Olive Magazine
Cook like a local

Cook like a local: Tel Aviv

Published: April 20, 2021 at 6:03 pm

From spiced shawarma to fresh zingy salads and warm, cheese-filled pastries, try a taste of this colourful Israeli city at home

Want to learn about Tel Aviv's cuisine? Looking for Israeli recipes? Read Limi Robinson’s guide, then check out the 10 things we love about Tel Avivian cuisine.


Israeli cuisine

Israeli cuisine is unique in that it reflects the traditions and the history of both Ashkenazi (Eastern European) and Sephardic (Spain, Italy and Arab countries) communities. The best way to explore these kitchens is through markets such as the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, where you can find savoury and sweet pastries, and lots of original small restaurants serving Yemenite, Iraqi and Syrian food. Dishes are enhanced with cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and paprika, baharat (a spice blend) and condiments including zhoug, tahini and amba.

The day often starts with bourekas – crisp pastries filled with savoury cheese and served with Israeli salad or Syrian cracked olives. Lunch could be falafel, originally from Egypt but now Israel’s national dish, served with sauerkraut – influenced from the Ashkenazi cuisine. It can also be served with tahini and zhoug – a Yemenite condiment made of coriander, garlic and chillies. Also popular is juicy shawarma, originating from Turkey, traditionally served with amba – a tangy mango condiment.

For a sweet finale try kadaifi – shredded pastry in orange blossom sugar syrup and fresh cream – or falooda, a refreshing cold drink with rice noodles, scented with rose water, which both come from Persian cuisine.

Israeli recipes

Recipes extracted from Limi Robinson’s book The Girl From Tel Aviv (£35, Sayvon Press). These recipes were supplied by the publisher and not retested by us.


Limi Robinson's authentic shawarma is super juicy thanks to the lamb fat, with aromatic flavours and spice to boot.


Sami’s bourekas

Crisp, cheese-filled bourekas, an Israeli delicacy, are typically eaten at breakfast and are served with Israeli salad or Syrian cracked olives.

Samis Bourekas

Israeli salad

Limi Robinson's version of a popular Israeli salad, also known as Arabic salad, is easy to assemble and promises fresh and zesty flavours.

Israeli salad

Tel Aviv products to try

Tel Aviv has a buzzing wine bar scene supported by the hundreds of wineries around Israel. This blend of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc has tropical fruit notes and a zesty lemon peel finish which is perfect with spicy food.

A blend of warming spices.

Belazu zhoug, £2.55, belazu.com

An intense herbal paste with coriander, parsley, chilli and garlic.

Bubala mixed meze box for two, £53.50, dispatch.co.uk

Bubala’s vibrant veggie meze plates are inspired by the bustling Tel Aviv café scene.

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