Culinary legends: Tel Aviv's 30 most iconic dishes

These dishes will have you coming back again...and again...and again...

© Aram GershuniCauliflower, oil on wood, 2006

Despite Tel Aviv's short culinary history, the White City has already established a local mythology of dishes that you can't help but return to time and again. So what makes a dish iconic? An 'iconic dish' is classified as a dish that has been featured in a Tel Aviv restaurant for several years, a dish that customers return to on multiple occasions, a dish that becomes a role model in the culinary scene. These 30 iconic dishes featured in some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv–from Tel Aviv street food establishments to boutique hotel restaurants and classy eateries–have stood the test of time, the test of passing trends, and held true to their names as local legends.

Thirty, flirty, and thriving

1

Sweet Potato Pancakes - Orna and Ella

The dish that shaped the 90's remains a star, and it only needs one single raw ingredient: the sweet potato. Orna and Ella cooks, crushes, and fries these orange beauties right in the pan. The triple-act performance is served alongside a refreshing sour cream sauce, turning the dish into a cult classic. By the way, the pancakes (or fritters) are not actually all that simple to prepare, so most home cookers add eggs to ensure that the pancakes don't collapse and crumble during the frying process.

Read more
White City
2

Chicken Wings - Dixie Grill Bar

Haim Cohen stole America's idea of ​​taking raw materials, which are considered cheap and laborious, and turning them into a cure for every craving. Dixie's chicken wings pair their perfect crispy skin with a thick, spicy, sticky sauce. The secret is in the marinade, which some claim contains milk, and the absurd amounts of butter they inject into the sauce. After all, if Paula Deen taught us anything, it's that the butter the better.

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Advertising
3

Moroccan Cigars - Raphael (now served at Bino)

With a lot of self-confidence, Chef Raphi Cohen chose to serve a fried dish that was considered a meal for weddings. He gave it his own personal interpretation that relates to its traditional sources, while adding a touch of over-the-top cooking to it. The Moroccan cigar was served from opening day and quickly became the best selling dish on Raphael's menu. Inside the crispy dough lies chicken livers with well-seasoned lamb fat.

Read more
White City
4

Goose Liver With White Chocolate Sauce - Messa

The craziest dish in Tel Aviv quickly became a group consensus. Messa's goose liver is served beneath a generous drizzling of white chocolate. Chef Aviv Moshe is passing on all the big medical and moral no-no's. Even so, this dish has been a crowd favorite for a decade.

Read more
Sarona
Advertising
5

Nams - Hotel Montefiore

Today 'nams' are found everywhere in the city, in Asian restaurants and in local food restaurants. The first to bring nams to the city though was the Montefiore Hotel who realized that a Vietnamese eggroll - with its powerful combination of flavors that balance against the crispiness of fried rice sheets and a lettuce wrap - creates an unforgettable dish.

Read more
White City
6

Goma Sushi Mori - Yakimono

Rice balls wrapped in raw fish and tahini sauce? Japanese or Israeli? Why not both? Yakimono's Goma Sushi Mori is indeed a combination that raises eyebrows at every meal. The inherent logic becomes clear when one understands that sesame holds a constant presence in the kitchens of the Middle East and Japan alike.

Read more
Tel Aviv Beach 
Advertising
7

French Fries - Romano

"The most delicious fries in the world" was the 'modest' definition that chef Eyal Shani gave to his Romano French Fries. After the special species of potatoes are well-cooked, they undergo a process of triple frying. In short, a dish that immediately leaves you with heartburn, but for a good cause.

Read more
White City
8

Gravlax - Chloelys (Hilton Tel Aviv Hotel)

Chef Victor Gloger is known for his magical touch with everything from the sea. When it comes to a simple dish that demands slow processes without being able to hide underneath a mass of sauces, his skills are even better showcased. That's what makes his Gravlax (the basic Nordic salmon dish) so wonderful. The ingredients are simple: fish fillet in salt, sugar, vinegar and mustard - and the result is rich and flavorful.

Check prices Read more
Tel Aviv Beach 
Advertising
9

Challah Filled With Minced Pork - Hahalutzim 3

While pork isn't the first white meat you'd expect to find on an Israeli menu, the challah filled with minced pork leg and bacon is a dish that screams Tel Aviv. This dish connects the butcher shops tailoring to Russian immigrants with the bakeries operated by the city's veterans. In fact, the pork-filled challah acts as a kind of French toast with a smokey touch. Served with baby gem lettuce and a white wine sauce to tie it all together, this little piggy is going all the way home satisfied.

Read more
Shuk Levinsky
10

Stuffed Sardines - Margaret Tayar

For 40 years, Margaret Tayar has been prepping fresh sardines from the fishermen. This Jaffa gem stuffs their sardines with fish roe and serves them up with salsa. You can feel her love and bright smile with every bite.

Read more
Shuk HaPishpeshim
Advertising

11-20

11

Crab Bourekas - HaBasta

The sophisticated market restaurant was one of the first to take the Balkan pastry–which had become a derogatory term for industrialized food–and serve it to diners in an especially upgraded and delightful manner. This is how the first Tel Aviv crab bourekas were created. Crab meat in a square of puffy pastry. Simple. Delightful. Wonderful.

Read more
Nachalat Binyamin
12

Spicy Philippine Noodles - Giraffe

This dish brings the heat with egg noodles, chunks of chicken in red curry sauce, coconut milk, green onions, peanuts and coriander, all mixed together to open up your nostrils and hearts. We can't begin to describe the pleasures of just one bite of this classic dish.

Read more
White City
Advertising
13

Mixxxed Seafood in a Black Cast-Iron Pot - Manta Ray

This XXX dish is so insanely tantalizing, it should be outlawed. The heavy cast-iron pot is filled to the brim with mussels, prawns, shrimp and calamari in tomato and white wine sauce and mixed with roasted vegetables for added color. Technically speaking, this is a dish for two, but with a glass of good wine it can easily double as a therapist session.

Read more
Tel Aviv Beach 
14

Shrimp Burger - Popina

Chef Orel Kimchi created a dish that people come especially to the restaurant to experience, and return to experience once more. Inside bite-sized steamed buns lie miniature shrimp patties, Yuzu aioli, crispy lettuce and pickled red onion. The secret of the preparation is...we can't tell you that. You'll have to taste it to find out.

Read more
White City
Advertising
15

Schnitzel - Café Noir

This is not your average sidewalk schnitzel. A simple dish like schnitzel can sometimes make a wild buzz. This is particularly remarkable when the buzz has been buzzing for decades–the story of the schnitzel at Café Noir. You get a large, thin piece of breaded meat next to light, fluffy mashed potatoes that compliment the protein perfectly. A Montefiore must.

Read more
White City
16

Tagliolini Al Tartufo Parmigiano - Pronto

Chef David Frankel adds a luxurious Tartufo spread imported from Italy, fine Parmigiana Regiano, and quality French butter to his handmade pasta. Is it any wonder as to why this is one of the most frequently ordered dishes at Pronto ever?

Read more
White City
Advertising
17

Whole Cauliflower - Miznon

This is the cauliflower that carried Eyal Shani's name overseas...to Australia at least. Cooked in boiling water, the cauliflower then undergoes a deep olive oil massage bordering on sexual harassment, and finally receives a well-burnt finish. Watch out broccoli, there's a new kid in town.

Read more
White City
18
Agedashi Tofu - Onami

Agedashi Tofu - Onami

This delicacy was served in Onami from the beginning, when Ali Grossman founded the restaurant. For the general public, the dish was defined as a soup, although the Japanese do not see it that way. The tofu dish is soaked in corn flour and fried until crispy on the outside, then soaked in a sauce that is too thick to be defined as soup. Grossman has kept the recipe top secret, and rightly so.

Advertising
19

Ham and Cheese Toast - HaMinzar

Tel Avivians cannot escape the perfect match between alcohol and ham and cheese toast at the Kerem's bumping establishment. Their bread is generously sprinkled with butter, topped with ham and a generous slice of cheese, which is melted in their toasty oven. Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers are severed by its side to create the illusion of health. A dish that has earned its status as the perfect drunk munch to end a sloppy evening with grace (actually, with more sloppiness).

Read more
Tel Aviv City Center
20

Kreplach Soup - Shmulik Cohen

You do not have to wait for winter to be pampered with chicken soup for the soul. This soulful soup is served with three hand-made meat-filled kreplach. Whether you're under the weather and need delivery straight to bed or your hungry for a taste of Safta, Shmulik Cohen is here to care for you.

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Advertising

21-30

21

Shanghainese Dumplings - Taizu

This two-bite dish served on soup spoons is certainly amusing to the bouche. Taizu's Shanghainese Dumplings feature steamed dough filled with veal cheek, in a pomegranate broth and beef soup, topped with pistachio Masala. Handle with care! This tiny dish is so delish, you'll want to spoon it afterwards.

Read more
White City
22

Classic Shakshuka - Dr. Shakshuka

The doctor is in. One of Israel's most recognizable breakfast (lunch and dinner) staples holds a special place in Jaffa diners' hearts. This long-standing Middle Eastern establishment has the recipe down pat: the perfect combination of ripe red tomatoes, fresh chili, garlic, paprika, and eggs...just what the doctor ordered.

Read more
Shuk HaPishpeshim
Advertising
23

Som Tam - Thai House

This Thai Eden is serving up the classic thinly sliced green papaya salad with tomatoes, seasoning, chopped peanuts, and fish sauce. It is the closest thing in Tel Aviv you can get to the real deal, which is a standalone dish in Thailand. Thai House's Som Tam has accompanied the restaurant from opening day and continues to hook customers left and right.

Read more
Tel Aviv City Center
24

Spicy Fish - Cantina

When owner Joe Marciano prepared a simple bass dish with paprika, garlic, and coriander, he did not think it would become an exceptional classic on Cantina's Italian menu.

NOTE: If you're not a spice addict, it is possible to adjust the level of spiciness to match your individual taste.

Read more
White City
Advertising
25

Consommé - Brasserie

Brasserie's elegant version of this French staple is comparable to the Jewish penicillin: rich chicken soup with thin egg noodles and herbs (tarragon, chives, and parsley). One slurp of this consommé and suddenly the clouds will scatter and the world will look oh-so-beautiful.

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
26

Healthy Buddha Salad - Zepra

One of the best reasons to go to Zepra is for the flavorful Healthy Buddha salad tossed with garden fresh vegetables, red cabbage, mint, coriander, chopped peanuts, and an apple vinaigrette. A dish that competes only with its spicy sibling, the Crazy Buddha salad.

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Advertising
27

Chestnut Gnocchi - Toto

Legend has it that Toto has a special pasta maker, 'blessed' with the magic touch, who has been preparing all the fresh pastas from the day the restaurant opened its doors. The secret to Toto's gnocchi may be their baking process–the potatoes are prepared with salt and combined with potato chips and ricotta. The chestnut adds much-desired tasting notes to the dish that sing out in harmony, "O Sole Mio"!

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
28

Chicken Livers on Mashed Potatoes - Coffee Bar

Only Coffee Bar could take a dish that has been on the menu since 1995 and keep it relevant. In their version of the Jewish classic, which today only exists on the de-liver-y and business lunch menu, the tender chicken livers are served on a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes enriched with cream and butter and roasted in balsamic vinegar with an arugula finish.

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Advertising
29

Coal-Roasted Kohlrabi with Hame’iri Cheese - Ha'achim, Dok

Brothers Assaf and Yotam Doktor promised to use only local ingredients in their Dok restaurant. The coal-roasted kohlrabi dish is the most spectacular realization of this promise. The kohlrabi is roasted in a charcoal oven, scorched a little from the outside to get that sweet caramelized finish, then immersed in quality olive oil, and served with Hame'iri cheese, poppy seeds, thyme, and a little hot pepper.

Read more
Sarona
30

Dushpara Soup - Hanan Margilan

When you say "comfort food," what you actually mean to say is "this dish," which consists of a beef stock packed with a thousand flavors. Swimming around inside the broth are dumplings made from a thin dough filled with ground meat that has been fried up with onions–a Bukharian classic executed to perfection.

Read more
Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Advertising
See more restaurants in Tel Aviv

Comments

0 comments