Tel Aviv is probably one of my all-time favorite cities! It’s vivid, it’s young, it’s loud, it’s colorful, it’s welcoming, it’s hot, it’s super trendy, it’s messy, it’s balagan, it’s filled with cute dogs and cats, and above all it’s incredibly TASTY! Most of the best vegan food I’ve ever had, from Middle Eastern, to Italian, Asian, American and Indian, was in Tel Aviv. Such an exciting – yet expensive city! If you have the necessary change and don’t stay too long you’ll have one the best experiences ever – I promise! 🙂
I’ve met some of the nicest people in Tel Aviv, my boyfriend is from Herzliya (a place just north of Tel Aviv), and we visit frequently! After my last Vegan Guide to Berlin, Vegan Guide to Tokyo and Vegan Guide to Koh Phangan it is about time that I add another essential one to the mix: a Vegan Guide to Tel Aviv! After living in Israel for 2 years and traveling to Tel Aviv countless times, I’ve decided to share my experience regarding what to do and eat in this wonderful city!
Many people might not know this, but Tel Aviv is actually considered to be the world’s VEGAN capital! Say whaaat? There is an incredible amount of over 400 vegan-friendly places in Tel Aviv and new ones are popping up every week or so (“vegan-friendly” meaning at least 25% of menu items are plant-based).
Due to the sun-kissed climate, high quality fruits and vegetables are never too far – you can see it in the colorful creations, taste it in the flavor and smell it in the aroma of what’s on your plate. According to estimates about 5% of the Israeli population identify as vegan, which is the highest percentage per capita in the world. Apart from that about 8% are vegetarian and don’t eat meat at all. Hence plant-based cooking is not only thriving but highly demanded by the 1 million Israelis who don’t eat meat – most of which are living in Tel Aviv!
As you can imagine Tel Avivi supermarkets are filled with vegan alternative products. Most of the major mainstream brands offer vegan options by now, with Domino’s offering its first vegan pizza in Israel! There’s also an annual Vegan Congress happening in Tel Aviv with famous vegan activists like James Aspey and Joey Carbstrong speaking. The vegan movement in Tel Aviv is very active and there are several non-profit organizations (Vegan Friendly/Vegan Active & Anonymous for Animal Rights, Glass Walls) working relentlessly on promoting the message and bringing veganism to the mainstream!
Changes happen very fast in Tel Aviv and the culinary landscape is adapting accordingly. Hence, putting together a comprehensive vegan guide to Tel Aviv is very much overdue! Since I constantly get asked where to go, what to do and where to stay in Tel Aviv I’ll include a bit of everything in here!
One of my favorite places in Tel Aviv is probably the market. It’s full of seasonal, fresh produce and there are always new exciting things to try! Better not go there on a Friday though because it’s going to be terribly crowded and quite aggressive! Make sure to try fresh date juice, a Marrocan sfinge donut, fresh fruit, Venezuela arepa, and buy tons of dried fruit (especially the Medjool dates) and spices to take home!
Where to stay?
Now that the food is covered, let’s talk about where to stay in the city. The accommodation options are endless and it helps to know which areas are better than others. Like in any other city you have the option between airbnb, hotels, hostels, and holiday apartments. For Tel Aviv in particular I wouldn’t recommend airbnb because it’s almost as expensive as renting a low cost hotel, which will most likely be cleaner. Every area is a bit different so you want to be located as centrally as possible (and not have to walk 40 minutes especially during summer). My preferred location is anywhere close to Rothschild boulevard/Allenby/Neve Tsedek and not further than 15 minutes walking distance to the beach!
Possibly the coolest and most fun hostel I’ve ever stayed in! I came here with a group of 8 friends and we booked one full dormitory for us alone! The bunk beds are really comfy (average at about $30 per night), everything is very clean, they have tons of fun activities (in case you travel alone), have a rooftop bar, delicious breakfast (even a few vegan options) and super nice and helpful staff! If you’re lucky you might even get one of their private rooms but they’re fully booked most of the time so you got to be lucky! The hostel is located in a side street off the Rothschild boulevard just next to Nature Boys (vegan fast food – check) and I can only recommend staying there if you travel alone, with a bigger group or even as a couple if you’re lucky and get one of their private rooms! 🙂
Hotel apartments are the perfect compromise between an Airbnb and a hotel and they’re great for Tel Aviv! TLV Bauhaus by tlv2go has a vast amount of apartments all over the city and they don’t disappoint! I’ve stayed twice with them so far in 2 different 1 bedroom/studio apartments and I loved it so much! I stayed at 2 of their apartments at the Lizetta house at Mohaliver St. 24 and had a marvelous stay (photo above was from one of their apartments with balcony)! These specific apartments are located perfectly in between the Shuk haCarmel (market) and the Rothschild boulevard, with walking distance to almost anywhere. It’s about 5-8 minutes walking to the beach and even has a small kitchen unit with a fridge (super handy for storing fresh fruits from the market and leftover food). Depending on when their 1 bedroom studio apartments are anywhere from $105 upwards per night!
A tiny bit further north but still in a great location and very close to the beach! Simple design with good value for money with an average price at about $80 per night.
Very simple but well decorated boutique hotel only 3 minutes from the beach and in a great location with an average price at about $100 per night.
What to do?
My genius travel blogger friends Nofar and Sahar – both long-term Tel Avivians – have developed the ultimate local Tel Aviv guide! It includes a 5-day itinerary, interactive map, money saving tips, public transport info, discount codes and the absolute MUST SEES of this beautiful city. I highly recommend it to anyone who is new to the city and wants a quick overview and detailed plans of everything they shouldn’t miss!
The guide is only $12 and you can get an extra 20% off with ‘THETASTYK’ – this will safe you countless hours spent researching online and it entails all my favorite must-see places around TLV and Jaffa! Click here to see The Ultimate Tel Aviv Guide!
Where to eat?
Below you’ll find a list of my favorite vegan dishes + restaurants. While I’m sure you can find some more places, these are my absolute favorites and well worth a visit! Of course I didn’t visit every restaurant that has a vegan option in the city, but I covered most of them! If you feel like I missed an essential one, let me know in the comments down below!
Michelangelo is one of my favorite new breakfast places! It is located in Jaffa and turned fully vegan a few months ago, when the owners decided to go vegan. Their breakfast sets are absolutely gorgeous and the quality of the food is just amazing. I’ve had the French breakfast, which comes with croissants and the main breakfast, which includes a variety of amazing spreads, from creamy homemade hummus, to baba ganoush, vegan labaneh, 2 different vegan cheeses (from the local brand Utopi – which is my favorite), baked sweet potato, and more. It also comes with an incredible quinoa omelette, which was simply divine and a bunch of side salads. I also recommend the spinach-filled cigars that come with vegan tzatziki and their homemade lemonade is super refreshing!
UPDATE: unfortunately they changed their menu and stopped serving the Utopi cheeses and French breakfast with croissants which makes their breakfast options significantly less interesting! 🙁 It’s still good but before it was next level, which is a shame!
Despite being located in Jaffa it’s actually not too far away as it’s pretty centrally located in Jaffa. It was about a 20 minute walk from Neve Tsedek in Tel Aviv which is a nice morning walk through a beautiful part of Tel Aviv. The place itself is located just in a side street off the main road but surprisingly it’s really peaceful and quiet there, so sitting outside it wonderful.
Another breakfast gem inside the city is Cafe XoHo. This is a vegetarian place with many vegan options that has been around for 8 years already! The owner Xoli succeeded to use her experience from the vegan/vegetarian scene in Australia to create a beautiful space that is incredibly welcoming and hip with gorgeous food for everyone to enjoy. Almost everything you’ll eat here is homemade – from the bagel to the bread to the pastries and extremely yummy! Their vegan banana bread with salted butter on top is a gift from heaven and their signature dish – the beer bread – is unlike anything you’ll ever taste! So flavorful and delicious! Instead of having it served with cream cheese I got it topped with an herby tahini spread which was so good. I also highly recommend the turmeric smoothie with almond butter – which is super thick and creamy – just the way I like it!
The Green Cat – Hachatul Hayarok
Best pizza in Tel Aviv. Basically I could stop here ’cause that says it all! 😀 But I give you some more background just to make you drool some more. It’s hard to explain how much I love this pizza, it’s just SO good. My non-vegan boyfriend who used to love pizza was completely sold on this one. I just wish they would have this pizza available in every city in every country in the world! The Green Cat was the first vegan pizza place in Israel when it opened in 2014 and hasn’t disappointed since! The base is topped with homemade cashew cheese and if you’re feeling a little bit extra you can add a second soy cheese on top. I highly recommend the vegan pepperoni and the seitan crumble! The Green Cat is located in between the hip neighborhood of Florentin and the Rothschild Boulevard and just next to it there’s a cool bar with live music, so you can even enjoy some good music while having your favorite pizza. If you come there in the later evening be prepared to wait a bit and be patient with the service, as it can get a bit messy sometimes but the quality of the pizza makes up for it! Even for non-vegans, this special pizzeria is known for serving up some of the best pizza you can get in Tel Aviv.
Also, if you have a little extra space after that pizza, do yourself a favor and try the malabi paleta ice cream! 🙂
Best vegan burger in town! I mean just look at that deliciousness. Rainbow is definitely far from your average veggie burger. Vegans and non-vegans alike come to this burger gem to enjoy themselves a delicious meal. I’ve added cashew cheese and avocado to mine which made it even better and my favorite side were the fried mashed potato balls! I’m not quite sure how else to describe this burger – JUST TRY IT! 🙂 If you’re gluten-free you won’t be disappointed here either as they offer their delicious dishes with rice or salad instead of in a bun or pita.
Awesomely enough the owners of this place also own The Green Cat! Best pizza and best burger in tow – what’s next? Right, best vegan shawarma? They’re opening their third vegan food location soon that’s going to serve authentic vegan shawarma and I can’t wait to try! I’ll make sure to add it to the list as soon as I do!
Ibn Gabirol Street 88, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
As I just mentioned, there’s a new vegan shawarma place in town and it’s the BOMB! In fact it’s the only 100% vegan shawarma place in Tel Aviv (I think even Israel) right now and it’s worth the hype! I went there on my last trip in October 2018 and it’s just so incredibly tasty!
Shlomo Ibn Gabirol St 52, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Green Roll Sushi
With all the amazing decadent vegan food in Tel Aviv sometimes you just need a place to go relax your stomach a bit and inhale tons of healthy, wholesome feel good foods. Citizen Garden is the place for that! They are a stylish vegetarian superfood boutique cafe that serves tons of healthy vegan dishes including your latest Instagram trends. From activated charcoal lattés, to golden mylk, detox elixirs, avocado sourdough toast, DIY superfood buddha bowls, and chia puddings! Their urban space includes vintage furniture, a lush outdoor area and beautiful foodie delights – everything you need for a great breakfast/lunch experience! 🙂
King George St 41, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
One of the many reasons to try new foods is exactly this: to learn about other cultures! Ethiopia wasn’t even close to being on my radar before this culinary experience, but after this I’m so intrigued to visit and try everything vegan they have to offer! 🙂 Definitely a MUST VISIT when in Tel Aviv!
Chlenov St 27, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Do yourself a favor and pay them a visit to try their delicious knafeh! You can thank me later! 🙂
Golden Sun Kombucha
Cute little cafe with an outside sitting area serving up delicious flavors of homemade kombucha, all vegan sweets, sandwiches, coffee and teas with plant-based milks. Kombucha is not very easy to find in Tel Aviv for some reason so this is the perfect place to hang out with friends and enjoy some delicious booch! 🙂
Golden Sun Kombucha
Allenby St 87, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Hummusim/Levinsky 41/ Abu Hassan
I’ve only tried Hummusim, and it was sooooooo good! I just want a bathtub full of this stuff! 🙂 Enough drooling though, this is essential to an authentic Tel Aviv experience so you better try it!
Ha-Dolfin St 1, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Lilienblum St 21, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Levinsky St 41, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
I haven’t been myself yet but I’ve heard there’s a new vegan burger player in town that is well worth trying! Apparently their burgers are amazing and people especially recommend their love burger, bean burger, bloody schnitzel from eggplant and heady mushrooms! Sounds like a place I have to check out next time I’m in town! 🙂
If you haven’t been in the Middle East before, you might have never heard of Sabich before. Sabich is a traditional Jewish Iraqi pita sandwich, which was ‘imported’ from the Jewish Iraqi immigrants and is now a staple in the Israeli cuisine. The original version includes a hard-boiled egg, but it is equally tasty without.
My favorite Sabich place is Sabich Frishman (were you’ll also find great falafel btw). Basically, what you’ll get is a freshly baked pita bread, filled with fried eggplant, tons of Israeli salad (a mixture of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions), potato, chopped parsley, tahini sauce and amba (a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine). In addition to that it can be topped with pickles and hot sauce. This is the perfect food after a long day at the beach as it surely is incredibly tasty and just has to be eaten and tried once in a while!
Frishman St 42, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
This is one of the new trendy vegan hot spots in town! When asking people you will hear very mixed reviews. Some rave about it while others left disappointed. So I went myself to see what the fuss is all about. From my own experience I found this place to be a bit overrated. You could tell that the food was high-quality, tasty and beautifully presented, but unfortunately the portions are very small and it’s overpriced!
I went for a Friday evening dinner with my boyfriend and two friends, we were recommended to share their dishes, apparently you order a bunch and share them all which I generally love as a concept because you get to try everything, so we had about 6 different dishes. Without even having drinks (just tab water) we paid $35 per person but left hungry. Don’t get me wrong, the dishes themselves were good just very tiny so each person had about 2 spoons of each dish. My boyfriend got a pizza afterwards because he was still so hungry.
It’s a shame because their food was really delicious and interesting, just too little for too much! I saw that they do have a burger on the menu for $18.50 so I’m sure I would have been satisfied by this one – but the way they suggest you to order, it would take about 3-4 small dishes per person to be fully satisfied.
For anyone who has the extra change though, I’d recommend the place!
The same brand not only has this juice bar but also includes a frozen yogurt shop that serves vegan frozen yogurt (usually coconut/açaí soft serve), topped with as many toppings as you like (already a huge YES!). Highly recommend checking both out!
Ben Yehuda St 96 + Corner Dizengoof & Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Anita – la Mamma del Gelato
Best vegan ice cream and acaí soft serve ever! There are many places serving vegan ice cream around the city but this one is definitely a must try! Super creamy and their acaí is divine! Ask which toppings are vegan as they have many! 🙂
Gelateria Siciliana/ Vaniglia/ Leggenda/ Arte Italian Ice Cream/ Cookeez
Vegetarian Indian food in South Tel Aviv serving an array of delicious vegan meals with rice, lentils, vegetable stew, and bread. The atmosphere is fun and hippy, and you sit on the floor, leaving your shoes outside as it’s custom in India.
Shoken St 16, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Cute and very cheap place to try delicious malabi. They have dairy and vegan ones and you can choose your favorite rose water syrup (I can highly recommend the caramel one) and vegan cookie crumbles! The ideal place to stop for a little afternoon delight! 🙂
If you’re looking for creative, wholesome and healthy food to nourish your body, look no further! The place is very cozy and filled with tons of vegan deliciousness! Make sure to try their signature ‘mountain’ dish, which changes every day!
Market offers a delicious array of seasonal food with stews, soups, sandwiches, salads! They have two different locations but their Dizengoff branch is the one that’s actually vegan! They have very cheap, fresh food and big portions! The perfect place to stop for lunch!
Dizengoff 140, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
What else to do?
I you ever feel like escaping the city for a few hours, just a 40 minute drive to the north you will find the beautiful Freedom Farm Sanctuary! It is the first and only Israeli sanctuary for farm animals so far and well worth a visit! The sanctuary was created out of a vision to make a significant change in the attitude of human beings towards other earthly creations, dreaming that one day we will be able to view animals as creatures entitled to lives of freedom, with whom we can live side by side harmoniously without hurting, abusing or exploiting them, and without taking their flesh, their liberty, and their soul. The founders of the sanctuary Adit and Meital are the most wonderful, loving souls and so are all the volunteers who are working up there!
It was my first visit at a sanctuary and we ended up spending almost 4 hours there. We just had so much fun observing, cuddling and playing with all the beautiful animals! 🙂 One can only admire all the work that went into creating this place and keeping it running! I’ve written a more detailed post + video about my visit up there which you can read HERE! I’ve also started a GoGetFunding campaign- which you can find HERE – if you can please consider helping – every $1 helps keeping the animals fed, secure and healthy!