Hyper-focused restaurants are the latest Tel Aviv food trend

Avocado hysteria has officially hit the White City

Avocada (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hummus-, shwarma- and falafel-focused spots are a Tel Aviv signature. But an avocado focus? A tehina-on-everything menu? Crepes on crepes? Yes, yes, and yes! As Israel’s population becomes more global, so does our amazing city’s international culinary savvy. While some of these single-ingredient or dish-focused spots border on the ridiculous (does anyone really crave avocado ice cream?), they’re helping color the foodie landscape with a continuous stream of innovation and intrigue. Plus, these restaurants – in all their Instagram glory – are what millennials’ dreams are made of.
Here’s a look at the standouts.
Avocada: Avocado
All-avocado eateries have been a fad for a while, popping up everywhere from London to New York. Now Tel Avivians can also enjoy the healthy fat-filled fruit in a myriad of ways via Avocada. The menu – heavy on vegan options – includes everything from classic avocado toast to avocado shwarma… there’s even some avocado ice cream and avocado chocolate mousse. Unlike London and New York, however, Tel Aviv’s produce is very much seasonally driven, meaning that the prices and quality of avocados vary tremendously throughout the year, making this destination spot an interesting one to watch in the coming months.
39 Lilienblum St., (03) 929-1988; avocadatlv.com,
not kosher
Nununu: Rolls
Sometimes nothing will do but something rich, carby and totally fattening. For those occasions, beeline for Nununu, whose tagline is fittingly, “dirty dining.” The haute fast food joint – from the Aria team – specializes in rolls oozing with sour cream, cheese, mayonnaise and/or butter – think Mac and Cheese Roll, or for dessert a Cheesecake Roll dripping with blueberry sauce.
16 Herzl St., (03) 945-3111;
not kosher
Bretonne (Credit: MEITAL SOLOMON)Bretonne (Credit: MEITAL SOLOMON)
Bretonne: Crepes
It’s hard to top a classic banana-and-Nutella crepe, but Bretonne succeeds with their seemingly never-ending list of options. Standouts include Cinnabon (butter, sugar, cinnamon, and condensed milk), along with savory options that include vegan, gluten-free, fish, meat, and cheese concoctions (think labaneh and eggplant made with potatoes, tomatoes, red onions, green beans, tehina, garlic, coriander, chili peppers,and arugula or Artichoke a la Romana, which comes with vegan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, pepper, garlic and arugula). All in all, there are dozens of options, including seasonal ones, like winter’s Lamb Gratin.
52 Shlomo Ibn Gabirol and 22 Washington Sts.,
(03) 635-8221;
not kosher
Poke (Credit: Courtesy)Poke (Credit: Courtesy)

Hamalabiya: Malabi
Malabi isn’t exactly trendy foodstuff. In fact, outside of the Middle East, few even know what that is. Anyone who has had the malabi from Hamalabiya will agree that this is a very sad fact. It is as delicious as it is addictive. Pick a vegan or non-vegan creamy rosewater-flavored base, a syrup (ranging from the classic raspberry to cardamom to cinnamon to seasonal picks like watermelon), and then top your malabi with anything from shredded coconut to chopped nuts or cookie pieces.
Multiple locations throughout Tel Aviv, 077-432-6051; hamalabiya.co.il,
not kosher

Mententen: Ramen

Ramen is becoming prevalent throughout the city; everyone has their favorite spot. Mententen stands out, not only because of its authentic Japanese pedigree, but because of sheer variety. From cold ramen to vegan ramen to pork ramen, there’s literally something for all ramen lovers. They also offer a long list of additional toppings like noodles, seaweed, corn, ginger, tofu, sliced chicken or pork and even butter for those that love their ramen extra fatty.
57 Nahalat Binyamin St., (03) 672-5318;
not kosher
Hamalabiya (Credit: TALIA SHTAINBERG)Hamalabiya (Credit: TALIA SHTAINBERG)
Poke: Poke
This is a great spot for lunch if you’re looking for something fresh (literally and figuratively!). The grab-and-go spot is set up like a salad bar. Just pick a protein (like salmon, tuna, white fish, or tofu), a base (think brown or white rice, kale, or lettuce) and then top it with a long list of veggies, toppings and a sauce. There’s also a list of ready-made options and it’s worth noting that while this Hawaiian-inspired spot isn’t certified kosher, they’re closed on Shabbat and all the ingredients are kosher.
20 Ibn Gvirol St., (03) 909-4066, pokebowl.co.il,
not kosher
Sabba and 300 Rabbits (Credit: LITHAI)Sabba and 300 Rabbits (Credit: LITHAI)
Barvazi Urban Sandwich: Sandwiches
There’s hardly a block in Tel Aviv devoid of sandwich options, but there’s nothing that can quite hold a candle to what you’ll find at Barvazi Urban Sandwich. The grab-and-go spot was conceived by wunderkind chef Raz Rahav of the upmarket Tel Aviv restaurant OCD, so expect a wonderfully obsessive flare. Every sandwich is meticulously crafted with specially selected bread, precisely seasoned ingredients and oddball combos that surprisingly work (think roast lamb, sumac vinaigrette, red grapefruit, and coriander or a spare ribs stuffed croissant).
17 Tchernikhovski St., (03) 556-6774;
not kosher
So Bing (Credit: Courtesy)So Bing (Credit: Courtesy)

HaTahinia: Tehina

You wouldn’t think that tehina-laced tapas would be the result of a culinary school in Paris and an internship with three-Michelin-star uber-chef Alain Ducasse, but that’s just what chef Yehonatan Barbi dreamed up upon returning to Tel Aviv. HaTahinia’s dishes all pack plenty of flavor – think chestnut tehina with olive oil, orange peel, and sumac or mushroom kebab with amba tehina and roasted veggies. There are plenty of vegan options here and most of the seating is around a large bar where you can see Yehonatan firsthand work his magic. 
33 Levinsky St., (03) 973-5545;
HaTahinia (Credit: NATALIE ISSAHARY)HaTahinia (Credit: NATALIE ISSAHARY)

Sabba and 300 Rabbits: Pizza

When it comes to of-the-moment pizza, most people think of cauliflower crust, but that couldn’t be further from what celebrity chef Omer Miller has dreamed up at his pizza-focused restaurant. Putting your run-of-the-mill Pizza Hut to shame at Sabba and 300 Rabbits, you can top your pie with anything from a sunny-side up egg to mac and cheese to avocado to osso buco. The sweet options are equally as over-the-top – think cheesecake with strawberries. In short: don’t forget to have your trainer on speed dial after hitting up Sabba.
9 Rothschild Blvd., (03) 691-5181;
not kosher

Lassie: Ladoo and Marzipan

Lassie comes our way from the same team behind Dosa Bar, which is located next door. The new diminutive spot specializes in raw vegan, sugar and gluten-free candy – specifically ladoo (a classic Indian chickpea-based candy) and marzipan (a thick almond-based sugary paste). They come in enticing varieties including matcha marzipan and a cardamom ladoo.
188 Ben Yehuda St., (03) 659-1961;
Sahbak Toast (Credit: Courtesy)Sahbak Toast (Credit: Courtesy)

So Bing: Shaved Ice
When ice cream isn’t enough, hit up So Bing, a Korean spot that specializes in bingsu a.k.a. coconuty shaved ice topped with ice cream (vegan or non-vegan), fruit (melon, strawberries, banana) and other toppings like Bamba, brownies, nuts, Oreos, caramel sauce, chocolate fudge,and so much more.
49 King George St., 050-748-0480;
not kosher
Sahbak Toast: Cold Cuts
One of the most shocking things about the culinary scene in Israel is how hard it is to find non-processed cold cuts. Now you can find them, along with homemade sauces and condiments, at the newly opened Sahbak Toast. Pick your bread – white or whole wheat –choose your cut of protein (which has been butchered from a large piece of meat) and lather it with finishes like onions, tomatoes, ketchup, or mayonnaise.
43 Dizengoff St., (03) 696-8038; sahbak-toast.co.il, kosher