A vegan guide to Tel Aviv by Scott Renwick – COO of Sea N’ Rent
Tel Aviv, Israel’s cosmopolitan second city set on the shores of the Mediterranean, is rich in cultural diversity that covers all aspects of life including race, sexuality, education and religion. The city is forward thinking in many ways, which has led to a culture that embraces niche groups of interests and beliefs. It is also a city that seriously enjoys the pleasure of food.
Increasingly this includes vegan food and the issues around ethical eating. Although with many traditional Mediterranean dishes including falafel and pita, hummus, tabouli, sabich and a whole host of salads that are vegan or can easily be made vegan, the interesting aspect of Tel Aviv is that the city has new products and restaurants popping up, serving vegan customers and having a global appeal as opposed to a local appeal. This is what makes veganism so accessible in Tel Aviv. Unlike other places around the world, in Tel Aviv, when you go out, you will always have a vegan option.
Food plays a big role in all our lives. Perhaps even more so when we travel. It’s a major way that we can get to know and really get a ‘taste for’ the destination where we are visitors. It is also a key ingredient in how we meet and socialise with others.
Veganism and ethical eating in Tel Aviv
However, food today is not just about taste anymore, it’s also not just about health or entertainment. Food today has entered the world of ethics, with people all over the world asking questions around what is ethically right.
It is this ethical questioning within Israel that has led many to promote the idea of Israel becoming the first truly vegan nation.
This growing movement has seen the birth of many new vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv and an increasing number of Tel Aviv restaurants either going vegan or offering a substantial increase in their vegan options. Although all of the local markets in Tel Aviv sell many wonderful fruits, grains and vegetables, the well-known Carmel Market, now hosts Tel Aviv’s first vegan supermarket.
Due to an ambitious organization called Vegan Friendly, a vocal vegan advocacy group, many top Tel Aviv restaurants now feature a vegan menu alongside their more traditional menu. In fact, anywhere you see the Vegan Friendly sign, you can be sure that a restaurant has a decent selection of vegan choices. Some Vegan Friendly eateries include chain names such as Domino’s Pizza, Café Greg, and Landver Café.
Our favourite Tel Aviv restaurants
With over 400 vegan-friendly restaurants in Tel Aviv. Vegan visitors to our city are in for a real treat.
As a passionate vegan, I have had the pleasure of eating at many of Tel Aviv’s many vegan-friendly restaurants. A selection of my favourites that I recommend to our guests of Sea N’ Rent include:
Meshek Barzilay, Ahad Ha’Am St 6
An absolute favourite vegetarian restaurant in the heart of the city. This restaurant is always busy, it has a diverse menu, great sauces, scrumptious desserts and excellent beer. The burgers are my number one all time choice.
Nanuchka, Lilienblum St 30
Nanuchka has the accolade of being the first 100% vegan Georgian restaurant in Tel Aviv and is a regular feature in Time Out. The restaurant has been on the scene for more than 14 years although not always has it been vegan. House specialities include Khinkali dumplings and baked Khachapuri.
416 Four-One-Six, HaArba’a St 16
416 is a trendy new New York style cocktail bar with a plant based kitchen serving diverse dishes including risottos, mock calamari and spicy tofu “haraime”. The atmosphere is fun and the cocktails even better!
Goodness, King George St 41
Goodness, open only a few months, offers an amazing range of vegan burgers with their signature ‘double burger’ satisfying even the biggest and boldest of appetites. The burgers also come with a range of delicious sauces. Goodness is making waves in the city; rightly so.
Zakaim, Simtat Beit HaSho’eva 20
The family run Zakaim restaurant has an eclectic shabby chic vibe to it. All the furniture is all second hand and the menu is regularly changed. A favourite dish of mine are their chocolate Danishes which are a little slice of vegan heaven.
Anastasia, Frishman St 54
Anastasia is packed with people all day long, every day of the week. The serving staff are some of the best in Tel Aviv. For a real taste of Tel Aviv, order their Israeli-style breakfast which is based on an omelette, bread, coffee, juice, salad and a selection of vegan cream cheeses and dips. A perfect way to start your day.
Green Cat (Chatul Yarok), Levontin St 7
The Green Cat, opened in 2014 and is Israel’s first vegan pizza joint. To get the best out of the experience, you’ll need to let go of your traditional idea of what a pizza is and open yourself to new culinary pizza experiences as the Green Cat has its own version of ‘pizza’.
The Green Roll, Montefiore St 30
The Green Roll is a vegan sushi restaurant in Tel Aviv. This restaurant is an ambitious attempt to reinvent sushi for the growing community. They don’t just make vegan sushi; they are different with it, creating unique combinations and flavour sensations.
Best of the rest
If you are looking for a quick ice cream stop on your travels, many, if not all, of the ice cream parlours around Tel Aviv have a wide selection of vegan options. At the Legenda ice cream parlour you can also get a vegan frozen yogurt option with a selection of delicious vegan toppings, including hot chocolate sauce.
For those visiting Tel Aviv and who enjoy shopping for local produce and cooking at home, many of our supermarkets have a fantastic mix of vegan options, even vegan ‘junk food’. Some of which, for example Doritos tortilla chips, are only vegan because of the Israeli market.
A ‘must try’ dish for anyone visiting our city must be a vegan version of a Shakshuka. This popular Middle Eastern dish is traditionally made with eggs poached in tomatoes, chilli peppers, onions and spiced with cumin. The delicious vegan version uses a chickpea batter to replace the eggs.
Scott is the COO of Sea N’ Rent ((http://www.seanrent.com/), a specialist vacation rental company based in Tel Aviv with apartments located in many of Tel Aviv’s best locations. The team also run the successful Unlock Tel Aviv (http://unlocktelaviv.com/) blog site and Scott regularly writes about one of his passions; vegan eating in the city.
About Sea N’ Rent
Sea N’ Rent, the vacation rental specialist for Tel Aviv, have a portfolio of more than 60 luxury apartment rentals in prime locations throughout the city. Prices for a one-bedroom apartment start at $100 (£77) per night.
The team behind Sea N’ Rent also run a comprehensive blog site, Unlock Tel Aviv, your complete guide to discovering Tel Aviv.
Photo Credit: Anastasia, Mersek Barzilay, Green Cat and Sea N Rent