Tag Archives: outdoor seating

Mezcal- The Oldest and Best Mexican Food in the White City

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Mexican food is a relatively new phenomenon in Tel Aviv over the past 5 years, yet is a natural development generated by a rising Mexican and American ex-pat community. In this promising realm of cuisine, it is Mezcal, owned by of Ziv and Esther Erlich, which claims the culinary throne. Unlike the standard restaurant that caters clearly to the local restaurant crowd, Mezcal seeks to shed light onto the authentic flavors and manners of cooking that have differentiated the Mexican kitchen from its regional counterparts.

Mezcal is located in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv. For non locals, this is basically Tel Aviv’s hipster neighborhood. It’s full of art studios, tattoo parlors and some very cool restaurants and bars. The inside of Mezcal is awesome in its own right, featuring bright Mexican artwork, colorful high-top tables, a huge bar, and upbeat Latin music.

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The menu recommends ordering two or three dishes each and sharing. We went with 2 orders of enchiladas (verdes and rojas (32-34 NIS), supreme nachos (42 NIS), the chimichanga (32 NIS), the burrito (46 NIS), and the fish tacos (35 NIS). The food came out as it was prepared, so we had the nachos first and then after finishing up our delicious margaritas, the rest of our order came out.

Unlike most Mexican restaurants around Tel Aviv, Mezcal cooks their own toasted tortilla chips which provide an authentic taste. Despite the size of nachos which tend to be smaller than most nachos you find in Tel Aviv, they are much richer in flavor. The nachos supreme is made with homemade tortilla chips and black beans, melted cheddar cheese,’ pico-de-gallo, pickled jalapeno, guacamole and sour cream. This dish is a great starter with Mezcal’s famous margaritas.

Margarita

Speaking of margaritas, Mezcal features the most extensive selection of imported Mexican tequila anywhere in Tel Aviv, serving over thirty varieties. They also serve a number of imported Mexican beers including San Miguel, Modelo, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, and Corona. Between 5-8 pm Sunday through Thursday they offer a happy hour deal which includes 1+1 for draught beers and 50% for cocktails when sitting by the bar.

At night time the bar turns into one of the biggest party spots in Florentine; with young people packed onto the sidewalk enjoying delicious tequila with a unique Mexican experience. The average crowd at Mezcal tends to be people in their later twenties or early thirties. Now back to the food…

Mezcal

The enchiladas rojas and verdes were covered in a creamy hot sauce, queso fresca, sour cream, and red onions, and stuffed full of shredded chicken, beef or mushrooms for those looking for a vegetarian option. Overall, as a self labeled enchilada enthusiasts, I’d say these were the best enchiladas in Tel Aviv – the sauce had the right amount of chipotle flavor, and the creaminess was super generous.

The first thing I noticed when the tacos came out was the guacamole. Most Mexican places in Tel Aviv use the prepackaged kind of guac, you know, the kind they have at fast-food places that tastes nothing like fresh avocado. The fish tacos came in pairs, perfect for two diners since you can have one of each. I am not going to beat around the bush here but the tacos are small, so I recommend ordering a few different tacos or order it as a starter. Mezcal offers 4 kinds of tacos: fish, shrimp, slow cooked beef stew and shredded chicken. I recommend ordering a few plates of tacos as they won’t last long on your table.

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For those like me who love burritos, Mezcal might be worth the trek just for their burritos. Unlike the majority of Tel Aviv’s Mexican establishments, they provide a filling burrito that is stuffed with rice, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled jalapenos and your choice of barbecue (slow cooked beef), chicken tinga or sautéed mushrooms.  If you aren’t drooling yet, I saved the best for last. Mezecal’s chimichangas are stuffed tortillas filled with chicken/beef or peppers, mixed with beans, cheese and rice.  They are fried to a crispy golden brown which is topped with fresh sour cream, and mild salsa.

After years of hearing great things about Mezcal from my close friends, I wish I paid visit years ago. While new Mexican places will come and go, sometimes it’s best to return to the original Mexican restaurant in Tel Aviv. In summary, Mezcal offers Mexican food enthusiasts the most unique and authentic Mexican experience in Tel Aviv. Don’t forget to order the margaritas and the fish tacos – you won’t regret it.

NOT KOSHER

Address: 2 Vital Street

Hours:  Sunday-Saturday 12PM-1AM

Falafel Gabay

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When searching for the best authentic Israeli foods, my advise is to go to Falafel Gabay. They have delicious choices, among them amazing soups, falafel, hummus and other amazing dishes. Falafel Gabay has two locations in Tel Aviv, one on the busy street of Borgoshov and the other the trendy area of north Dizengoff.

Falafel Gaby has been the premier spot in Tel Aviv since opening their doors in 1946. Their staff is super friendly, making each customer feel like they are at home. They shout as a group joyfully (in Hebrew or English) “we will hug you” meaning they are here for anything the customer needs. If there is a line, the helpful and friendly staff offer falafel and fried potato balls while waiting to order.
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Their menu offers authentic Israel food at a reasonable price. The most popular dishes are Moroccan soups, fresh schnitzel, fresh hummus and their amazing falafel. After finding a seat, go to the free salad bar and indulge yourself with fried bread with zatar , pickles and pickled vegetables. Within minutes your tasty order will be ready to enjoy..120125809_7657500_0.20123521_0783750_0.

My advice:Order the falafel .The falafel is fresh –  brown on the outside and yellow within.  They are very generous with the pita packed with delicious falafel balls. The cost of the falafel is 16NIS.

What to Order: Try the Dabushiya which is hummus with shashuka. This dish is like no other – the warm and spicy shashuka meshes so well with the hummus

Price: 30-50NIS

Address: 269 Dizengoff Street and Bograshov Street 25,

Hours: Sun-Thu 10:30-22:30, Fri 11:00-17:00

Kosher

Hamitbachon

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Great home cooking with a great atmosphere for a perfect Friday night or Shabbat afternoon meal

In and around Tel Aviv there are few home cooking style options that really live up to their name. Hamitbachon, which in english means the kitchen, is a cozy restaurant that has some of the best home cooking style food in the city. Their offerings include Austrian Schnitzel,  Mousakka, North African couscous, Middle Eastern Mujaddara, European quiches, lasagna and salads.

Hamitbachon is located in a very quiet street between the bustling Carmel market and Allenby street. In the past few years, Hamitbachon has become one of the favorite places for Tel Aviv locals. Almost every dish is made fresh which to many, represents true Israeli soul food. One of their best dishes are ground beef and chicken meat balls over white rice.

During the cool winter months, it’s a great idea to make the trek for their many amazing home made soups. Hamitbachon typically offer three different soups a day which change daily. I recommend that you order the hot spinach and yogurt soup – it is my favorite.
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If your looking for something more on the lighter side, they also have a long list of appetizers. They include beet salad, chopped liver, hummus and many more. If you are a large group I recommend you order the appetizer sampler which includes four different appetizers from the menu on a large plate for only 40 NIS. If you are not so hungry, it’s worth to come to taste one of their homemade desserts or have a glass of beer and enjoy the surroundings.

Recommendation:  Order Couscous – served with a stew of cooked carrots, zucchini, red onions, potatoes and beef.

Shabbat recommendation: order the cholent. Hamitbachon’s cholent is a traditional Shabbat morning cholent which is cooked all night long. Their cholent consists of eggs ,beans, potataoes and beef. Trust me – this plate of cholent will keep you full all week.

mitbahonPrice: 30-40 NIS

Address: 18 Rabi Akiva st.

Hours: Sunday-Friday 8AM-2AM, Saturday 9AM-2AM

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Abu Dahbi Hummus

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In Tel Aviv, hummus has marked its place as the king of fast-food meals rarely relegated to the lowly supporting role as a spread or dip. Locals in Tel Aviv can go on for hours arguing which is the best hummus and why. While Abu Dhabi might not always be a fan favorite it is definitely in the conversation.

Hummus Abu Dhabi offers a different kind of hummus experience.  While they present customers with their very own Galilee style hummus, they also offer Hummus Meshawsha ( hot chickpeas) and Hummus Ful ( hummus with fava beans). Customers have the option to order salad, french fries and one shekel falafel balls as well.

The atmosphere at Abu Dahbi is unlike any other hummus place in Tel Aviv. The vibes are very reggae-influenced, that sets both your mind and stomach in the perfect mood to be in hummus heaven. Reggae music and lifestyle are firmly rooted in current Tel Aviv culture, so the vibes at Abu Dhabi  fits in perfectly well within the collective mindset of the locals.

My advice: order the Meshawsha. You might ask yourself what exactly is Meshawsha? It’s hot chickpeas mixed with garlic, lemon, and tahini. The warm hummus had a sharp taste from the lemon and a nice bite from the chunks of garlic.  There is just enough tahini for the flavor, but not too much to overwhelm the hummus.  The chickpeas are super soft and dissolves into the hummus once it touched your tongue.
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Average Price: 25NIS

Address: King George 81
Hours: Sun- Thurs 10 a.m. till 8 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
(03) 525-9090
Not kosher, vegetarian

Hashdera 34

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Great food with a great atmosphere at a good price…

While walking on Dizengoff street you might wonder where can I go out to eat without spending too much money. Hashdera 34 which is located right off the corner of Dizengoff and Ben Gurion street. Hashdera presents a menu with almost every kind of food you could ask for at great prices. Their menu is set by price range. If its Appetizers which vary from the great price of 15NIS to main dishes that are priced between 30NIS to 70NIS. For those who are looking for a steak Hashdera 34 offers it for only 89 NIS. The portions of all the main dishes tend to be very large.

The atmosphere of Hashedra 34 is great.  I advise  come early or you will be stuck in line. Peak dinner hours you might have to wait in line for 15 minutes at most.The staff are very friendly and very talkative. The Staff will offer you free shots of alcohol various times throughout the meal.  Their bar is fully stocked with any drink you would want and the prices of their alcohol are less than other Tel Aviv restaurants.

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Recommendation: Order the Scallopini. This dish is boneless  grilled chicken  served on mashed potatoes or rice. I advise to order it with mashed potatoes. Personally I would say this is their best dish. If you are less than four people i recommend to sit on the bar, this will come with many free shots from the bartender.

Address: Ben Gurion 34

Hours: 7 days a week 12:00 PM-1:00 Am

Not Kosher

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Beer Drop-CLOSED

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Vibes: Neighbourhood bar

Beer drop is a new low price concept bar on Ibn Gabirol Street. This neighborhood bar presents customers with a price that can’t be beat.   Every item on the menu only costs 10 NIS. If it’s from draft beers to wine to different hard liquor shots. There is a food menu as well, I recommend the popcorn while drinking draft beer. The vibes of Beer drop are very casual without any music playing in the outdoor seating. There are  8 tables in the outdoor seating that can hold four people per table. The inside section of the bar has limited seating. The concept of the bar is that there are no waiters with the customers ordering their own food and drinks at the bar. The two or three bartenders behind the bar are very friendly and work at great pace so there is rarely a line. The regular age of the crowd at the bar are in the early 20’s but with the ten shekel menu appeals to all ages.

Price: 10 NIS for every beverage and food item

Menu:

  • Beer: Goldstar, Goldstar unfiltered , Maccabi, Newcastle, Paulaner, Heineken and Shandy.
  • Wine: Cabernet, Merlot andCava.
  • Chasers: Jameson, Tequila, Arak, Absolute vodka, Gin Beefeaters,Tubi 60
  • Food: Pizza, Pretzels, PopCorn(I recommend  order this while drinking beer), Empanadas, munchies, Edamame.

Tip: Get to the bar early!! The tables fill up by 22:00  every  night.

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Address: Ibn Gabirol 17
Hours: Sunday-Monday 6:00 pm – 2:00 am