In case you didnt know, Tel Aviv is known as the vegan capital of the world. It's a great place to be plant based. But, if you don't know where to look, things can get a bit confusing...so I've collected my most helpful resources/tips for a vegan trip to Tel Aviv! (As well as my favorite foods here to help steer you in the right direction!)
1. Although most people around Tel Aviv speak English, I have run into the confusion between the English word Vegan and the English word Vegetarian many many times. You think they understand, until you get a dish full of eggs. So the word for vegan in Hebrew is טבעוני (tee-vo-nee) whereas the word for vegetarian is צמחוני (tzim-ho-nee). Even if you order your entire meal in English...it's always better to be on the safe side and double check that your meal is in fact tee-vo-nee.
2. Vegan Friendly App: Although this app is in Hebrew, you don't need to speak Hebrew to use it. In the upper left hand side of the app, you will see the word מפה. If you click this, you will be brought to a map that has every vegan and vegan friendly restaurant in essentially all of Israel. You will see the icon says 100% in it if the restaurant is fully vegan and it will not say anything inside if it simply has vegan options. So you can pick what suits you best. You can also see ratings for each restaurant when you click on the icon on the map. A literal dream come true for navigating restaurant options!
3. If youre planning to go to the grocery store, you can look for this same Vegan Friendly icon as the above app (and the below picture), on actual food packages. It's a pink heart with a little green carrot like top. If you see it on food packaging, you know it's certified vegan! This is incredibly helpful if your Hebrew isnt strong enough to read long lists of ingredients. Just to note: not all vegan options will have this symbol, especially things that are imported in, but it's a good indicator nonetheless!
4. Vegan Tel Aviv Facebook group: The group has about 1,700 members and is a great place to ask questions (or search for things other people have asked!) This has all sorts of knowledge from new finds in the grocery store, to the best restaurants, to vegan events to cooking classes and everything in between. The people in this group are living Vegan life in Tel Aviv every single day, so they are of course the best resource!
5. Me! I am here to be your vegan resource in Tel Aviv, so reach out if you have any questions about your plant based options here! I'm going to give you a few of my personal favorites below:
At the Grocery Store
Ilo Ice Cream: I have found it pretty difficult to find a good vegan ice cream in the grocery stores here in Israel...either there arent any vegan options at all, or the vegan options arent good enough. But, in comes Ilo to save the day! It's made right here in Israel (yay shopping local!) and has a coconut milk base. They have all types of flavors, but my all time favorite is Pistachio. The texture of this ice cream is so smooth and creamy (something I've seriously missed since going vegan!) Keep in mind, you cannot find this at every single grocery store, so check out the list here: Where to find Ilo! The list is in Hebrew, but theres also a map where you can check out what's nearby you!
Yoplait Go: This is new to the market here in Israel and was gravely needed. Second only to ice cream, I really really missed yogurt after going vegan and Israel just didnt provide any options that I wanted to eat every day. Until Yoplait Go came out with a vegan option! Be careful in the store because there are Yoplait Go that are not vegan as well. To ensure you have the vegan kind, your container should say "Go 20" and have 2 big green stripes down the side that say "ללא חלב" which means, "Without milk". They have both Vanilla and Strawberry flavors so far.
Mr. Donuts: I tried these donuts at a Vegan Festival, but I was so sure they werent vegan because they are SO good. Like dangerously good. If you are looking for a fluffy perfect donut (that just happens to be vegan), look no further! I don't think all their stuff is vegan, but the person at the store (or their website) can lead you to the vegan options!
Piece of Cake: This is a chain bakery that has a ton of really great vegan options from cookies to cakes to pies. Their vegan options are all clearly labeled and everyone I've ever talked to at any of the stores have been super friendly and helpful in finding just what I wanted!
Frishman Falafel: You can't come to Tel Aviv without eating some falafel and Frishman Falafel has the best ones! It's not so much a restaurant as a stand with some outdoor seating, but the food is SO delicious and super filling. You get to choose all your toppings, making each falafel pita unique! It's at 42 Frishman st.
Dosa Bar: The Dosa Bar is totally vegan Indian food. Their masala dosa is my favorite thing and if I could afford to eat it every single day, I would. They have all different types of dosas, curries, stews and fritters and everything is 100% vegan!
Kaspi: Kaspi is 100% vegetarian, but not 100% vegan, so be watchful when ordering. But, they make traditional Israeli food, shakshuka, hummus, israeli salads, falafel etc. and it's all amazingly good. The place also has a fun vibe so it's a good place to go and hang out with friends!
A Bit More Upscale
416: Everything here is vegan but you might not know it. They do a lot of spin-offs on meat dishes, like roastbeef sandwiches, steak, BBQ skewers, and calamari. Although, I have been told by meat eaters that the food doesnt necessarily taste like it's original counterpart, I think everything is still delicious! They also make fantastic cocktails and amazing desserts, so it's a great place for a nice night out.
Meshek Brazilay: Located in the quaint Neve Tsedek, the entire place is vegan and has super interesting, unique and seasonal options. It's a chef restaurant with all the ingredients being grown on their own farm, so farm-to-table indeed! It's always fresh and a good change of pace from the usual vegan options.
The Green Cat: This is all 100% vegan pizza. Their cheese is great and they have really interesting topping options. It's also a really fun cute space if you want to eat at The Green Cat! (They also deliver through Wolt, which is amazing...vegan pizza on your couch...what could be better!?)
Sabba & 300 Rabbits: Although not everything here is vegan, their vegan pizza is to die for. They have a vegan truffle coconut sauce which is absolutely amazing. Also, their vegan mozzarella is super delicious and creamy. Great for vegans and non-vegans alike!
The Well Known (but worth it)
Anastasia: This is probably Tel Aviv's most well known vegan restaurant but it is really quite good. They have a lot of variety from salads to dosas to quiche. They also have fantastic smoothies and desserts!
Urban Shaman: This is your go-to for healthy vegan options. They look to the medicine properties of fruits and veggies, offering cleanses as well as overall healthy lifestyle choices, with everything being 100% organic. They also own a yoga studio right next door to their restaurant, so talk about a good way to start your day!
EDIT: Since I originally published this blog, due to COVID-19, Urban Shaman has sadly closed.
Remember to check out my top 10 apps to download before coming to Tel Aviv!