On my recent trip to Israel with Vibe Israel I had the pleasure of joining a food tour around Levinsky Market with Roey of Be Tel Aviv Tours. Before I took the tour, and in fact before going to Israel I knew that I enjoyed food but I didn’t realise quite how much! By the end of the tour the group was telling me I should become a food blogger because I got so excited about every stop, tried every dish and couldn’t get enough! I enjoyed this tour so much it has inspired me to do more food tours when I visit different cities as its a great way to try foods I otherwise wouldn’t pick for myself (I am actually a very fussy eater) and to learn about the history of a place, its people and its delicacies.
Having a knowledgeable guide completely changes the experience of exploring a market like Levinsky, instead of just having the visual experience you get to learn so much and discover some hidden gems. In this guide I share 7 must-stop eateries and shops in Levinsky Market to help you plan your own day out in Tel Aviv.
Photos by Or @Oktlv
The Levinsky Market holds a lot of history in Tel Aviv and is a place where you can see some traditions that have not changed for decades. The market is in the southern part of Tel Aviv in the Florentin area. Jewish immigrants coming from Greece began to settle in the neighborhood of Florentin around the 1930s and with them they brought spice stalls, shops and restaurants that featured Balkan spices and cuisine. Laterly after the creation of the state of Israel, the area saw an influx of Iranian immigrants, they too bringing their own flavours, spices and cuisines. More shops and eateries were added with a Persian influence and the Levinsky market area continued to grow.
Today, visitors to Tel Aviv usually add a the Levinsky Market to their itinerary and can still experience many of the traditional food brought to Israel so many years ago.
When To Go
To get to the market you can take a taxi or a bus to New Central Bus Station and walk 10 minutes to the market. Tel Aviv is quite small so depending where you are staying you may even be able to walk. The market operates daily on Sunday through Thursday, it closes early on Friday through Saturday.
Food & Drink Stops You Must Visit in Levinsky Market
1. Puny Bakery
Hopefully you will have skipped breakfast before coming to the market so you can start you day at Puny Bakery . Here pick out a selection of Burekas which have made the same way since 1922. I personally loved the cheese burekas, but you can also try spinach and other flavours.
2. Pereg Spices
Next stop at the spices empire of Pereg Spices. There are pictures on the wall of famous Israelis like Bar Rafael on the wall and if its good enough for her its definitely good for me! Here we tasted some Mejadra and tried spice mixes as well as a Sumsumia spread. Trust me everything is delicious, the spice mixes are absolute heaven so make sure to take some home with you!
3. Halva Magic
Have you tried Halva? Its hard to explain this, I would call it a sweet or confectionery somewhat similar o fudge, but its actually a cake typically made with dough nuts , semolina flour, rice flour, and cornstarch. When you buy it you will receive a full slice of halva which is then cut up into bite size chunks. Halva is very popular across the middle east, so a stop at Halva Magic (Kesem Ha Halva – no website unfortunately) is essential! I recommend the Halva with cocoa beans.
4. ChavShush Spice Shop
Its not all about eating in Levinsky Market, you can also learn a lot and as I mentioned the market was where Iranians immigrants brought over spices to Tel Aviv, so a stop at ChavShush Spice shop is a must to see and buy a variety of spices. The store owner Avishay told us about using resin and minerals for perfumes, for medicine and to combat the evil eye. If he is not too busy with customers see if you can get him to chat with you and explain some of the things in his shop.
5. Cafe Levinsky 41
Perhaps the most Instagrammable stops on the food tour in Levinsky Market is Café Levinsky 41. The little hole in the wall cafe serves a variety of drinks and small cakes, but I recommend ordering the Garden-in-a-cup Gazoz (sparkling drink) and sitting in the back of the van to enjoy it!
6. Yom Tov Deli
Last stop I recommend in the food market is the Delicatessen of Yom Tov Deli. This was my absolute No.1 favourite stop on our tour, so if you o nowhere else you should at least go here. We tried all kinds of fruit stuffed with cheeses, truffled feta, olives and different confits. I dream about eating this again and its a reason to go back to Tel Aviv!
7. Saluf & Sons
Finally, if you haven’t eaten enough then you should stop for lunch served at Saluf & Sons. Here you can enjoy a variety of Yemenite dishes.
I hope that this article has inspired you to take a food tour in Tel Aviv or any other city for that matter! It really is a fantastic way to truly experience a countries food.
I hope that this article has helped to plan your own trip to Tel Aviv. If you have any questions, comments or tips for our readers please share in the comments below.
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