When I moved to Tel Aviv 5 years ago, I had no idea that I was going to live a minute away from HaKosem (The Magician) Falafel, the best falafel in town. I’m not the only one who thinks so—the long lunch queues and countless newspaper articles agree. Sometimes I even crave it while I’m abroad.
HaKosem is not your average Joe-Shlomo falafel stand. It’s super clean, colorful, and fun while still being authentic, Tel Aviv style. There’s always bright music on and an energetic flow of people coming in for tasty treats.
The staff here—consisting mostly of Arab Israelis—is fantastic. Everyone who walks in is greeted with a complimentary falafel “chill pill” that often comes with a “be careful, it’s tasty!” warning. The magician himself—Arik Rosenthal—is usually around helping in the kitchen or talking to customers. If you’ll get to meet him you’ll understand why his business is doing so well.
As for the falafel itself: the pitas are soft thanks to a specially developed oven and the salads are fresh. The handmade falafel balls are perfect: crunchy on the outside and tasteful on the inside with a good balance of flavors. Surprisingly, they don’t serve French fries, but they do fry delicious and soft eggplants—let the other falafel stands keep their soggy fries.
Other staple Israeli dishes are also available: shawarma, hummus, shakshuka, sabich, salad, schnitzel, and veggie omelette. To quench your thirst, try the pomegranate-lemonade, the tamarhindi juice, or go for the alcoholic Arakomplet (Arak + cold juice).
HaKosem lies at the corner of King George and Shlomo Hamelech—just look for the long queue during lunch time. It’s also a nice place for dinner when the temperature goes down and the colorful light bulbs spark up. Go for a coffee or buy some records right around the corner.
I know what are you craving for these summer days, and you are right – there’s nothing like white and cold guilty pleasure called frozen yogurt! And there are few places in Tel Aviv that know how to serve it the right way. Just save these spots into your foursquare “to visit” list and be sure you’re safe from a sunstroke this summer.
YOGO on Rostchild 19. What to do : order large portion of white frozen yogurt, choose toppings from a huge variety by your choice ( strawberry, white chocolates, watermelon and honey on the top, that’s just my advice) and sit outside watching relaxed people with kids and dogs walking down the Rotschild boulevard. Open till late night, but causes an addiction.
TAMARA Yogurt on Ben Yehuda 96 (on the corner with Gordon street). What to do: choose your flavor of yogurt – natural white or strawberry or apple or whatever is on the menu today, get fruits and sweet toppings sky high (take “pasiflora” – be telavivien!) and get comfortable in a cute swing to enjoy your yogurt. Really cute place with the best yogurt in the city and nice light blue decoration, providing the hugest variety of toppings so far. Ask for their card – by purchasing 9 yogurts you’ll get your lucky 10th for free;).
Every country or city take’s pride in its unique cullinaric attractions. They can appear in the form of a fancy restaurant, a folksy eatery or even a small stand on the street.
Today I would like to introduce to you Tel-Aviv’s most mouthwatering shrine (which is located in Jaffa, funnily enough) – “Abu-Hassan”. Founded in 1959, “Abu-Hassan” (also known as “Ali-Caravan”) is the place which savvy Tel Avivians consider to be the pinnacle of their Humus experience.
Despite the relatively small room, constant crowdedness and shabby interior – this one should not be missed!
The oral menu is fairly concise – 4 basic dishes (Humus, Masabacha, Beans and Labane) and combinations comprised from them. “Abu-Hassan’s” signature dish is “Hameshulash” (the triangle, “Mathalath” in Arabic) which is made from Humus, Beans and Masabacha. The integral side items are Pita and fresh Onions alongside spicy sauce and citric salt.
Like the majority of Blue-collar restaurants, it is customary for the visitors to share tables with their unknown fellow eaters and hence shorten the queues. The service is speedy and the waiters often impel the visitors to finish their meals quickly for the sake of the next ones in line.
The place opens Sun-Fri from 08:00am until the pots are empty and that always happens too soon.
One last tip: sit outside and you will be able to enjoy the striking scenery of Jaffa and the Mediterranean Sea
I must be honest I am rather biased when it comes to Bistro 1887. I sit there several time a week (sometimes more), its right by my house, and I know the owner. This is one of spots where i express my Tel Avivianism (that’s not a word right?)
Corner of Liliblum (לילינבלום) and Pines (פינס) streets, Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia
Anyway…located on a sunny corner of Pines and Lilinblum st, Bistro 1887 is a cafe / restaurant hybrid on one of the edges of Neve Tzedek
Its charm lies in its picturesque corner location which is consistently sun facing, great coffee, and the international clientele. Its a great spot to watch the passer byes, read a book, and spend a lazy morning with a friend.
The menu features an Italian theme but accommodates all types of pallet’s. The food is consistently good but definitely not cheap. Do not miss the croissants, the anti pasti, and the great schnitzel.