a meal (which can be a bit spendy), but otherwise their burgers are very affordable. Unlike other Tel Aviv burger location, Magic Burger provides you the simple kosher burger experience you grew up on.

Price per person:30-50NIS

KOSHER

Address: IBN Gabirol 64

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12PM-3AM, Saturday 8:30PM-3AM