Tel Aviv

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Dining out in Tel Aviv has the potential to be a delicious adventure and little else – in other words, the variety is not only impressive, but the quality almost uniformly stunning. New Israeli cooking is a contemporary fusion of Mediterranean ingredients and both typically Levantine and more far-flung flavors. And portions are generous, starting with the big Israeli breakfasts.

Top Restaurants in Tel Aviv

Asif

Chef Einav Berman's small open kitchen suggests a homespun approach but belies her culinary creativity. You'll taste it, however, beginning with small plates like tomato tatin with ricotta and onion or mint lentil and goat cheese strudel with tomato vinaigrette. Savory entrées include almond tortellini in truffle butter; fish fillet with black risotto and apricot salad; and calamari, avocado and beet in jalapeno vinegar and asparagus mayonnaise. The cuisine is seasonally-driven and service is both affable and swift.

18 Lilienblum St., 011-972-3-516-5198
Tags: moderate | editor pick | great value | mediterranean

Benedict

Eggs it is! True to the name, a whole array of breakfast options includes five versions of eggs Benedict. The place is open 24/7, so it’s as popular for late-night, post-clubbing bites as it is for fueling up in the morning. Freshly baked bread accompanies all entrées.

29 Rothschild Blvd., 011-972-3-686-8657
Tags: budget | breakfast

Betty Ford

Across the street from the much higher-priced Orca, the kitschy Betty Ford is an all-hours eatery close to the city’s nightlife district. Come for lunch and relax on the outdoor patio while feasting on oversized salads or spicy Moroccan dishes. And (don’t tell Betty) drinks are half-off from 7 to 9pm.

48 Nahalat Binyamin St., 011-972-3-510-0650
Tags: budget | patio | middle eastern | open late | mediterranean

Brasserie M&R

Like Manhattan’s Pastis and numerous Left Bank bistros, M&R brings a dose of Gallic charm to Tel Aviv’s center. Join the city’s in-crowd and go either for a long brunch or late-night supper. It’s open 24 hours. The roast chicken with french fries is a must, but you can’t go wrong with the choucroute garnie or beef bourguignon, either. The menu offers lighter Mediterranean options as well.

70 Ibn Gvirol St., 011-972-3-696-7111
Tags: moderate | local favorite | french

Catit

The moment you arrive at this gourmet restaurant you know you’re in for a singular experience. It’s located on a side street in an Ottoman-era villa replete with original tiles, stenciled walls, different dining areas, and a courtyard that in concert create the feeling of being in a private upscale home. Then there’s chef Meir Adoni’s peerless menu, which leans toward the Levantine with entrées like slow-cooked lamb osso buco on a bed of Jerusalem artichoke cannelloni. Save this restaurant for a special occasion.

Neve Tzedek, 011-972-3-5107001, www.catit.co.il
Tags: romance | expensive | notable chef | mediterranean

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Take a disused shipping hangar the Brits put up in the 1920s, add a 45-seat bar, a menu that highlights fresh fish and seafood, rotating art displays, and a live DJ three nights a week and what do you get? Pretty much the hippest restaurant in Tel Aviv. Go as much for the atmosphere and trendy crowd as for the food.

2 Jaffa Port, 011-972-3-683-6321
Tags: moderate | trendy | mediterranean

Dining Hall

This casual, contemporary restaurant is on the premises of the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, but it’s no commissary. In fact, chef Omer Miller has created one of the most exciting multicultural menus in the city. Choose from numerous starters, all good, such as fried cauliflower with lemon tehina, oregano and purple onion or beef-stuffed beets with yogurt and pomegranate syrup. Move on to Mannie’s Sausage with mashed potatoes, fried onion and tomato confit or the Fish Heraime, a Moroccan-inspired dish of red mullet filets in a spicy tomato broth served in an iron frying pan.

23 Shaul Hamelech Blvd., 011-972-3-696-6188
Tags: moderate | notable chef | great value | mediterranean

Herbert Samuel

Ask Tel Avivans to name their favorite restaurant and this one comes up repeatedly – and with good reason. First there’s the setting, right on the seaside promenade. Yet foremost is Jonathan Roshfeld’s impeccable Mediterranean cooking, which can be as simple as a tomato salad with Turkish cheese and fresh oregano or as complex as a filet of drum fish with green onion mutiaf and charred eggplant cream. The décor is notable for the use of slatted wooden screens that surround the large central bar, also made of wood. Reservations are a must.

6 Koifman St., 011-972-3-516-6516, www.herbertsamuel.co.il
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | waterfront | local favorite | mediterranean | jim's pick

Manta Ray

One of Tel Aviv’s rare restaurants located directly on the beach, Manta Ray’s modern Mediterranean menu is centered around fresh fish and a dozen inventive mezzes (mazzetim in Hebrew) –including shrimp and mango salad and smoked eggplant puree – which are presented on big platters and accompanied by homemade flatbread.  The setting is an open-air pavilion just steps from the sea. A great Israeli breakfast is served from 9am until noon; at other times of day, reservations are essential.

, 011-972-3-517-4774, www.mantaray.co.il
Tags: moderate | trendy | waterfront | small plates | mediterranean

Martha

Located in the whitewashed ZOA House, a local performing arts space owned by Israeli-born fashion designer Elie Tahari, Martha is one of Tel Aviv’s newest gems, with a tasty Euro-Med menu (try the red tuna sashimi with quinoa and roasted red peppers), sexy staff, and cozy, contemporary design.

26 Ibn Gvirol St., 011-972-3-696-6843
Tags: moderate | design | trendy | middle eastern | notable wine list | mediterranean

Messa

Located on buzzing Ha’Arba’ah Street, Messa cost a cool million dollars to build, and with its sleek, all-white interiors and luxurious furnishings, it looks the part. Chef Aviv Moshe imbues his neo-Levantine dishes with enough panache to keep ‘em coming back for more: Try the caramelized salmon served with coconut risotto and eggplant cream.

19 HaArba’ah St., 011-972-3-685-6859, www.messa.co.il
Tags: expensive | design | trendy | middle eastern | mediterranean

Montefiore

The tiny Hotel Montefiore’s eponymous restaurant is one of Tel Aviv’s top tables. You’ll find a French Colonial ambience (pastel wood paneling and palm trees) and a Vietnamese-influenced fusion menu to match. Start with a refreshing and expertly crafted cocktail before moving on to the likes of mussels with lime and lemongrass, sea bream with lemongrass cream, or “Crispy Chicken Vietnam”. Reservations are essential.

36 Montefiore St., 011-972-3-564-6100, www.montefiore.co.il
Tags: expensive | trendy | asian fusion

Orca

In this renovated Bauhaus gem that opened in 2003, chef Eran Shroitman continues to prove Orca's culinary bona fides. The cuisine is a fusion of French and Italian with a contemporary twist. With his own wine brand and rotating seasonal specials, Shroitman's kitchen remains one of Tel Aviv's best. Reservations are a must.

57 Nahalat Binyamin St., 011-972-3-566-5505
Tags: expensive | notable chef | local favorite | italian | french | jim's pick

Shila

Tel Avivans sing the praises of this well-established and trendy restaurant, which offers excellent seafood and tapas dishes and a breezy bar scene, too.  Chef Sharon Cohen is one of Tel Aviv’s rare female chefs.

182 Ben Yehuda St., 011-972-3-522-1224
Tags: moderate | trendy | local favorite | mediterranean

Shine

Before Shine appeared, this quiet residential corner was a social no man's land. Now it buzzes with slickly dressed hipsters who pass the afternoon lounging within Shine’s Bauhaus shell or holding court among its comfy outdoor tables. Best bets: The fresh, filling salads, full-sized Israeli breakfast, and crisp, chilled cocktails.

35 King Solomon (HaMelech Shlomo) St., 011-972-3-527-6186
Tags: budget | trendy | brunch | israeli

Social Club

Both food and atmosphere are more Manhattan than Mediterranean at this recent addition to the Tel Aviv dining scene. Both are also high-caliber, which makes Social Club one of the hottest tables in town. Chef Michael Gartofsky oversees a fairly pared down menu with an emphasis on meat and seafood dishes, like entrecôte steak or skillet-fried shrimps in olive oil and white wine. For drinks, try the caipirinha or anything tropical, or go for an Israeli wine. The service is unhurried and elegant; the location behind Max Brenner makes the terrace an uncommonly calm spot to dine.

45 Rothschild Blvd., 011-972-3-560-1114, www.socialclub.co.il
Tags: moderate | trendy | new american | israeli

Tony Vespa

At this youthful, buzzy pizza place, you’ll find Roman-style rectangular shaped slices with any number of toppings, sold by weight. The result is fresh and delicious and the place is open until the wee hours of the night.

140 Rothschild Blvd., 011-972-3-546-0000
Tags: budget | open late | pizza

Toto

Almost achingly chic, this is arguably Tel Aviv’s top spot for spot-on Italian. Chef Yaron Shalev’s menu melds Italian cooking with other Mediterranean influences to a refined, delicious effect. The place is expensive, but you can opt for a less pricey meal in the form of a pizza or salad at the elegant wooden bar.

4 Bercovitch St., 011-972-3-693-5151
Tags: expensive | italian

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