There’s a special bond that comes from sharing an ocean. While their roofs might be bluer than ours and their houses whiter, Greece’s Mediterranean cuisine shares similarities with Middle Eastern fare. Take a Greek salad for instance – it’s practically an Israeli salad with some feta sprinkled on top. And so, from fresh seafood caught in the same sea to amazing filo dough sweets and treats, and ouzo to wash it all down, you’ll forget Arak ever existed.
The best Greek restaurants in Tel Aviv
One of the city's veteran hotels decided to open a new restaurant under the direction of Chef Asaf Mishkovsky. Paraliya, inside the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel, offers a Mediterranean menu that seamlessly fuses Greek with fine dining. Serving up dishes like fried barbounia with parsley salad, scorched eggplant with black tahini, fish shawarma and mini-pitas with pickles, and beef filet skewers with sautéed Swiss chard and polenta, Paraliya promises to bring a little piece of Greece to your Tel Avivian table.
Chef Avivit Priel Avichai (formerly of Tapeo) and her partner Limor Lami opened Ouzeria less than ten years ago to much critical acclaim. Known as a modern "hamara", a meeting place to drink, play and discuss life, Ouzeria is the classic Florentin neighborhood joint. At Ouzeria Avivit and Limor serve original, Mediterranean-style cuisine accompanied by a simple decor and an appealing long bar offering a selection of anis beverages. Take a seat at the assorted tables beside large windows looking out on the colorful Levinsky district, and soak in the uniquely Israeli atmosphere of the neighboring market. The playlist of music travels from east to west, new to old, encompassing world music, Middle-Eastern music and on to innovative contemporary tunes. Avivit and Limor's goal was to create a refuge from the activities of the day, and they have successfully done so.
Opa! Beat the Mediterranean heat with this Greek tavern and its Middle Eastern twist. Where Ouzo oozes as authentically as its Greek identity, relax for a gorgeous night out or get in touch with your inner plate-smasher every Sunday. Chef Tal Holtzer knows how to create an intimate atmosphere and Yassou is no exception. Tucked away next to the Prima Hotel, it’s a haven for Greek cuisine; from Sashimi Tabbouleh to Yassou’s Moussaka, it’s hard to bite into anything without feeling as if you’ve stepped into an alternate world.
Few restaurants get the whole eating and drinking thing down to perfection, but Sparta, the latest restaurant to crop up in Tel Aviv's Old North neighborhood, does both with with ease. The entrance is a circular seating arrangement straddling a bar, also fit for sitting and eating, and the upstairs gives way to an all-out party - roaring with DJs mixing beloved Israeli songs, hip hop, feel-good singalongs and dance hall hits. (The unlimited alcohol at NIS 98 only adds to the raucous). Like a traditional taverna, the food boasts the signature aromatic flavors of the Mediterranean, including generous mezze platters of appetizers like grilled haloumi cheese topped with a cherry tomato confit, arugula and bread crumbs with various sauces. Go for the finger-licking shawarma filled with tender cuts of lamb shank and charred onions or the plump chicken skewers spiced with creamy tahina and tzaziki and sidled by grilled veggies and fire-roasted potatoes. If that weren't enough, fish and seafood lovers will gravitate directly towards the crispy calamari capped with fresh lemon and aioli or the stir-fried rice with a mix of fresh mussels, clams and scallops brewing in a bubbling tomato sauce. Once you've gotten your fill of the menu, continue the festivities upstairs, where shots of ouzo are overflowing, diners are welcome to throw plates in celebration, and the party is just getting started.
In North Tel Aviv’s Azorei Hen, Greco has pulled off the authentic feeling of a Greek tavern right down to the lively, slightly chaotic, Greek vibe. Its traditional comfort food is accompanied by buzzing music that will bring you to your feet. On the menu, moussakas (eggplant pie), grilled souvlaki (kebabs), hand-rolled dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and tzatziki (cucumber-garlic-yogurt dip) steal the show.
After taking a culinary tour of Greece and tasting all the best cuisine, two lifelong friends, Shalom Levy and Lior Dori, came home to Tel Aviv and decided to open a lovely little tavern in the spot they felt was most similar to the market in Athens—the center of the Jaffa flea market. Albi offers truly authentic Greek food, drinks, and music. Here, diners drink ouzo like water—they import three different kinds directly from Greece you can’t find elsewhere in Israel. They offer a variety of succulent Mediterranean fish, gyros, souvlaki, huge Greek salads topped with a mountain of feta cheese, and saganaki cheese-stuffed pastries drizzled with honey, just to name a few.
Take in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean at one of Jaffa’s most beautiful spots as the lively Greek music transports you to the Aegean. The Mediterranean cuisine is livened up with Arab, Greek, Cypriot, Italian and Israeli influences. Inside, the best seats in the house overlook the water; call ahead to book them.