Tel Aviv has a marvelous selection of places to eat for vegans that make it so amazingly easy to be vegan in Tel Aviv these days.
I’ve written vegan travel guides to different cities around the world, but every time I come back from my travels to my hometown, I’m pleasantly surprised at how incredibly vegan friendly it is.
With a huge range of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, plus vegan options at just about any eatery, there’s a good reason Tel Aviv has been dubbed “The Vegan Capital of the World”.
What is it that makes Tel Aviv so vegan friendly?
If you travel to Tel Aviv as a vegan, you are going to have so much choice.
Traditionally, Middle Eastern food is vegan or easy to veganise.
The supply of fresh fruit and veg, thanks to the sunny weather all year round, is also a big plus.
However, vegans don’t live just on hummus and fruit 😉
Tel Aviv has a sophisticated, innovative foodie culture.
When you go out to eat, you can expect the plant-based dishes you’ll taste to be surprisingly creative.
The vegan revolution in Tel Aviv started less than a decade ago and spread to all parts of the country.
It was thanks to a massive campaign by animal rights activists that was a big success.
Since then, it seems like every other person you meet in Tel Aviv is vegan, or at least vegetarian.
Vegan restaurants started popping up all over the city in recent years, as the trend became extremely popular. Actually, I no longer call it a “trend” – it’s here to stay.
Taking a vegan tour in Tel Aviv
A vegan food tour is a fun activity in any city you visit, let alone a city where vegans are spoilt for choice.
Frankly, the choice can be overwhelming, with about 400 vegan-friendly restaurants in once city!
Why not let someone else hand-pick the best vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv for you? 😉
On a guided food tour, you get to taste plenty of delicious food and get a glimpse into an amazing culinary culture, while meeting other people who are into veganism or just into good food.
I took a vegan tour of Tel Aviv with Abraham Tours, that are well known for running excellent themed tours in the city, as well as in Israel and other places in the Middle East.
Starting at lunchtime, the tour goes on for 3 hours. We were having our desserts in the early afternoon on a full stomach 🙂
We met our guide Julian at the lobby at Abraham Hostel. Julian is super keen about vegan food and shared his knowledge with us throughout the tour.
He told me that usually most people who join the tour are not even vegan. They may be just curious or exploring the options.
It was quite surprising that the tour appeals to non-vegans.
It so happened that almost everyone on the group I joined was vegan. Some went vegan for ethical reasons and some for health reasons.
There are plenty of opportunities to talk and make friends throughout the tour.
There were 11 people in the group. It may sound like a lot, but in fact it was easy to connect and chat with everyone.
Israeli & Middle Eastern vegan fusion
Our first stop was a well-known vegan restaurant called Zakaim. It’s right in the centre of Tel Aviv and a short walk from the hostel.
Zakaim has made a name for itself as a vegan boutique restaurant. It has a Persian influenced menu mixed with Moroccan cuisine and some traditional Israeli dishes.
Restaurants like this one give you a good understanding of food culture in Israel.
It’s the kind of culinary fusion that you find in a multi-cultural place, and one of the things that make Israeli food so unique.
Before the food arrived, we had some Persian tea , which was refreshing on a warm day.
The good thing about taking a tour is that you don’t have to choose one or two dishes from the menu. This would have been very difficult at Zakaim…
You get to taste a nice selection of what the restaurant has to offer, knowing they will pick their most impressive dishes for you.
At Zakaim we had a large selection of salads, couscous, a vegan version of shakshuka and several other creative plant-based dishes, all very tasty and fresh. What a great way to start the tour.
It was around lunchtime when we started eating. Both the flavours and the generous portions were just right for that time of day.
While we were eating, our guide told us about veganism in general and why it’s so popular in Israel these days.
Buddha bowls in a charming garden in Tel Aviv
Our second stop was a restaurant with a garden called Citizen Garden, a word play on city and zen.
It’s a cool place serving plant based Buddha bowls, all very rich in flavour and aesthetically pleasing.
When you enter and walk through to the garden at the back, it feels so peaceful you forget you’re in the centre of the city.
As we were nibbling on the lovely Buddha bowls, our guide talked about myths related to veganism.
Things every vegan hears all the time, like “where do you get your protein” or “being vegan is too expensive” and “there are no good vegan desserts” (a myth soon broken on the next stop of the tour!).
There are a lot of myths of that kind and Julian dispelled them one by one.
I’m guessing this part of the tour may be interesting for non-vegans especially, as it’s very informative and for some may be eye-opening.
Amazing vegan desserts!
Our third and final stop will probably be the highlight of the tour for many of you 🙂
We visited Meshek Barzilay, a restaurant and deli, famed for its top quality food and often called the best vegan restaurant in Israel.
The deli had vegan cheese, vegan pastries and other vegan products for sale. We passed through it on the way to the restaurant next door.
At the restaurant, we had incredible vegan desserts, all very creative and mouth-wateringly delicious.
The selection was large enough and everyone in the group got to nibble on each of the desserts.
It was the end of the tour and we talked about future developments such as lab meat and why a plant based diet is the most environmentally friendly diet we have right now.
Practical info about the vegan Tel Aviv tour
All in all, it was a unique experience to have in Tel Aviv and a super fun tour, with excellent food, interesting discussions and a very friendly vibe.
You can join the vegan tour every day at noon, except Friday and Saturday.
To reserve your place, book in advance.
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I’d like to thank Abraham Tours for inviting me to join this vegan tour in Tel Aviv. All opinions are my own.