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Sep 6, 2013 12:08 PM

tel aviv restaurants-still need help :-)

Please help. First let me say that I have been using chowhound to pick restaurants all over the world for years and have never had as much trouble as I am having in Israel. While I know peoples opinions can vary these reviews are seriously all over the place. One persons-best meal ever – is followed by -worst restaurant ever!
So here is revised my list. We have 4 nights one being on the day we land.

While I’m not looking to waste my money I am on vacation so don’t need ‘cheap’. Also having to make a reservation in advance is not a problem as I’m going in the end of October.
Like to experience a variety of atmospheres; hip, small chef driven, fancy, casual…
If I can walk from the Savoy, 5 Geula St., it’s a plus but not essential. I’m not interested in Asian food and a liquor license is a must! If I left off your fav feel free to add. Thanks so much.

Aria, Mizlala, Oasis, Popino, Shila.
Thinking of Kalimera for 1st night as it seems casual?

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  1. Of the places you mentioned the only one I know is Shila. We ate there last year, and the food was very good, but it's somewhat noisy.
    The food at Toto was even better than at Shila, but the noise level is--for me--unbearable.
    I am looking forward to trying Mizlala and Oasis, so I'll be looking for your report.
    Two places that I can heartily recommend are Habasta and Bertie.

    9 Replies
    1. re: bcc

      Have you heard anything about Mizlala?
      Oasis has good reviews but seems so small.

      1. re: inka87

        I haven't heard anything about Mizlala, but we may try it this year. We ate in Oasis last year, and I think it's terrific. I can't wait to go back.

        1. re: bcc

          Thank you. Any other recommendations?

            1. re: inka87

              At present Oasis has about 4 tables and can seat maybe 12 diners, so reservations are essential. They are planning to move to bigger quarters, but I don't know when the move is scheduled to take place. And yes, it is quite casual.
              When you walk up Geula St. and cross Allenby, you'll be right in front of Cafe Bialik. They have a nice selection of small meals and sandwiches. When I say "small", I am not referring to size; small in the sense of informal. Another very informal place in the area is Little Prague, not a gourmet destination, but good and cheap, and with great beer.

              1. re: inka87

                Oasis is very casual, look up their facebook stream, search something like "oasis tlv", they publish many photos there and you can get a good feel of the vibe there and their cuisine.
                Dont know what is the status with moving to the newer place, worth checking that before going of course..
                I like a lot mizlala and Shila, but can recommend them for the lunch menus, along with Messa and also Adora, Unfortunately i think that at current prices "crisis" at Israel, all the above present a questionable vfm at dinner, so can't really feel like giving a solid recommendation on that. Maybe try them at lunch and then decide if return again for dinner :-)
                Worth checking about Taizu and Topolopompo, both asian fusion at a pretty good level, but again i think they should be checked first at lunchtime, had a good lunch deal at Topolopompo lately (not the center of Tel Aviv btw), mains were especially good.

            2. re: inka87

              I love Mizlala, highly recommended for modern twists on Israeli classics. Here is a review i wrote a few months ago

              1. re: debs76

                Deb, What's the noise level like at Mizlala?

                1. re: bcc

                  Not bad actually. Fun vibe but not too noisy, at least when I was there but we were fairly early. Some places turn up the music later in the night

          1. Tuff to decide :-) I know this situation very well. In last years i have been doing much less dinners outside, lunch is a different story, but if i had to do my own list for taking visitors and budget wasn't the greatest concern, i think that two places would have been inside - first is Messa as the fancier spot, special place decor wise (a matter of taste course :-) But surly a place that will not leave visitors indifferent).A visit there can also give a better feeling to "high end" cuisine in Israel with strong connection to the Marrocan and other "regional" cooking, but at the end it is for sure "modern" cooking, and in my opinion a pretty good one, for sure relative to the local standads. If you pick it up - don't walk there in my opinion, should be around 3-4km from hotel.
            Second place - the Mizlala, much closer to your hotel and might be anice evening walk. This place might give a chance to try food related to another good Israelian chef, the much more simplier fare of now next door Catit and the price for sure lower. altough food much less creative.
            From here options are pretty open.. Shila is very different from Mizlala and Messa, not a bad option.. Altough indeed much more "bustling" and noisier then previous options, it might fill very nicely the "trendy" spot, semi casual semi smart, smaller plates sometimes, interesting dishes with some alcohol, but "be aware" that it is pretty crowdy and lively, if this is an annoyance.
            Oasis also might be a very interesting variation to any list, chef always been a bit of a mistery for me, but many good people and friends who enjoy great food, swear by this place. If you visit oasis, please walk the area of closeby pictorial Byalik street, towards it's square and the very nice small musuem for tel aviv history and the "petit" classical music venue there, can be a great evening if there is some performance there, the area i like the most in TA.
            All those places are walking distance except for Messa, as i mentioned. A stroll from hotel to old Jaffa port area will be for sure great, maybe worth getting there when the few exhibition halls (and the great old time toys shop) are open, after that eating at Kalimera might be a nice option to close the evening. Not eaten there a lot and food is not considered extremelly special let's call it, but it gets good vibe as an option in the area.

            1. Best of luck with your travels - I think that making Israeli dining choices can vary so much based on what people expect in terms of service and noise level.

              In my perspective noisy isn't a problem and often I can find it enjoyable. But when my mom visited me a few years ago, she really cringed about being in a pricey place that loud. And service wise, I find just about all of Israel to be a lower level of quality than elsewhere. With some unfortunate incidences of "the worst ever". But I think that both of those factors can lead to one person having a great night at a place but another person being really turned off.

              Personally, my favorite place in Tel Aviv is the Georgian restaurant Nanushkah.

              1. Check out either location of HaMiznon, which takes Israeli street food in a very tasty modern direction.

                1. I recently hosted some foodie friends in TLV were budget was not a concern. We had a delicious meal at Messa, it is very funky, but the service was not amazing and I dont think the food is that Israeli, but i do recommend going if you like very modern.

                  Shila is incredible, great food, great ambiance. Another name to throw into the mix if you like fish is Benny Hadagim (Benny the fisherman) in the Tel Aviv port. In October, it will still be warm enough to sit outside overlooking the sea, the menu is simple, you choose the fish you want, how you want it cooked and then they bring you a selection of authentic Israeli salads as starters which can be refilled as much as you want. I always take visitors and they love it!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: debs76

                    Thanks. For the first night (we land around 2:30) looking for something good but not fancy and walking distance to hotel.
                    Sitting outside would be great.

                    Would Benny Hadagim fit that? Or Manta Ray?

                    1. re: css

                      I prefer Benny Hadagim but Manta Ray is walking distance from your hotel and is set on the beach itself so is probably a better option for your first night

                      1. re: debs76

                        Thanks! I think walking on the 1st night is important. Keep us awake! I have 3 more nights.
                        Need to narrow it down from Dallal, Oasis, Araia, Shila, Mizlala & Popina!
                        Hoping to get a range of experiences,thought all with good food ( and alcohol!)

                    2. re: debs76

                      It's Benny Hadayag of course :-) Benny Hadagim is like saying "Benny the fishes".. And in October there will be incredible climate in Israel, i promise "-)

                      1. re: oferl

                        Sorry Ofer, I was getting confused coz we have Benny dagim in Jerusalem!