Where to Eat in Tel Aviv
Known for its vibrant nightlife, the Israeli seaside city of contemporary cool has an equally exciting and eclectic mix of fine-dining opportunities.
If you're planning on a trip, here are a few of the top dining destinations to take in during your visit, plus the signature dishes to look out for.
At Opa, two people can share a tasting menu of ten courses. Each dish highlights a single fruit or vegetable prepared using different techniques, showcasing the endless opportunities offered by the plant kingdom.
Shirel Berger, the chef-owner, works with two small organic farms and aims to be as local and sustainable as possible, minimising food waste and using all parts of the plants, like in the restaurant's signature dish, 'melon peel'.
One of the first dishes on Opa's menu was a plum dish, a creation that set the tone for Opa's philosophy - using just one ingredient and producing different flavours to enhance the chosen vegetable or fruit. The dish consists of raw shaved plum, plum and mustard compote, house made umabushi, plum wine almonds and dill.
Photos: courtesy of OPA
Raz Rahav, 28, co-owner and chef of the OCD restaurant, learned the secrets of the culinary trade independently, working in leading restaurants in the country as well as advancing his training in restaurants decorated with Michelin stars abroad.
Rahav leads OCD and has even won several prestigious awards. In 2018 he was chosen Chef of the Year by the French guide Gault et Millau and in the same year OCD also won first place in the same guide. In 2019, the restaurant won again, with the highest number of points in Israel. In 2021, OCD entered the ranking of the best restaurants in Opinionated About Dining for the first time.
Rahav opened OCD in early 2016 with his two partners, Erez Zoares and Idan Blumental. It's an intimate dining space, offering a unique experience for a maximum of 20 diners, seated in front of the kitchen. Book early, there's usually a long waiting list.
Photos: courtesy of OCD TLV
Photo: courtesy of Popina
Orel Kimchi, considered one of the most creative trailblazing chefs in Israel, established Popina restaurant in Neve Tzedek in 2013 and has since been using the restaurant as a platform for his culinary creations.
In the past, Orel was chef at Cavalier restaurant in Jerusalem, worked for Joel Robouchon in Paris, honed his skills at Arzak in San Sebastian, and formed part of the jury panel for the Iberian and Mediterranean countries in S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020.
In addition to his virtuoso compositions in Popina, Orel frequently performs meticulous private events, culinary performances and even advises culinary organizations, such as hotels and private companies.
The main dish at Popina is tuna fish sashimi with citrus vinaigrette.
Photos: courtesy of Popina
Ouzeria is a modern restaurant serving original and joyful food inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. A visit to Ouzeria is a fascinating journey along food and music, the very best ingredients and uncompromising staff led by chef Avivit Priel Avichai.
Avivit has been dreaming about and creating food for over 30 years. She started out at Tadmor, studying to be a pastry chef before continuing her culinary studies with Dan Hotels. She was the executive chef for Taverna on the Beach in Herzelia and Winona wine bar, which she also owned. Avivit uses an extensive array of local and seasonal ingredients, and cooks vibrant, fresh Mediterranean-style food (think fresh sardines stuffed with herbs and wrapped in vine leaves).
Photos: courtesy of Ouzeria
Makoto is a new culinary venture by Aviv Moshe. A bar-restaurant where the chef gives interpretation and a personal stamp to the diverse and rich pan-Asian cuisine. His sources of inspiration feed on a variety of works from Far Eastern cuisine, combining them with flagship dishes that he has concocted and conceived over the years as a chef in esteemed and respected restaurants.
The eclectic restaurant space is designed by Alex Maitlis, a world-renowned architect. In the centre is a large bar serving exciting cocktails alongside rich wine and sake menus.
Photos: courtesy of Makoto
George & John
A stay at the Drisco Hotel in Tel Aviv includes an elite culinary experience in George & John restaurant, run by chef Tomer Tal who has won many local and international awards. The restaurant serves breakfast and brunch daily, and you can make reservations for lunch and dinner.
The photo below shows a dish of thinly-sliced vegetables, red grapefruit vinaigrette, bitter orange, jalapeno and caviar.
Photos: courtesy of George & John
Pop & Pope
The restaurant designed by Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani and led by chef Shahaf Shabtay is located in Israel's most ambitious recreation site and includes a concept restaurant that combines classical European design in the style of Armani, with Asian food and an Italian bakery, a mega bar in rugged New York style, and a modern event space on the 14th floor of HTowers on Ha'arba Street. This is a combination of pop and pope.
The seating style in the restaurant is European with large tables, wide chairs and plenty of space between diners. The menu is divided based on the cutlery and hints to the character and size of the dishes: chopsticks, fork, knife and spoon suggest a variety of dishes with fish, meat in various sauces, pasta, breads, pastries and rich desserts and a combination of European and Asian spices as well as dishes such as dim sum, pastries and a huge paella dish for the table with beef from the grill.
Photos: courtesy of Pop & Pope
Yaffo Tel Aviv
At Yaffo Tel Aviv, chef Haim Cohen takes the guests on a journey that offers an outstanding experience of exquisite dining professional service and a warm atmosphere. A combination of authenticity, nostalgia, fragrant aromas and precision with modern twists, the intersection of two very different worlds that merge to become a single harmonious unit.
The combination of old and new is what set the stage to make Yaffo Tel-Aviv into the place for the finest and most exciting food in all its simplicity. The open kitchen allows guests to feel part of the creative process.
Photos: courtesy of Yaffo Tel Aviv