Restaurant reviews: Vegan Israel — Tel Aviv

I’m back from the holy land, a lit­tle jet lagged and full of fab­u­lous vegan food!

After lead­ing a won­der­ful young adult Taglit Birthright Israel trip with Canada Israel Expe­ri­ence, I  stuck around in Tel Aviv for another 9 days to enjoy the sights, sun, and eats.

Here are Tel Aviv’s top 10 vegan and vegan friendly spots that we vis­ited (in no par­tic­u­lar order):

1. Bud­dha Burg­ers- We ate here almost every day for lunch or din­ner. This really is a vegan restau­rant in every sense of the mean­ing. The vibe here is very relaxed. The walls are adorned with posters, stick­ers, and inspi­ra­tional quotes encour­ag­ing vegan activism, and adver­tis­ing events.

Above: Bud­dha Burger with soy cheese

Above: Wall at Bud­dha Burgers

Above: Salad from salad bar

High­lights: the bud­dha burger with soy cheese. Amaz­ing! The schnitzel cheese burger is also good. The lasagna is tops. I also enjoyed mak­ing my own salad at the salad bar that is fully equipped with count­less veg­gies, tofu, sprouted lentils, and even vegan shawarma made from sei­tan. A great place to meet other veg­ans and hang out with the res­i­dent restau­rant cat.

There are 2 loca­tions in Tel Aviv. Check out their menu in Eng­lish.

2. Vegan Shawarma- Great totally vegan spot to grab some quick super tasty vegan com­fort food!

Above: Cheese­burger, vegan shawarma, and pizza with olives and mushrooms

High­lights: cheese­burger, pizza with soy cheese, schnitzel on a bun, and of course, the clas­sic vegan shawarma.

Loca­tions in Tel Aviv, Beer­sheva, and Haifa.

3. Taam Hachaim- Nice space on Ben Yahuda run by mem­bers of the Hebrew Israelite com­mu­nity. Tasty food that is 100% vegan and organic.

Above: Humus platter

Above: Side salad

High­lights: Lasagna, humus plat­ter, fresh sal­ads, stir-frys with rice, and fresh juices.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

4. Mezze - This is a very cute veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant on Echad Ha’am that we vis­ited on new year’s eve. The food was fresh and mediter­ranean inspired.

High­lights:  Mush­room wal­nut and cashew pâté served with organic rye toast, vine leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and nuts served with cashew cream, black rice with pump­kin and tofu, and the quinoa cucum­ber cran­berry salad served with pome­gran­ate tahina dressing.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

5. Orna & Ella - This hip vegan-friendly bistro on Shenkin is pop­u­lar so try call­ing in advance and mak­ing a reser­va­tion to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. The vegan options are clearly marked on the menu. The dishes we enjoyed were really stel­lar. Though we never expe­ri­enced it, we heard that they serve a tofu scram­ble for brunch!

Above: Antipasto platter

Above: Vegan choco­late bounty

High­lights: antipasto plat­ter, pome­gran­ate tofu with herbed rice, baked cau­li­flower and tomato in tahina with rice and lentils, and for dessert the vegan choco­late bounty.

6. MizLaLaThis is the urban casual younger sis­ter of fine din­ing restau­rant Catit. Mizlala fea­tures the inven­tive cook­ing of Chef Meir Adoni. We went here on our last night in Tel Aviv. This is a place to see and be seen and is a favourite of Israeli celebs such as model Bar Refaeli. We called ahead and let them know we were vegan. They cre­ated meals for us when we arrived. The staff was extremely atten­tive to us and wanted to know if we were enjoy­ing our food and if it was sat­is­fy­ing us from a foodie stand­point. The flavours really were out­stand­ing. This is a more expen­sive place for Israel, but a lovely spot for a nicer dinner.

Above: Cucum­ber, Mango, tomato, corian­der, dark quinoa, and vinaigrette 

High­lights:  Salmon ceviche with­out the salmon– Mango, cucum­ber, tomato, tapi­oca, dark quinoa, corian­der, and vinai­grette. This dish is extremely flavour­ful and totally worth it!

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

7. Café Biren­baumThis veg­e­tar­ian kosher café on Naha­lat Binyamin was our go-to break­fast spot while in Tel Aviv. We went here almost every morn­ing! I miss the salad bar!! Run by two sis­ters, Café Biren­baum has been busy serv­ing Tel Avi­vians since 1962.  It’s very busy so I rec­om­mend arriv­ing early. The salad bar is all you can eat and fea­tures a major­ity of vegan sal­ads that are fresh and tasty. Biren­baum is a must-visit for a healthy, fill­ing, vegan breakfast!

Above: Salad from the salad bar

High­lights: The salad bar– fea­tur­ing over 20 dif­fer­ents sal­ads such as quinoa salad, sweet potato salad, orzo and mush­room salad, lentil salad, cel­ery herb and apple salad, kim­chi cucum­ber salad, pesto pasta, beet salad, and  (my per­sonal favourite) the mini sweet potato latkes.

8. The Chi­nese WallWe were on a des­per­ate mis­sion to find Chi­nese food in Israel as it is a favourite cui­sine of ours. While most estab­lish­ments are not open late night like in Toronto, there are a num­ber of yummy restau­rants open nor­mal hours of oper­a­tion. The Chi­nese Wall is a kosher restau­rant run by a Chi­nese fam­ily that con­verted to Judaism. It fea­tures a num­ber of dishes that are vegan friendly– just let your server know.

Above: Chi­nese tea

High­lights: Veg­etable dim sum, Tofu and rice noo­dles in brown bean sauce, and the Szechuan tofu with rice.

9. Giraffe Noo­dle Bar- Asian cui­sine with vegan options. Just let your server know and they will have sug­ges­tions. You can also order for deliv­ery if you want a low key evening.

High­lights: Veg­e­tar­ian Maki, Pad See Ew (ask for it with­out egg)

Loca­tions all over Israel.

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

10. Thai HouseA super tasty Thai restau­rant. This place is near and dear as it’s the first meal I had after my engage­ment! This is a another pop­u­lar Tel Aviv estab­lish­ment on Bograshov, so call ahead to make a reser­va­tion. The décor is bam­boo and bud­dhas and the food feels a lot more authen­tic than most Thai restau­rants out­side of Thailand.

Above: Papaya salad

High­lights: The Papaya Salad, Pad Thai with tofu (minus egg, shrimp), Browned rice noo­dles– with Tofu (veganized)

Check out the Eng­lish menu.

Above: pub­lic bench on Hertzl Street

I have to say there is a strong cur­rent of veg­an­ism sweep­ing the coun­try. I could really feel it when I was there. Just say , “Ani Tivonit (F)/ Tivoni (M)” (I’m vegan) and peo­ple seem to under­stand. I even had some great con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple in the street about veg­an­ism. I hap­pened upon about 15 peo­ple in front of Dizen­goff cen­tre mall who were leaflet­ting about ani­mal rights. I even brought home a pin that says “basar” (meat) with a big bloody cross through it. This coun­try is really pas­sion­ate about many things and veg­an­ism is fast becom­ing one of them!

In the end, it was an incred­i­ble, unfor­get­table trip to Israel. Tel Aviv and the Brown Tel Aviv Hotel will for­ever be in my mem­ory as the place where I was pro­posed to and the place where I ate my fill of deli­cious food!

Oy Vegan!

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