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5 Foods That Define Mediterranean Cuisine

Israeli Food NYC

At last count, Tel Aviv has over 1750 cafes, bars, and clubs, plus over 4000 restaurants and other eateries, so there is a bounty of dining delights here for food lovers. In an article that also emphasized Tel Aviv’s role as Israel’s culinary capital, Forbes magazine wrote: “Why Israel Just Might Have the World’s Best Restaurant Scene.”

Coming not that long after, an article in SAVEUR, the highly influential American gourmet food and wine publication specializing in showcasing authentic local cuisines. “Best Culinary Destination, Small International Cities” gave Tel Aviv an “Outstanding” rating. One more sign that Tel Aviv’s dining has matured and has earned global recognition.

Tel Aviv has a wide variety of excellent dining options on all levels, yet you make reservations for a table even during the week in many restaurants. So what dishes are there to enjoy? Let’s explore below.


Falafel is a fried ball or patty made of chickpeas or fava beans, along with various spices. When it comes to Tel-Aviv food, it is one of the most consumed and recognized vegan foods. A trendy fast food you can find on the streets of Israel, where it’s the national dish.

Parsley, garlic, and spices in falafel give a mildly spiced flavor, a favorite among vegetarians. You can tailor the spices according to your taste preference. If you are frying your chickpeas, be sure to soak them overnight before mixing up the batter.

Many serve as sandwiches stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini in pita bread. You can enjoy it as an appetizer with hummus and tahini or on a salad or top it with hot sauce. 


Shakshuka, a popular breakfast dish in Tel-Aviv, is a delicious, healthy breakfast recipe. Simply simmered tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, and lightly poached eggs make up this delightful dish. For a good reason, Shakshuka is growing in popularity worldwide.

The spicy tomato sauce adds a lot of flavor to this flavorful dish of eggs. Many prefer to serve this one-pan dish right from the pan. It is a versatile favorite that is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Shakshuka today comes in many varieties, such as:


You can also change the recipe to fit your taste by adding feta or goat cheese. There are endless options with this dish – and that makes it a national favorite across the world!

Best Israeli Food NYC


Shawarma includes different meat products, such as chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey. When you order, they roll it into a large flatbread or pita that is heated or steamed.

Hummus, tahini, pickles, vegetables, and french fries are all commonly found inside a pita. Shawarma is like a taco or a burrito with Middle Eastern influences. Rotating cones hold raw meat and a heat source behind the cone cooks the meat as it turns. Chefs use a large knife to slice the meat thinly as it slowly falls off. Complete cooking can take several hours.

You can eat it with fries, salads such as tabbouleh and falafel, or just by itself for a quick snack on the go. You can also get it without flatbread or pita in certain places.

How do I make Shawarma at home? Do I need a cone tower?

Shawarma without a tower isn’t the same. There is still that “something” missing, despite coming very close. Try to get chicken when you buy your meat. The best meat for Shawarma is dark meat (thigh meat), although white meat will also work. It is best to have the meat thinly sliced. A cutlet should be over one-third the thickness of the meat.


Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) that has long been a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Tahini has been part of Israeli cuisine for thousands of years, and it’s still an essential element of hummus, baba ganoush, halva, and dip on its own.

Several ancient texts, including those associated with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and historians, recounted tales of tahini sauce as a delicacy worthy of the gods over 4,000 years ago. Used as a topping for Shawarma and falafel, it is a household staple in Israel. It’s also the basis for making halva-like snacks.

Because tahini is high in oil, you can store it on the counter, but in the refrigerator, where the oils will not go bad as quickly, it will keep much longer. You can preserve it for several months in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Stir it thoroughly before refrigerating so it will be easier to stir when it’s cold.

Various tahini health benefits include:

  • Healthy amino acids and fats
  • Being an excellent source of essential minerals and vitamins
  • Managing blood cholesterol and pressure
  • Being especially effective for menopausal women
  • Improving the health of the skin
  • Increasing the absorption of nutrients

Tahini is one of the most ancient foods on the planet. Sesame seeds make tahini with many health benefits. The benefits of sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum), which contain polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, include improved heart and skin health and improved fertility.


A typical primary ingredient of hummus is chickpeas, but lots of other beans substitute well. Hummus comes from the Egyptian word for chickpea. In Egyptian cookbooks from the 13th century, you can find variations of the modern-day recipe for hummus.

Hummus is famous in Tel Aviv because of the readily available ingredients to make it. Also, its compatibility with both meat and dairy makes it appropriate for Jewish dietary laws, resulting in its popularity in Israel.

A mezze tray includes falafel, eggplant, hummus, and tahini sauce as part of the appetizer. You can buy deep pita bread, vegetables, and a popular combination is cumin and sumac. Use olive oil, tomato slices, cucumber slices, parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, and pine nuts for accompaniments.