In 80 minutes around the world. In the last couple of years Tel Aviv's tourism started booming again bringing lots of new international places to the Carmel Market. Since I live exactly two minutes away I love to try the new street eateries popping up along the noisy and colourful market street. You can also make it an activity; stroll the market and try 2-3 different things and share with a friend enjoying many different delicious flavours. Here are a couple of new, newish and old gems for you to try on your next visit to the market and lick your fingers.
Let's start with something local. This is a relatively new pita place right at the entrance from Allenby side next to the restaurant 'the bun'. It made some news when it opened and here is why: these guys really rock in their charcoal business. Their freshly grilled meats (and one veggie option) are simply on a different level from most of other 'kebab pita's'. Every time I am going there I manage to swallow the perfect soft pita with grilled tomato salad, pickled onions, grilled spicy peppers topped with insane bbq kebab and amba pretty much in 30 seconds. Wash it down with a Spaten.
Pita, 30 NIS, Spaten beer 12 NIS, kosher
2) Bunny Chow
Bunny Chow is a South African street food dish. You basically take out a bread and fill it with a curry - it can be vegetarian, chicken or beef. A curry sandwich. Sounded a bit weird to me when I first heard of it but after I tried it I saw how it completely makes sense and that all the years I have not eaten it were just a waste. At the end they top your sandwich with yogurt, almonds and spicy sauce (which is crazy spicy). This place is located pretty much in the middle of the shuk on the main street and also serves Bunny Chow bowls if gluten is not your thing. Wash it down with a Savanna, South African dry cider.
Bunny chow sandwich 36 NIS, Savanna 17 NIS - this thing is huge, recommend to share!
3) Bocca Bocca
Let's go to Rome. Yes, like now. Because you can. This eatery is relatively new located on the lower part of the market (HaCarmel 40), across Bar Ochel closer to the Carmelit. It's a family owned Italian Basta preparing the most amazing sandwiches and plates with lots of love and dedication. Every customer gets a smile, even on a Friday. They range with several veggie options, three chicken varieties, slow cooked beef stews and my winner the roast beef in the foccacia. Everything is prepared in house; every sauce and every stew. This eatery is kosher.
Roast beef sandwich 36 NIS, and the other pitas as 29 NIS, Goldstar draft 15 NIS
Arepas are gluten free freshly made corn pitas originating from Venezuela. After they prepare them freshly in front of your face by kneading them and frying it on a plancha they fill it with the filling of your choice. The range is wide: cheese, beens, avocado, shredded meats and so many other things which make your arepa wanting to explode. Then the whole things comes back on the plancha and gets toasted well well with your filling. This thing came to us from the Venezuelan heaven. I am sure. Proof is that they opened another joint on Herzl Street 77. At the shuk they are very close to Bar Ochel and Bocca Bocca also close to the Carmelit. After eating there for the first time I also started preparing Arepas at home, which is super easy and tasty.
For this establishment I have only love. It's a market restaurant but pretty unpretentious. So let me tell you story; a while back an amazing butcher opened at the Carmel market called the "meat market". These guys have a deal with a farm in the Golan Hights who delivers them prime quality beef. This magical place happened to become my butcher, they even showed me their freezer. So many people loved the fact that we finally have a great butcher at the market and they thought let's open a restaurant and call it M25. In the beginning they were only open twice a week and they stocked up to 4 times a week. They have only meat; don't come here if you think you will have other options. Their offering ranges from amazing meat dishes like arais (a kebab in a pita, fried), minute steak and butchers salad, to skewers of beef fillet, veal, liver and to the interesting part of the fridge, the prime section. Here they have aged porterhouses, rib eye's and much much more. These guys are butchers, I respect that so much in a proper meat restaurant. I want the person who recommends my steak to have known the cow in person. On top of that they don't fuss around with corking fees. "Just bring your own booze and we give you some great steaks."
6) HaShomer 1
Since Arepa's closed at the shuk I will add Hashomer 1 to the list to keep it 5. Hashomer has been around for a while and I love them because they have a sandwich which I call "the taste of Israel". It's a halla, topped with deep fried veggie patties (arouk), eggplants, fresh tomatoes and onions, a hardboiled egg as well as 30 more ingredient making this sandwich absolutely insanely tasty. My guests visiting from other countries fantasise about it even years later. Except of that sandwich they also have a very famous "Mixed Jerusalem" sandwich which consists out of chicken hearts, spleens and liver and is one of the very specials to try when visiting Israel.
I want to know about your favourite places at the Carmel market! Please share :)