While 'being vegan' has become a trendy identifier in the last few years, the local Tel Aviv vegan restaurant scene actually has the chops to back up the goods. Thanks to Israel's climate and varying landscapes, harvesting tasty, healthy fruits and vegetables are a slam dunk (as proven by the colourful arrays at the markets) and diners get to reap the benefits. These vegan and vegetarian hotspots are here to help make our Israel a vegan-friendly Israel. Looking to cook up a storm in your own digs? Take advantage of the local offering and head to one of Israel's markets for a vegan foodie shopping adventure. Whether out and about or cooking from home, don't forget to wash down that tofu with a nice glass of Israeli wine.
The top Tel Aviv vegan-friendly hotspots
From the minute you lay eyes on Anastasia, you will feel at home. Everything is in superabundance at this spacious café: from the light shining through the windows to the health-savvy staff and the extensive menu of vegan, raw and gluten-free options and uber-nutritious dishes. The primary focus at Anastasia is healthful vegan food. Tasty menu options include: the sweet potato quiche with a spelt crust filled with a lush walnut-based cheese, buttery lima beans and Jerusalem artichokes, all served with lightly-toasted bruschetta. Also try their towering salads boasting carefully-selected fresh vegetables and immune-boosting ingredients. There is a plethora of handmade, raw desserts sweetened with natural ingredients to choose from, such as the indulgent bite-size Kit Kat bar, made from raw chocolate, dates and amaranth crispies, decadent yet not cloyingly sweet. Also try any of their refreshing smoothies with tasty and healthy ingredients such as spirulina, goji berries, acai berries, maca, aloe vera water and chia seeds. They also have lots of treats to take home like vegan chocolates, cookies of all kinds, raw crackers and nut cheeses.
Located in the middle of the beautiful Neve Tzedek neighborhood, this organic vegetarian and vegan bistro feels like a secret vegan hideaway. The bright, welcoming restaurant overflows with garden-fresh ingredients which celebrate Israel’s bounty: overflowing salads, homemade cashew cheeses, impressive breakfasts, and a diverse, cultured menu.
This once-carnivorous Georgian restaurant/bar was wildly-popular from the get-go. Best known for late nights-turned-early-mornings with Tel Aviv's party set, the rowdy bar is often a stage for late-night partiers and their liquor-infused dance moves. When owner Nana Schreier decided she was done with meat and ready to turn this well-loved spot to a vegan one, this place continued to thrive. Enjoy new-to-you flavors and fresh-from-the-oven Georgian pastries and breads, as well as chinkalis, Georgian dumplings and stuffed vegetables.
In Mushka, the new vegan restaurant in town, you won't find any meat replacements. Instead, you will find dishes that are all made out of vegetables and good vibes. The new place is run by two of Tel Aviv's culinary and nightlife veterans, Golan Dor and chef Uzi Mordechai. After having their share of different businesses in the city, the two were fed up with the harsh scene and decided to open a simple, healthy place where they can eat nutritious food and go to sleep at a normal hour. Set in a humble location on Eilat St, just before the slope to Jaffa, Mushka is the place to come for some green goodness options like baked kohlrabi with tehina, tofu sticks, baked cabbage with chimichurri sauce and different rice casseroles.
Nestled away on the outskirts of Florence in South Tel Aviv, this little gem is a fan favorite among the locals. Make sure to take off your shoes when you enter and sit on a colorful cushion on the floor, just like in India. Eating here is a special experience you don’t want to miss out on, even if you aren't a vegan or vegetarian. They serve a variety of small dishes (thali) that change from day to day, that you can wash down with a warm cup of chai. You can even take home a pack of their special mix if you like!
From the owner of vegan favorite HaShwarma HaTivonit comes Goodness, a vegan diner specializing in burgers. Omnivores and vegans alike will delight at the flavorful burgers, crafted to mimic the taste and texture of the real thing with a range of toppings and sauces available. For those looking for something different, try the crispy shawarma, fluffy crepe, juicy sloppy Joe, fish and chips, or one of the many delicious desserts. For vegans missing greasy, junk food and gooey, creamy desserts, Goodness is the place to try.
The word “kaymak” is Turkish slang for what the French call the ‘crème de la crème’—and at Café Kaymak, located in the bustling Levinksy Market, you will find only the best vegetarian and vegan cuisine of all varieties, from Mediterranean to Indian. The café's ingredients are sourced fresh directly from the market, so their menu is ever-changing, and they always have creative daily specials. It’s a very popular place for young locals to hang out on Friday afternoons when the market is full of life, and on Saturday nights when the trendy café hosts live music.
Chef Harel Zakaim is all about exploring everything local at his farm-to-table restaurant, which merges seasonal ingredients with authentic Israeli cuisine. You might even forget that this place is vegan, since the menu is wholly focused on the glory of the ingredients rather than simply finding substitutes for meat dishes. Everything is made in-house, even the breads, pastries and desserts. The fries are a sublime treat, baked in the oven until soft, then torn by hand and lightly fried.Try the creamy polenta, the hand-made lasagna or the burnt eggplant dish, served with tahini and homemade challah to soak up all of the savory juices. Even the cocktails are made from scratch: the Zakaim-style Bloody Mary is bursting with the freshness of crushed cherry tomatoes, and the popular Almond Arak cocktail is made from strained almonds and juicy Medjool dates. When you visit, be sure to have a glass of Persian soda, made by Chef Harel’s mom herself. (She brings it in a few times a week). This sweet soda can only be found here! Stop by around lunch time for the business lunch menu, as well as special prices on desserts and alcohol.
The Green Cat (Hatool HaYarok) opened in 2014 and was the first vegan pizza place in Israel. Offering thin-crust pizza with homemade cashew cheese, they bake each pizza to order, ensuring fresh hot pies every time. While the restaurant is meat-free, you'll barely notice with their selection of hearty toppings, such as artichoke, eggplant, and seitan. Even for non-vegans, this special pizzeria is known for serving up some of the best pizza you can get in Tel Aviv. And for dessert, definitely try their coconut-based malabi for the perfect finish to end your visit to vegan paradise.
Herzog is named after owner and chef Roey Hertzog who is well known in Tel Aviv for being a culinary master. This small restaurant on Ibn Gvirol offers a special dish called “har,” or mountain—it’s a huge pile of wholesome deliciousness, with alternating ingredients every day. If you are looking for creative and interesting food to nourish your body, look no further; Herzog is sure to leave even the most famished diners full and satisfied. Who needs meat when you have Herzog?