We bring you seven restaurants and bars for delicious healthy dining in Tel Aviv, from typical Israeli dishes to international eateries. Treat yourself to a superb gastronomic tour while exploring one of the most fashionable cities of the moment. Tel Aviv is a modern, cosmopoli-tan and vibrant city with excellent cultural and leisure options, good weather, lovely beaches and numerous great value-for-money restaurants where you can eat delicious healthy food.
Cakes: Milk Bakery
12 Beit Eshel St
If there are two things you're sure to fall in love with as soon as you arrive in Israel it's the bread and the cakes. The popular braided bread (challah) they serve everywhere is a temptation on which to spread a good hummus or any of the tasty sauces you'll usually find on the table. At the heart of the Jaffa quarter – the old town of Tel Aviv and its charming hipster epicentre – you'll find this small, contemporary-looking establishment where you can buy delicious bread and the finest French pastries. The speciality coffee is excellent and, according to those who know about such things, the croissants are among the best you'll find anywhere in the city.
171 Ben Yehuda
A gorgeous place for brunch open 24/7? Everything is possible in Tel Aviv and Benedict proves that any time is a good time to sit down to a colourful plate of healthy bites. A tip: go for the classic Israeli breakfast and start the day like the locals. You can choose from the traditional breakfast of eggs, fried onion, tomatoes, feta cheese, tuna salad and labneh (a mouth-watering cream cheese made with yoghurt) with zaatar, a very popular mixture of spices. The vegan option includes aubergines, asparagus, tapenade and tahini with spirulina and cumin seeds, different types of bread and rocket salad. Lastly, the lighter version consists of omelette with fried onion, tomatoes and the classic labneh with zaatar. There are loads of other options as well so you'll be spoit for choice.
Dinner with a great atmosphere: Jopea Kitchen Bar
3 Rabi Khanina St
Located in the heart of Jaffa, this buzzing corner is an ideal place to take a break at any time of day (try and get a table on the lively terrace) and enjoy Israeli fusion cusine, although both things - Israel and fusion - probably amount to much the same. There's nowhere better than Jaffa to discover the essence of Israeli cuisine, which is based on the Mediterranean tradition but borrows recipes from here and there: a true reflection of the soul of a country where everyone basically arrived only yesterday. So in this ultra cool eatery don't be surprised to find anything from tacos to ceviche, chicken and polenta or even apple pie. An absolute must.
Any time of the day, Doctor Shakshuka
3 Beit Eshel St
Dingy yet cool, this great restaurant with a cosy ambience and long tables in the centre of Jaffa is a wonderful example of the essence of Tel Aviv: playful and Mediterranean, informal, laidback and slow. In this city you can wear trainers to the most sophisticated establishments. People are stylish but casual at the same time, and they spend their nights at places like Shakshuka. Here you'll find simple Israeli cooking where delicious assorted breads vie for attention alongside some pretty tasty hummus, lamb and, of course, shakshuka, the typical local dish that gives the restaurant its name and basically consists of poached eggs in a tomato and pepper sauce.
And the surprise of the trip, Helena
Caesarea National Park
Yes, you're going to go to Caesarea. And yes, like all travellers you're going to turn your nose up at the restaurants because you've been around and you can detect a scam for tourists with your eyes closed. Well you would be wrong to do that, because in this nature park that was once a Roman port (still wonderfully preserved) we had the good fortune of trying what was undoubtedly our favourite restaurant of the whole trip. Helena is in the middle of Caesarea, between the disoriented tourists and souvenir shops, and it offers healthy Mediterranean dishes in which each ingredient is a delight to savour. Helena really proves that when you have the best raw material you don't need any frills, as is clearly demonstrated by the vitello tonato, the squid, the mouth-watering focaccia or the fresh fish carpaccio. Oh, and the views are to die for.
Messa: fancy as can be
12 HaArba'a St
One quick glance at the dishes coming out of the kitchen at Messa and you know you're on to a good thing, that you've found one of those places where you're going to be treated to internationally inspired cuisine in a sophisticated, chic setting. Named one of the 50 most beautiful restaurants in the world by Wallpaper magazine, Messa offers a variety of ambiences where you can choose dishes such as gnocchis, foie with chocolate, tofu shawarma or roasted tomatoes with fondue. Ok, you'll have to dig a little deeper into your pocket but it's well worth it.
For cocktails, the MUST-DO Bellboy
Hotel Berdichevsky. 14 Berdyczewski St
Our favourite bar in Tel Aviv (perhaps in the whole world) has to be this curious bar with its lively ambience but where you get the distinct feeling that time has stood still. With its contrast lighting, everything in the tiny Bellboy takes you back to the Prohibition era when everything was possible precisely because it was forbidden. Meanwhile, the colourful cocktails - which by the way are exceptional - sway between the tables to the rhythm of the music. Bellboy is in the foyer of the boutique Berdichevsky - in fact, it IS the hotel foyer - and at night it's transformed into this mean place with its clandestine air serving what are probably the best cocktails in the country. No wonder it ranks 96 on the Fifty Best Bars list.
Got a shot of adrenaline from this underground atmosphere and still raring to go? Ask for directions to Butler and you'll be able to enjoy a speakeasy inside a speakeasy. This space is so charismatic that you'll want to turn your back on all your obligations and look for a flight to Tel Aviv right now. We can guarantee you won't regret it.