Do you want to discover the many diverse sides of Tel Aviv, learn your way around the city, and sample a taste (literally!) of every style, culture, color, and food that this beautiful city has to offer? Then all you need to do is visit each of Tel Aviv’s 5 Major Markets, better known as “shuks.”
Each shuk includes a description of what food, snacks, drinks, and shopping you can do there as well as one specific recommendation for an attraction or food cart that you can’t miss.
Starting with the most southern, and most ‘authentic’ shuk in Tel Aviv, we have Shuk Hatikva (Hatikva Market), aptly named due to its location in the Hatikva neighborhood, just south of the central bus station in Tel Aviv. You will find juicy watermelon, fresh figs, fragrant spices, and a vibrant rainbow of every in-season fruit and vegetable you can imagine. One thing you won’t find, however, are tourists of any kind. Grab a sample off the tray of that watermelon as you walk down the wide, covered walkway. Take in the smells, colors, and sounds of Yemeni pop music and vendors shouting the prices of their goods. “FRESH MINT TWO SHEKELS! CHERRIES CHERRIES CHERRIES FIVE SHEKELS!!!” they yell at no one in particular. It is a truly exotic experience and you won’t need to barter because the prices are already rock bottom.
Don’t miss: Fools Hummus
(beware the sign is only in Hebrew: פולס)
As you enter the shuk, walk by the watermelons and you can’t miss Fools Hummus on your right side set with bright green chairs and tables. If you were wondering about the name, it’s a play on words. “Fool” being a Hebrew word for chickpea. Local owner Yuval will greet you with a wide smile and ask you if you want to please sit down. He speaks near perfect English, and you should order a fresh cold lemonade and the traditional Israeli dish of Hummus Masabacha (his own family recipe) which is served with bottomless warm pita and raw onion on the side. Everything is made from scratch by Yuval and his family without preservatives.
The Sarona Market
The Sarona Market, better known as the rich man’s shuk, this market is actually an indoor restaurant bazaar, with artesian desserts, specialty shops, and top-notch food stands run by famous chefs from around the world. It is a one-of-a-kind luxury-meets-shuk experience. The real attraction here though is the acres of beautiful park surrounding Sarona market. The whole area is known collectively as “Sarona.” Year-round there are flowers of every color spilling from curated gardens. The whole place is connected with gorgeous walking paths where you can people watch, or enjoy the many interactive art structures, koi ponds, and shops along the way.
Benches nestled here and there among the gardens are a great place to sit down, and big trees throw shade on modern playgrounds and sprawling grassy lawns where you can make a picnic out of the food found inside Sarona Market.
Don’t miss: the singing benches
Set about the area are several sitting benches that when sat on, play Israeli classic hits. Sit on as many benches as you can until you find one!
Shuk Ha Carmel
Probably the most well-knows shuk in the city of Tel Aviv, at the Carmel market you can find mouth-watering street food, fresh produce, and browse thousands of awesomely cheap stands selling an endless variety of jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs. Packed end-to-end 6 days a week with equal part tourists eating delicious falafel and locals doing their weekly grocery shopping, it’s easy to understand why Shuk Ha Carmel is an essential part of Tel Aviv culture and life.
Don’t miss: Viva Mexico – 052-883-0165
HaCarmel St 36, Tel Aviv-Yafo
At this adorable and brightly decorated stand enjoy a frozen mango margarita and practice your Spanish with the friendliest staff you will ever meet! There are a few places to sit inside, and the food and atmosphere are unbeatable.
Conveniently located in the Florentine neighborhood of south Tel Aviv, is the hipster middle child of the Carmel Market and Hatikva Market. You will be struck by the thousands of piles of colorful spices, nuts, and dried fruit. Sip Turkish coffee at a cafe, sample stuffed hibiscus flowers at a specialty deli, or have a cold micro brew at one of the many young bars tucked away in the narrow alleyways.
Don’t miss: Yom Tov Deli – 03-681-3730
Levinsky 43, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Find here the previously mentioned cream-cheese stuffed hibiscus flowers. The Deli which has been owned and run by the same family since it was founded in 1969.
Shuk Ha Pishpishim
The Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk Ha Pishpishm) is located in the 19th-century Arab quarter. It is an outdoor extravaganza of antiques and secondhand goods, with an exotic mix of trendy bars/cafes, outdoor junk vendors, clothing shops from local fashion designers and furniture shops of varying degrees of shadiness. You can wander for hours in the narrow alleys, eat delicious vegan food, sit at a hooka bar, or see ancient attractions such as the famous “clock tower.”
Don’t miss: Cafe Puaa – 03-682-3821
This charming and quirky establishment has plenty of outdoor and indoor seating to entertain you. Inside is renovated from an old house, and each room has an eclectic array of furniture (no two tables are the same, same goes for the cups!) Plenty of choice on the menu for vegetarians and omnivores-eaters alike, with an especially enticing drink menu with offerings like homemade sangria (hot in the winter, cold in the summer) cocktails, beers, and speciality sodas. Try the salmon ceviche with mango or the delightful Moroccan majadra.