Together with VibeIsrael, i was invited on their vegan food tour (Gifted trip)
I was contacted a few months ago and at first i didn’t know how to respond… i must admit, i even thought it was just another spam mail. But with a little research i realized that Vibe is infact an established organization that has held many different tours.
I can say, i was honored to be asked to join… even if it was uncertain whether i could travel or not because of my studies. However, i can say now that the trip is over i am so glad that i decided to go, because it was an experience for sure.
So, i am sure many of you have heard about Tel Aviv being a sort of vegan Haven? One of the top cities to visit if you are a vegan foodie. Not just aesthetically pleasing food, but delicious food. Because it is in the Middle East, Israel has food from many different cultures as well as having lots of fresh fruit and vegetables which often make it the center of the meal. Which i love!
I may be all for vegan soy burgers and fake meats, but there is something incredible about being able to make amazing dishes out of vegetables, spices and “natural/unprocessed foods”. Of course, natural doesn’t have to be better and it is fine with processed foods, but being able to make vegetables taste delicious and make meat eaters enjoy and like eating vegetables is definitely a talent. And we need more of that in our everyday lives.
So i can say, i am excited to bring back all the new food experiences and different meals i have tried. Maybe have vegetables be more in focus in my meals… but of course focusing on Swedish vegetables.
But, in this post i want to focus on some of the vegan restaurants we ate at. I am sure there are many more amazing vegan places to eat at, but these are the ones we went to.
There will be a mix of my own photos as well as photos from a proffessional food photographer, Amir Menahem, who you should check out and follow on his Instagram.
A really cosy vibe and atmosphere. A place where you can go to eat and just sit there for hours, ordering in dishes to share among friends. We went during the evening, around 8pm so it was dark outside but still warm enough to sit outside. This restaurant gave me tapas vibes, i.e you order in a bunch of different meals which you share and try together with friends or family.
The food at Bana was my first taste of Israeli food and i can say i was not disappointed, however we got so many dishes served to us and we were so caught up in talking and eating that i didn’t always register what it was that we were being served.
The menu changes based on what fruits and vegetables are in season, so the dishes i ate might not be there when you go to visit. But there was a sweet potato dish that was amazing, as well as an eggplant and tahini dish. Not to mention the desserts that were incredible, my favourite being the waffle with apples/pears and caramel sauce.
Vegetables are in focus at Bana, however i don’t think you have to be a vegetable lover to appreciate the food. However if you are a hardcore meatlover who wants that smokey taste and texture, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. But it is an amazing place to get inspiration for different vegetable based dishes.
You can see some of the meals we ate at Bana in THIS VIDEO.
Opa is a rather newly opened (when writing this) restaurant which is focused on vegan fine dining. Meaning high class, gourmet meals that use ingredients and ways of cooking, preparing and styling food you may not have seen or heard about before.
Gourmet and fine dining isn’t really my thing if i am honest. I keep my meals simple and don’t like to overcomplicate food and cooking, so this was definitely an experience for me, and a good one at that!
We got about 8-10 different dishes which two people shared. The vegetable was in focus, just like at Bana, and i think the menu changes depedning on the season and what vegetables are in season as well.
There were so many new and different flavours and tastes, and you can definitely tell that it was not the same as home cooked comfort food. If you are into fine dining or just want to try fine dining experience then i recommend going to Opa. It is of course more expensive than a regular restaurant, but it is worth the experience and if you are in Tel Aviv, why not! It is also great for a date night or maybe celebrating an anniversary!
The chocolate dessert was BEYOND AMAZING. So if it is on the menu, then you definitely have to get it
416 was one of my favourite places to eat while in Tel Aviv. It had very LA vibes…. loud music, lots of plants, friendly staff and vegan remakes of fast food.. but better than fast food. I.e not the greasy burgers and fries or pizza you get at maybe McDonalds or burger king, but the restaurant type of burgers and pizza which taste so much better.
This is definitely the type of place you would go with friends, maybe before going out dancing. Or if you are celebrating a birthday or just want some good, filling vegan food. it would work great to bring your partner if they are sceptical to vegan food but willing to try as 416 offers vegan fake meat and remakes of different meatbased dishes.
I.e vegan ceaser salad, vegan sliders, vegan steak, vegan calamari, vegan filled pasta and of course THE DESSERTS. I highly recommend you leave space for dessert, and maybe order in more than one dessert.
Not to mention, they have a vegan cocktail bar meaning… all the drinks are vegan. Which is always a plus because then you don’t need to wonder or ask if the wine is vegan!
If you like fake meats or vegan “fast food” i.e not necessarily just vegetables and plantbased, then i do recommend making time to go to 416.
Price wise… i can’t really say. But it is in the middle/high class. and in general, Tel Aviv is rather expensive so i would recommend you save up before travelling there so that you can fully enjoy yourself and enjoy the food there – it is well worth the money 🙂
Citizen garden (brunch)
The last place we ate at was citizen garden, which is a brunch/lunch place and the first thing i have to say is that it is VERY INSTRAGRAM FRIENDLY. Of course, i am sure many don’t care about this…the important thing is that the food tastes good – which it definitely did! But it has amazing lighting, there is a cosy outside “garden” which you can sit in and of course the food both tastes and looks amazing… so yes, you will be wanting to take photos.
It is the type of place you go to have brunch with friends, weekend breakfast with your partner (or solo!), go there to eat lunch, drink coffee and work for several hours… or even the place you go after a night out, feeling kind of hungover and just want a detox juice and salad… and some avocado toast (which was the case for myself and the rest of the group. A detox juice and plenty of coffee was definitely necessary!).
I really enjoyed the food at Citizen garden and it is the type of food i make and eat even at home. Different bowls, toasts, drinks and cold dishes. You will want to order a little bit of everything, but i have to say that the bowls/salads are very large almost worth sharing.
So it could be a good idea to get a bowl and toast to share between two people, then you get to try more than one thing.
Price wise… well, it is worth the price for the food you get. It tasted very fresh and of course very nutritious. Not to mention lovely staff and atmosphere!
Hummus HaCarmel in carmel market
Carmel market is the market in Tel Aviv, and there is plenty to see there. Lots of people, lots of stalls, lots to see and try… almost a little overwhelming. I do also recommend that you try to stay clear from the slaughter/meat/fish part of the market if you are vegan… it wasn’t the most pleasant to walk past that part.
I did try some things from the market such as bread and sauce, some different sweet desserts and an ethiopian coffee. But the place i wanted to recommend was Hummus HaCarmel. I had never heard of this place, but apparently it is rather well known/a tourist place… which i noticed when we got there. There was a line waiting to eat and we had to wait about 15-20 minutes until we got to sit down and order, but it was worth the wait.
Basically it is a hummus place. So they have different hummus with salad and you also get pita bread. it is basically a small “in the wall” resturants but it has quite alot of places to sit outside and you do get a place to sit, so it is not just to walk in and sit down.
The vibe is very fast paced… people walking by, people waiting, it is not a place you go to sit for a long time and just talk, instead you go there with a mission to eat your hummus and pita bread and leave rather quickly again. Basically a market place cafe.. it is what you would expect regarding the atmosphere.
But it is worth a visit if you enjoy hummus and are in Carmel market. Also, they do have a sink and antiseptic so you can wash your hands before eating which you will most likely want to do as you eat with your hands!
Price wise… basically the price of a lunch. More expensive than typical market place food which is often rather cheap (according to me). So even if you just get hummus and pita bread it is rather expensive, but worth it atleast once anyway 🙂
So, Luna isn’t actually in Tel Aviv, it is in Nazareth (about 2 hours from Tel Aviv) so if you just plan to be in Tel Aviv you may not go here, but if you do have plans to travel around Israel and are in Nazareth, then i do recommend Luna.
The focus is arabic food. Lots of falafel, tabbouleh, hummus, stuffed cabbage rolls, rice etc
And the dessert, specifically the Knafeh, was incredible. We were all so full from lunch and our previous eats in the morning that none of us were particularly craving dessert… but one bite in and we all wanted more. So that was definitely a hit!
The atmosphere…? Definitely a place you go with your family. It was beside a shopping mall, so i am sure many go shopping and then go for lunch there or vice versa. It is definitely easy to eat a whole bunch at Luna and end up with a food coma deluxa.
One thing i do have to mention is that the owner, Luna, was so incredibly friendly and you could tell that she was so passionate about the food and wanting us to really enjoy it. And it was like you could tell that the food was cooked with love…. hahaha, how true that is i don’t know. But it was a really nice experience eating there.
Like Opa and Bana, no fake meats… only wholefoods and vegetables in focus. Lots of different spices, which is very typical in the middle easten cuisine. And of course, it seems like you order a bunch of dishes to share among many (though maybe you can order a dish just for yourself which you do in European restaurants).
Price wise, unfortunatly i don’t know.
I never visited Anastasia, but apparently it has a great vegan brunch but there is usually a queue (specially on weekends), so you will want to go there in time and be ready to queue until you get a place to sit down.
Other places you can eat:
Order a Sabich (“Hole in the wall” restaurant)
Similar to a fish and chips shop in the U.K, i.e they have a small kitchen/cooking area where they prepare the sabich for you freshly when you order. Takes about 10 minutes to make as they fry the eggplant when you order. Typically Sabich is made with egg, but you can skip that if you want to make it vegan.
Lots of fresh vegetables, Amazing fried eggplant. Delicious tahini and amba sauce. Definitely a meal you should try… and perfect if you just want a quick lunch before walking around Tel Aviv, or maybe one of those before going out partying meals.
I am not sure the exact address for this “restaurant”, but it was close to Carmel market so i am sure with some googling you may find it. Apparently the locals do want to keep it rather secret as well as they don’t want a bunch of tourists going there and ordering when they just want to eat their lunch!
Note, there are 2-3 benches outside to sit on… but it is one of those meals you most likely eat while stnading up or while on the go unless you bring it with you to sit somewhere else 🙂
Betzavta, a Friday night dinner. Basically you eat Friday night dinner at an Israeli host. You contact Betzavta who match you with a host and then the host cooks you dinner and it is a lovely way to talk to people who are locals to share stories and just make connections! It was a lovely experience for me to have the Friday night dinner.
As each host is different and the food they prepare is different, everyone will have a unique experience. So my experience was a positive one, but it can of course vary depending on what host you get.
Pop up dinner at TheVeganItalianChef (i.e Nadia):
She hosts pop up dinners at her place where she makes vegan italian food. You can book a place during one of her dinners and she will cook you amazing food. I haven’t done this myself, but Nadia is wonderful and her cooking is amazing (we made brunch together with her), so i would definitely recommend you do this if you want to try different food and different food experiences rather than just restaurants and cafes.
There you have a list of some places to visit if you want to eat vegan while in Tel Aviv!! If you have any other recommendations, comment down below. Or if you have any questions regarding travelling to Israel or my experience, comment down below or contact me via myInstagram (itsahealthylifestyle)