Shopping and Eating in Tel Aviv, Israel
Shopping in Tel Aviv
City markets are worth a visit if only for the atmosphere. The flea market in Old Jaffa is famous far beyond Tel Aviv, consists of several streets and adjoining shops, including second-hand shops. There you can save money both on new things and on antiques that have changed several owners (utensils, coins, women’s jewelry). The main thing is not to forget to bargain. Another local market, “Carmel” in the Kerem Hatemanim quarter, is a real oriental bazaar, moreover, accustomed to the influx of tourists.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Israel is 9.364 million (2021).
Souvenirs and spices at the Carmel market are cheaper than in shops and most stores. Locals prefer to shop on Friday evening, before Shabbat, as sellers do not want to leave perishable goods until Sunday and are more willing to discount the price.
With the advent of shopping centers, the main shopping has moved from the narrow central streets to that place. The Gan HaIr shopping center is distinguished by the number of premium brands per m² – it is considered almost the most luxurious in the country. Ramat Aviv is more democratic in terms of prices and brands, there are many Israeli brands and jewelry stores. The Azrieli shopping center is located in the business center, but here it is easier than anywhere else to buy “sale” items and choose original souvenirs. The largest shopping center is Dizengoff, which has more than 500 stores. From Sunday to Thursday, the centers are open from 9:00 to 20:30-22:00, close on Friday afternoons and sometimes open on Saturday evenings.
Shopping streets of the city: Shenkin (souvenir shops and small boutiques – next to the Carmel market), Alenbi (outlets), Nahalat Binyamin with its art fair (at the intersection of Shenkin and Alenbi) and Dizengoff, where shops of local designers are concentrated.
Cuisine and restaurants in Tel Aviv
The real Tel Aviv smells like food, locals say. Here you can find eateries with the most diverse cuisine – Middle Eastern, Pan-Asian, Eastern European, French, Russian or American. But there are not so many cafes with traditional Jewish cuisine in Tel Aviv. However, places like Shmulik Cohen in the southern part of the old city still provide an opportunity to try hearty Ashkenazi dishes.
Vegetarian cuisine is very popular in Tel Aviv. There are also many fish restaurants here. But keep in mind: since most Israelis keep kosher, seafood dishes are designed primarily for tourists.
For the most delicious hummus, it is recommended to go to the small cafe “Abu-Hasan” on Ha-Dolfin. And to feel the special rhythm of Israel, you need to visit one of the authentic restaurants in the old city. In these cozy, always noisy establishments, eating becomes a ritual. Among the extensive menu, regulars especially recommend trying the local carpaccio. Meat lovers should also order tender beef steaks (average price – 120-150 ILS). Kashrut imposes its own restrictions on the menu, stimulating the creation of new, unusual recipes. Therefore, 80% of Israeli cuisine consists of dishes that can only be tasted here.
You should not be afraid of original dishes – there is a cult of quality products in the country.
For those who want to save on food, but try national dishes, we recommend looking into inexpensive falafel eateries. You can have a full meal in them for only 40-50 ILS, and the “falafel” itself (deep-fried balls of chopped chickpeas) will cost 15-19 ILS. In addition, in these eateries you can taste Shabbat pies, saviah, hummus, as well as the usual sandwiches and very good coffee.
For sophisticated gourmets, full-fledged cafes and restaurants are suitable. Prices vary here. You can dine at the Mantaray restaurant, famous for its excellent snacks, meat and poultry dishes, for 120-190 ILS, and dinner at the most prestigious restaurant in Tel Aviv, Catit, will cost 500-600 ILS.
For Russian tourists, the authentic Baba Yaga restaurant is open, the menu of which includes borscht, saltwort, dumplings and homemade dumplings.
Local bakeries offer fresh croissants and buns made with a special type of bacteria grown in a special Israeli institute. You can eat cheaply and tasty at the food courts on the university campuses of the city. Lunch will cost 30-40 LLS. Those who want to eat the usual dishes will not remain hungry either. The streets of Tel Aviv are full of cafes offering traditional Italian pasta and other European dishes. The average check is from 60 to 80 ILS.
In cafes and restaurants in Tel Aviv, it is customary to leave a 10% tip. Their absence is considered bad form and speaks of the extreme discontent of the visitor.
The nightlife of the city takes place in the coastal zone. There are a huge number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs, each of which strives to create its own atmosphere. In general, they are not cheap, but the quality of the products and the variety of cuisine are worth the money.