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Aside from the always fresh ingredients, the brilliance of Tel Aviv’s food is found in the diverse flavors of local dishes deliciously balanced between and influenced by Jewish and Middle Eastern staples. Don’t leave without trying Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the five best food experiences in Tel Aviv:
1. Juice Stands. Found on virtually every other street corner and usually detectable by an orange façade and an overflowing cornucopia of pomegranates, prickly pears and other exotic fruits, Tel Aviv juice stands are notorious oases of nutritious, refreshing flavors. One of our favorite stands is located at the intersection of Dizengoff Street and Sderot Ben Gurion; there’s also a fantastic sandwich bar just across the street.
2. Sabich. This Iraqi-Jewish eggplant sandwich could almost be considered the “other” falafel and is every bit as tasty. It’s served with hard-boiled egg, fried eggplant and spicy condiments such as amba, a sauce made from mangos and pickles. Look for sabich stands near the entrance of Carmel Market; Shawarma Sheinkin, located right on the corner of Allenby and King George Streets, makes an especially good sabich.
3. Dairy. Sometimes earning its own dietary classification for religious Jews, dairy products in Tel Aviv are top notch and almost always produced locally. Establishments like Yotvata Ba’Ir, a dairy kibbutz with a popular outpost restaurant on the Tayelet, celebrate the land’s bounty of milk and cheese with big portions of dairy and vegetarian food – if you’re looking for a break from the schnitzel and shawarma, this is a good place to do it.
4. Max Brenner. Many people probably don’t realize that that delicious hot chocolate served at Max Brenner outposts around the world actually comes from Israel. Brenner launched his chocolate empire out of Ra’anana, a suburb of Tel Aviv, and branches within the city limits still offer some of the best and most-original chocolate creations on the planet.
5. Watermelon with Feta. For a truly authentic Tel Aviv food experience, order this popular, unexpectedly toothsome combination at Banana Beach or just about any other of the city’s beachside cafés. Watermelon and feta cheese may not sound like complimentary foods, but you’ll be surprised as just how refreshing this combination is, particularly on hot days.