7 Tel Aviv restaurants that are so Tel Avivian it hurts

Poor service, impatient customers, and some sort of voodoo magic? I must be at a Tel Aviv restaurant
Hipster cafe
© Shutterstock
By Sarah Mador |

There’s nothing like a Tel Aviv restaurant; only in the White City is the lack of service inversely correlated to the quality of the restaurant. Although it’s important not to be fooled, this is all a part of the magic. First, you’ll ask the hostess how long the wait is, to which she will give you a puzzled look and respond, “I have no way of knowing that.” Once seated you may want to whip out that portable LED light so you can read the menu. But once you’ve illuminated the menu of possibilities you’ll quickly forget the wait and instead a wave of excitement will wash over you. The too-cool-for-school waitress will warn you that the food will come when it comes, but that’s all part of the fun. From there you will be enchanted by the food and vibes of a quintessential Tel Avivian restaurant...or is that just the weed kicking in? It’s hard to tell. Expect a different kind of service, an ambiance like no other, and food that will change your life indefinitely. Think of it as the place you love to hate, yet hate to love.

These Tel Avivian restaurants spark a love-hate relationship

Port Said
© Hagar Shapira
Restaurants, Israeli

Port Said

icon-location-pin White City

Located just across from the largest synagogue in Tel Aviv, you won’t find anyone praying here. With a massive vinyl collection, the hippest waitresses, and a food menu created under the supervision of iconic Israeli chef, Eyal Shani (of Miznon and Beit Romano), you’ll understand why Port Said has been successfully serving the young communities of Tel Aviv for years. Featuring innovative Israeli dishes, there is always a new menu addition to savor. While the wait may be long and the energy intense, no visit to Tel Aviv is complete without an evening at this iconic spot. So grab a Goldstar, some delectable food, and spend your night chilling under the stars with the locals at Port Said.

© Ilya Melnikov
Bars, Dive bars


icon-location-pin Tel Aviv City Center

With simple food options and affordable beers, tourists and locals continuously seek out HaMinzar for a lovely night out. With a young and stylish crowd, the vibe and energy is chill, so come prepared to take your time and bask in this calming setting. With mismatched tables and chairs, the unpretentious restaurant setting makes it clear that the owner’s focus is geared towards food and drink. Best of all, HaMinzar is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

© Ziv Mamon
Restaurants, Mediterranean


icon-location-pin Sarona

This intimate spot on Ibn Gvirol is the epitome of local cuisine. Showcasing olive oil, fresh fish, meat and a fabulous selection of wine, the only rule here is that it must be from Israel. Each dish is executed with sophisticated simplicity where vegetables take center stage alongside fresh cheeses, charcuterie and more.

The Little Prince
© Yuli Gordinski
Restaurants, Cafés

The Little Prince

icon-location-pin Tel Aviv City Center

The Little Prince is the perfect literature haven for bookworms. Great for olim, it offers a wide selection of books in Hebrew, Russian, French, and Spanish, as well as an entire room of English literature. With many eclectic, peculiar books, The Little Prince is great for those looking to stray from the typical bookstore selection. The prices are affordable, which has earned this shop a loyal customer base. Get comfortable with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold beer while you browse, or curl up in its dreamy atmosphere to read your latest selection.

© Ariel Efron
Bars, Café bars


icon-location-pin White City

Chat to any local and they’ll whisper in your ears sweet nothings -- or everythings – about this important nightlife haven. If you’re into trends that haven’t become trends, because they’re so trendy, then Teder is the only place to be. Dive into an alternate world, where the cool reign and the grooves flow. Opt for this great cultural alternative to the mainstream commercial nightlife.

© PR
Nightlife, Nightlife

Beit Romano

icon-location-pin White City

This is the go-to bar for the cool and beautiful hipster crowd of Tel Aviv’s preeminent hipster kingdom. DJs play sets fusing funk and reggae, electro and hip-hop – and never tire until the early hours of the morning. With plenty of beer on tap and a real groovy crowd, this is a must-visit if you have even an ounce of bohemian blood bubbling inside of you.

© PR
Restaurants, Cafés

Cafe Yom Tov

icon-location-pin Shuk  HaCarmel

Cafe Yom Tov is located in the bustling Carmel Market, a neighborhood favorite for organic coffee, fresh sandwiches and boutique pastries. This charming cafe is a great place to start your morning with a cappuccino, or to finish your night off with a beer. Come evening time, it transforms into a laid-back salon, offering a menu featuring fresh ingredients from the shuk, alcohol and live, eclectic music. Cafe Yom Tov is popular with locals, expats and travelers - boasting an international vibe, rife with eclectic people.  

Need to mentally prepare? Check out these 12 things you've definitely experiences at your local Tel Aviv eatery as a reminder

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