Top Vegan Food in Israel: The Best Vegan Dining Experiences
BY Dan Magazine DATE 06/02/2023
Ten vegan establishments to check off your list.
With climate change and the world’s environmental challenges rarely out of the spotlight, more and more people are turning to veganism. Some nations are ahead of the curve in this regard, and Israel is one of those countries widely recognized to be among the frontrunners, with one of the highest proportion of vegans worldwide. Fortunately, the tiny country punches well above its weight in relation to the range, quality and creativity of vegan food on offer across the country. In 2022, 1,500 Israeli eateries and 6 500 products displayed the Vegan Friendly logo, but for the month of healthy living, ‘Veganuary’, we look at 10 places in Israel for excellent vegan dining.
Furthermore, with an enduring love of foods, such as falafel, hummus, salads and couscous, already a key part of the Israeli diet, the availability of fresh vegetables and fruits makes it incredibly easy to be vegan.
Vegan Restaurants in Tel Aviv: The Heart of the Vegan Scene
At the heart of this ongoing revolution is Tel Aviv, once described as the “Vegan Capital of the World” by the British newspaper, the Independent, and home to many high-quality vegan cafés and restaurants. Among them – and a 15-minute walk from the Dan Tel Aviv – is Dosa Bar. From its home on Ben Yehuda Street, you can access wonderfully fresh Indian-style vegan street food, with a reputation for incredible dosas, gluten-free pancakes with fillings including traditional and sweet potato, incredible coconut-based sauces, followed by tasty organic desserts using fruits and nuts. There is a range of delightful and charming, high quality vegan coffee shops in Tel Aviv, such as Anastasia, one of the first vegan cafés in Tel Aviv. Located on Frishman Street, also a very short walk from the Dan Tel Aviv there is a diverse menu to satisfy many palates, including some of the most flavorful shakshuka in the city – made from polenta and tofu balls in homemade tomato sauce. Offering a terrific breakfast menu with vegan omelets, nut-made cheeses and a range of creative dips, you can also opt for a splendid tofu curry to mushroom pasta. A close walk from the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv is Green Roll is the first vegan sushi restaurant in Israel since its founding in 2015. A completely vegan menu will leave you full and content. A delicious range of sushi rolls, topped with special sauces produced in the restaurant, and handmade dim sum are inventively created and creatively presented by the restaurant’s uber-friendly staff. Close to the colorful Levinsky market, on Ha-Khalutzim Street, is the award-winning restaurant, Opa, the brainchild of owner and chef, Shirel Berger. Winner of the ‘One To Watch Award’ as part of Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, this converted warehouse is a perfectly intimate social or romantic setting for those aficionados of delicious vegan food. The 10-course sharing tasting menu is an ideal way to celebrate a special occasion. The bright and airy Goodness restaurant on King George Street offers a creative menu packed with flavor, such as seitan schnitzel and tofu, vegan sausages, but is renowned for its sensational burgers with a vegan fried egg achieved by creating a yolk from chestnut squash and a white from tofu. It has to be tasted to be believed.
Quality also sparkles in Jerusalem
While the vegan spotlight shines brightly in Tel Aviv, it very much sparkles in Jerusalem too. Jerusalem has fast caught up on the country’s shift towards a more plant-based diet. From hearty stews to vegan shakshuka, the options are many, with vegan options dominating the menu at Café Bastet, a small café in central Jerusalem run by long-time vegan owner. This inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly establishment sits just a few minutes from Zion Square and 1km from the King David Hotel Jerusalem, and brings you creative takes on classic Israeli dishes, including vegan shakshuka and black lentil hummus. Its vegan hot chocolate and coffee blend are particularly popular. A tightly innovative menu, intimate atmosphere, and excellent service keep the well-loved Pergamon Restaurant at the top of many lists. A vegan’s dream, the delicious and upscale meals will set you up for a night out on the town. As one of the city’s top-rated restaurants, it is also famous for its cocktails, made and decorated with fresh herbs grown on its patio, and gourmet dishes such as polenta chips with tartar sauce, Parisian gnocchi with za’atar butter and slow-cooked Jerusalem artichoke with white wine and dates. The menu is extraordinary in Jerusalem’s Nagila Vegan Restaurant, a strictly kosher culinary gem in a quiet alley near the iconic Mahane Yehuda market. From the vegan lasagna to the lentil and cashew shakshuka, you will not be disappointed at the creativity and skill of this family-run team.
Haifa’s not-so-hidden gems
Close to the Dan Carmel and Dan Panorama Haifa, we recommend the splendid Umm Kulthum, on Moriya Boulevard. Oozing great vibes, this place dishes up a broad selection of tasty, affordable plates, including the vegan lasagna, Armenian-style pizza and splendid lentils and chickpea meals, not to mention the huge range of hummus. A short stroll down the same street also brings you to Moriah 105, and its menu of vegan cuisine from the Far and Middle East. Sit inside in the homely restaurant or outside on the wooden balcony under the pine trees and enjoy a choice of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, all cooked with fresh and high-quality ingredients. From Indian dishes, such as thali or korma, to corn schnitzel, you are in the safe hands of an owner dedicated to nutrition and healthy living.
Choosing a vegan plant-based diet, for cultural, health, environmental or religious reasons, the love affair between the locals and veganism guarantees a huge range of eateries for you to choose from. Betay-avon (Bon appétit).
Written by Dan Magazine