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Culinary Guide for the Tel Aviv Tourist Part 1: Yaffo

December 2, 2010 matkonation 4 Comments

By: Danya and Deanna

First we would like to apologize that it has taken us so long to get this post up…we are both in a really busy period of work (good thing). Finally we have been able to bring together all of your recommendations and our personal experiences and we have decided to continue this concept in an interactive manner by posting each area separately, and receiving your feedback, before creating the final version.

Yaffo

Considered part of Tel-Aviv municipality, Yaffo is a port city, to the south Tel-Aviv.

Culinary wise, Yaffo has changed dramatically over the past few years. From a place that people would go to only to eat hummus, Yaffo has now turned into vibrant area filled with restaurants and bars. Three years ago, Yaffo’s main attraction-the flea market- was an area that you wouldn’t want to walk around alone in at night. Today the flea market is bustling with Tel Aviv residents coming to experience a different vibe than in the neighboring city.

The culinary development of Yaffo in the past few years allows for a quite diverse gastronomic experience. You can find authentic Arab food, eat fresh fish caught from the local waters that day, dine at a gourmet molecular restaurant, drink beer and eat hummus- you name it. In one day it will be hard to fit in all that the city offers- but we’ve tried to put together a list that will apply to all palates.

Our recommendations:

Hummus Abu Hasan (a.k.a. Ali Caravan)

Every Israeli has their favorite hummus joint, and this one is almost a consensus amongst the masses (it was even featured in Gourmet Magazine’s May 2007 issue).  There are three restaurants all run by the same family in Yaffo- each one has a slightly different atmosphere.

No matter which of the three restaurants you go to, we highly recommend ordering the dish known as “Hummus Masbacha”- a sort of warm, slightly spicy hummus served with whole garbanzo beans and tahini. The “Hummus Ful” is also a good option- again warm hummus served with broad beans. Go for the plain hummus and you’ll be drooling over your neighbor’s plate (most likely ordered masbacha).

Abu Hasan- Dolphin Street

This is the original restaurant- it is extremely small with a few tables on the patio/street. Open only until the afternoon (around 3), when the large pots of hummus have been finished.  Best to arrive early to save yourself the wait (it can be long, but it goes really fast). Don’t be alarmed if you are sat a table next to other diners who you don’t know- it’s the way they do it here.

1 Dolphin Street , Yaffo 03-6820387

8:00-3:00 PM, or until there is no more hummus to serve

Abu Hasan- Shevtai Israel

The second and larger branch of the original Abu Hasan- watch out for the long lines on Fridays. Directly across the street you’ll find the third branch of this chain- where you can buy hummus to go, or sit and have meat skewers and salads along with your hummus- and its open on Saturdays.

* Across from Abu Hasan, Shevtai Israel, you’ll find the “Piece of Cake” Bakery- if you are looking for something sweet following your hummus. Try the Florentine cookies or the orange cake.

14 Shevtai Israel Street, Yaffo 03-6828355

Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8:00-3:00 PM

Price- Inexpensive

Shwarma Bino

The newest, most talked about Shwarma to hit the scene, Bino is a small stand located in one of the alleyways near the clock tower at the entrance to Yaffo. Try the lamb shwarma for the real authentic flavor, or go with the chicken- just make sure to add some spicy sauce (known as tzhug), tahini and vegetable salad and you’ll have just the right combination. Open all day.

26 Raziel Street, Yaffo (in the alleyway)

Sunday-Thursday 8:00-12:00 AM, Friday 8:00- Shabbat

Price: Inexpensive

Yoezer Wine Bar

This Yaffo establishment just celebrated 15 years since opening. Very unique, antique wine cellar atmosphere with a rich menu consisting mostly of meats, sausages, and dishes which combine poached eggs and truffles.

2 Yoezer Street, Clock Tower Square, Yaffo 03-6839115

Sunday-Thursday 12:30-1:00 AM

Friday and Saturday 11:00-1:00 AM

Price: Very Expensive

Charcuterie

A restaurant located in the heart of the flea market, which changed the night vibe of the area. The restaurant is open for lunch, but its real charm can be felt during the dinner hours when the market begins to close down and the tables are brought out onto the street. Great music to go along with great food. Homemade sausages, fresh pastas, delicious steaks and handmade cured meats. Suitable for kids during the early dinner hours (7-9). Hop on over the bar across the way (same owners), to wash down the heavy meal with some drinks.

3 Rabbi Hanina Street, Yaffo 03-6828843

Monday-Saturday 12:00-5:00 PM; 7:00 PM to last customer

Price- Expensive

Margoza Café

A very small café specializing in some of the best breads, cakes and pastries you can find in the whole city. Must try the poppy seed pastry, parmesan bread, and the whole wheat bread with nuts. The perfect spot for an early morning coffee and pastry, to check your email (wifi) or to people watch.

24 Yehuda Margoza Street, Yaffo 03-6817787

Sunday-Thursday 7:00-7:00PM, Friday 7:00-4:00PM

Price: Inexpensive

Pu’ah Café

One of the first café/restaurants to pop up in the flea market. Provides for a nice lunch break while shopping in the market, without feeling like you’ve left the area. All of the furniture and decorations, mostly flea market finds, are all for sale- just ask your waiter for the price. Food is nice and light, and there are lots of vegetarian options.

8 Rabbi Yochanan Street, Yaffo 03-6823821

Sunday-Wednesday 10:00-12:00AM, Thursday-Saturday-open 24 hours

Price: Moderate

Abu Al Abad

An authentic Arab restaurant that serves barbequed meat and true local dishes. A tasty, authentic experience. Watch out for the hummus, which is quite disappointing. Definitely try the fried cauliflower.

92 Yefet Street, Yaffo 03-6814665

Sunday-Saturday 7:00-8:00PM

Price: Inexpensive

Shakuf

A new restaurant in the flea market area. We heard it’s quite a culinary experience (molecular cooking), but we haven’t been there yet to give a first-hand review (looking forward to hearing from those who have).

http://www.shakuf-rest.co.il/ 03-7586888

Price: Expensive

Suggested Culinary Tour of Yaffo

Start your morning off with hummus from Abu Hasan, if you have the stomach for it- if not, sit down and have coffee and a pastry from Margoza before starting your days’ activities. Stop for lunch at Yoezer for some heavy German food (too heavy for dinner), check out Abu Al Abad for an authentic lunch, sit and take a break from flea market shopping at Pu’ah or pick up a quick shwarma sandwich from Bino and take it to go. For dinner, make reservations at either Charcuterie or Shakuf for some fine dining.

4 comments to “Culinary Guide for the Tel Aviv Tourist Part 1: Yaffo”

  1. Rahel says:

    If I go to the fleemarket, I like to eat in Pu’ah- really nice atmosphere, fun to see price tags on almost everything- even the glasses and plates you can buy. And I just love the polenta they make there!!!
    Somehow I have the feeling that since some time the fleemarket is not anymore what it was. Maybe because it became hip and trendy? You can find nice things but the prices are mostly very high…

  2. Miriam says:

    What, no props for Dr. Shakshuka? I know it’s in all the guide books, but I went there last week and both the Shakshuka and salads were incredibly good. Plus the atmosphere in the main room is lovely.

    1. matkonation says:

      We were going for things a little more local and little less touristy..

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