So you’re coming to Israel! Mazal Tov! We think it’s a wonderful place to visit, but then again, we’re quite biased. This country is full of culture and history, and most importantly delicious food – what more could you want? The only problem is that Israel can be quite expensive, particularly Tel Aviv, so traveling on a budget may not exactly work out here. But no fear, this is why we’re here! We’re going to introduce you to 5 of the cheapest eats in Tel Aviv. But not just cheap, good cheap. So here we go!
Where: Frishman Street 44, Tel Aviv
We’re going to start with, what in our opinion, is the best place on the list. You cannot go to Israel without trying our local, most popular take-away food. With the migration of the Iraqi Jews, came the delicious sabich: a pita, stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, Israeli salad, parsley, amba (tangy mango sauce) and tahini. Yes, it is just as delicious as it sounds. And the best part – it usually averages no more than 30 shekels. Sabich Frishman is a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ type food joint with minimal seating, so we suggest taking your sabich and going down to Dizengoff Square to sit, enjoy and people watch.
Where: King George 17, Tel Aviv
No need to pinch yourself or rub your eyes, you are not dreaming. An amazingly fresh and delicious Falafel with salads for only 6 Shekels!! It’s so good and affordable that there is hardly any time of day that there isn’t a queue outside of this famous eatery. Luckily, the staff is really professional and will make your pita in seconds. Just don’t get addicted
The Magician (Falafel HaKosem)
Where: Shlomo HaMelekh Street 1, Tel Aviv
At the end of the famous Dizengoff Street, there is the delicious Falafel HaKosem, or ‘The Magician’ in Hebrew. You will often find big lines coming out of this falafel place – so best to go before the lunch time rush. At HaKosem, you get to treat yourself to a pita stuffed with falafel balls and various toppings: Israeli salad, pickles, tahini, hummus….whatever you like, you can put inside your pita. The best part is, it’s so filling – you can’t even think about food for hours afterward!
Where: Yefet Street 7, The Port of Jaffa & HaTa’arucha Street 3, The Port of Tel Aviv
If you have never tried Israeli Burekas or Jachnun, then you absolutely must make your way to Abulafia. In fact, stop reading this right now and go there immediately. Abulafia prides itself on being an old-style bakery that cooks in traditional wood-fired ovens right before your eyes. Here, you can find many pastries, both sweet and savory – all made with white flour, so don’t come here if you’re on a diet. There are a few locations to choose from, however, the best are definitely at the Port of Tel Aviv and the Old City of Jaffa. We suggest taking your Abulafia pastry (the four cheese burekas is our personal favorite) and going to watch a sunset on the sea; a truly gorgeous way to see the end of the day in the Mediterranean.
Where: Shuk HaCarmel & Herzl Street, 77 Tel Aviv
One of the wonderful things about Israel is that it is a melting pot of different meals and traditions from all around the world. When Jews from Venezuela began migrating here, they brought with them the tradition of Arepa’s – a stuffed cornbread pita. Arepa’s comes with a variety of options to suit every taste and flavor, including something for the vegans, the vegetarians, the meat lovers, and everyone else in between. It’s even wonderful for those who can’t eat gluten! Our personal recommendation is taking the Vegi Arepa’s: a cornbread pita stuffed with avocado, black beans, tomato, basil and a mix of cheeses, and of course, with a side of their fried plantains with salty white cheese. This is making us drool even thinking about it! Arepa’s has two locations: one in the middle of Shuk HaCarmel, and one on Herzl Street – not far from the bar area of Florentine.
Where: Ibn Gabirol, 115 Tel Aviv
If you have never tried a ‘shawarma’, then you need to forget all your plans and come here straight from the airport. A shawarma is similar to a doner kebab; slices of juicy, thinly cut meat, seasoned with delicious spices, put together in a lavish with a mix of vegetables. Though Keter HaMizrach looks just like any other ‘hole in the wall’ eatery, inside they have a secret recipe for their shawarmas; they serve theirs with pistachios – a special ingredient used to bring out the flavor of the meat. These guys have their shawarma recipe nailed to a tee and is one of the stops you have to make on your tour of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Hummus HaCarmel or The Synagogue Hummus
Where: Shuk HaCarmel
Last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget to mention hummus. The best hummus joint in Israel is a hotly debated topic amongst Israelis. Every Israeli will claim that his favorite hummus place is better than the others – so you likely won’t get a consensus on where the best hummus place is. However, Hummus HaCarmel can not only boast a delicious hummus but can also boast the coolest location and best price in town. This always-packed hummus restaurant is built inside of a former Synagogue, right in the middle of Shuk HaCarmel. The beautiful doors welcome you into a large area with a very cheap and very delicious hummus. Though they serve only the most basic hummus, the flavor and consistency is always at its finest. You can eat your hummus with pita, falafel, and chips, or have it simply with some onion and pickles. Either way, you’re bound to have a very tasty experience.