Tel Aviv’s Hatikva Market is a culinary gem waiting to be discovered. One of the last authentic markets in Tel Aviv and the best places to sample incredible products and delicious ethnic dishes.
Unlike the trendy Carmel Market in Central Tel Aviv or the equally ubiquitous Shuk Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem, Hatikvah Market is still off the tourist map.
The shuk reflects the multi-cultural Israeli table including Yemenite, Tunisian, Moroccan , Iraqi, Iranian, Kurd and lately working immigrants and refugees from Sudan and Southeast Asia. A must place to visit, shop, explore and eat.
The market is located in the Hatikvah neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. Founded as a simple street market with basic every day produce sold by local residents who had immigrated to the young state of Israel from Iraqi, Yemen, Syria and Iran, gradually growing into a sprawling wet market.
Considered a working-class neighborhood, Hatikva is a genuine melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and ages and reflects this vibrant and ethnic diversity. Only Ten minutes from the heart of Tel Aviv this idiosyncratic and colorful market is a mishmash of longstanding and newer traditions, a crazy neighborhood that will make you happy and of course eat very well in one of Tel Aviv’s most interesting food scenes
So OK let’s get down to the serious business of eating our way through Tel Aviv’s Most underrated market where you will find plenty of homestyle food of a kind you hardly see anywhere else, dishes that could easily vie for the title of “tastiest in town.
One can debate as to where to find the best grilled meats but the undisputed master of skewers is still the original “Shemesh Grill”. You only have to watch the king of kebab “Naftali” sitting like a master craftsman while he expertly shapes his kebabs on skewers dozens at time to know that this is the place to sample this most omnipresent of Middle Eastern delights. “Shemesh” Hamevaser Street.
Nearby, Shaul Mutzafi, restaurant where kebab is king! The Shaul Mutzafi restaurant was opened in 1951 by Ephraim Mutzafi. His son Shaul later took over the reins. Besides the kebabs, you can enjoy any other grilled meat you like, including lamb, hearts and sweetbreads.
Salumi’s butcher shop, now on its third generation in one of the market’s alleyways. There you can buy the splendid kebabs to take home and other excellent cuts of meat – whatever you need for your home barbecue
Shopping is a tantalizing affair at the Hatikva Market. There are stands that specialize in only pickles and sauces like olives or pitas or amba. In fact Amba is everywhere… the bright orange sauce made from pickled mangoes and spices, including fenugreek, curry and turmeric, originally imported to Iraq from India.
The most well-known shops are Amiga (Nuriel 8) and Maadanei Ofer (Nuriel 10) where you will find a wide selection of wonderful pickles, olives, cheese, halvah, herring, sausages, cigars and other savory stuffed pastries. But with all due respect the main attraction here is the amba – big tubs of amba in various stages of preparation with the intoxicating aroma of mango.
Entering the market you cannot miss Uzi Zefadia’s bakery, which has been in business here for almost 20 years. Offering a tempting array of sweet and savory cookies and pastries in every shape and form, cheese, spinach or potato filled burekas as well as the classic sticky sweet rugelach. A stop at the counter to order coffee and Turkish burekas is a must before going on your culinary expedition through the market
Kubeh, a Kurdish staple of the market is everywhere but by the far the best is David Habib “The Kubeh Center” ( Hamevaser 19), serving all of types of kubbeh, semolina or rice meat dumplings. As well Kubeh hamusta (sour) or Kubeh Selek (red beet) kubbeh soup. All come with the usual Amba and Tehina dressings and local salads. Delicious, local and satisfying.
Bukharan cuisine is well represented in the Hatikva Market and the Bukharin bread bakery, a family bakery that has been in operation since 1996 has two main specialties: lepyoshka, round Bukharin flat bread and sambuusa or samsa as the Uzbek call them that are baked buns, eaten all over Central Asia. The filling is usually meat (beef or lamb), lots of onions, and plenty of fat… just inside the shop you will see the sight of loaves baked to golden perfection at 200 degrees in a traditional brick oven
You will be enticed by the aroma of freshly baked bread from the numerous small bakeries from a world of ethnic backgrounds – Yemenite, Iraqi, Georgian – as well trendy fresh rolls and sourdough breads
Shadi’s nuts is amongst the numerous market stands selling sweets and nuts. Here you’ll find dried fruits, tahini, granola snacks, jelly candies and coated candies in every shape and color and an amazing selection of roasted nuts and seeds (shelled and unshelled, roasted and unroasted).
Na’ama’s Spices is another institution in the market. Introduced in 1963 by Na’ama Ovadia, a resident of the neighborhood. This huge place offers has pretty much everything in the way of spices, sweets, chocolates, candies, nuts and dried fruits, all sold by weight.
Sample traditional Yemenite foods – kubana, salouf, jahnoun, lahuh and malawah and if you’re a local you definitely know Hasalouf. Grab a spot at the wooden bar, order a saluf, a Yemenite baked pita, a lachuch, a spongy pita cooked in a frying pan like a pancake, or a jachnun, a rolled buttery pastry served with fresh tomato sauce. They will come with a variety sides, giving you an energy boost for your upcoming adventure and maybe a shot of Arak a sure-fire way to absolutely hit the spot
Exploring off the main strip into the alleys on its left side will lead you to the butchers and fish mongers, where you’ll be surrounded by the insistent sound of cleavers cutting and chopping. The quality and hygiene of the numerous meat and fish purveyors and their products is outstanding…a culinary joy to see
Amble off the main strip and you will stumble upon a meandering maze of alley ways that keep secret small neighborhood workshops and bakeries or a “parliament” of old timers deep into a game of shesh-besh, quaint local synagogues or a down-to-earth restaurant serving up delicious home cooked stews and soups.
Hatikva means “the hope,” and the hope for the future is by exposing visitors both local and tourists to this unique neighborhood, the Hatikva Quarter will become a colorful tourism site in its own right. The Hatikva Quarter has treasures and stories to be lived and told….