7 Best Italian Restaurants in Tel Aviv

By Sarah Mann | Published on 5/21/2024
If you’re visiting Tel Aviv and find yourself in the mood for some Italian cuisine, then you’re in luck.  The Non-Stop City has a fantastic dining scene and the city is home to many top restaurants, many of which specialize in Italian fare, whether it’s simple pizza and pasta dishes or elegant Roman cuisine and Sicilian desserts that will make you sigh.

Using high-quality ingredients, either grown locally (Israel’s famous for its cherry tomatoes!) or imported from the old country, even with minimal ingredients you’re talking about flavors and textures that never fail to hit the spot.
From old-school trattorias to fine dining establishments, and from neighborhood haunts to celebrity haunts, here are what we think are seven of the best Italian restaurants in Tel Aviv…

Best Italian Restaurants in Tel Aviv

Neapolitan pizza, one of the most popular Italian dishes

1. Cafe Italia

In the heart of Tel Aviv’s business district lies Cafe Italia, whose approach is ‘classic Italian food, served in a laid back atmosphere by professional yet warm staff’.  And boy do they succeed in their mission!  The dishes might be simple but they’re always well thought-out and presented and whilst the prices are high, you get good value and - hey - you only live once!

From delightfully fresh salads to homemade tortellini, linguine and fettuccine (gluten-free options available) you’ll sigh with delight, and meat eaters will be in heaven with the Osso Bucco.  For dessert, try the chocolate mousse or perhaps a classic Italian almond, lemon and polenta cake.  And if you really want to indulge, take some of their gelato home…you won’t regret it.  The wine list is also excellent by the way!

Carbonara pasta

Carbonara pasta. Italian traditional pasta

2. Pronto

Pronto is a veritable institution in Tel Aviv and with good reason.  One of the first trattorias in Tel Aviv, it’s headed by chef David Frankel, who has a reputation for creativity in his work…and the entire dining experience here perfectly combines formality.  His desire to be innovative (reflected in the modern design) and yet traditional (using simple ingredients, that change with the season) is what makes this dining experience so wonderful.

The menu is truly magnificent - buffalo mozzarella with aioli and anchovies and smoked pink trout with creme fraiche are excellent appetizers, not to mention dishes with figs, salty sheep's cheese and red snapper.  Meat lovers will delight in the offal ravioli and sweetbreads with tartar, and seafood offerings include blue crabs with Jerusalem artichoke and red snapper with miso butter.  

With so much consideration taken in the composition of the dishes, truly this is Italian cuisine at its finest, which is why Pronto is consistently rated as one of Israel’s best restaurants).

Arancini balls

Arancini balls - Italian entree meal

3. Gemma

Close to the famous Gesher Theatre, in the trendy Noga area of south Tel Aviv, you’ll find this unassuming restaurant which serves tasty Italian fare with a slight Middle East twist, in warm and welcoming surroundings.  Start with the artichoke and avocado salad or some crispy bruschetta, then pasta lovers should move on to lamb pappardelle or the gnocchi.  The pizzas are particularly good - crispy, with just the right amount of cheese - and the tiramisu is divine.

Gemma also has a lovely terrace on which to dine in warmer weather and inside you’ll find high ceilings and minimalist design, which make for a very comfortable dining experience!  Afterward, if you’re not groaning from the large portions, take a stroll in nearby Jaffa, where you can enjoy the charm of the flea market and Artists’ Quarter as well as work off some calories!  

Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese baked in the wood oven

4. Rustico

With three branches across Tel Aviv, whether you dine at Rothschild Boulevard, Sarona or in the Old North you’re in for a treat at Rustico, which is beloved by locals for its intimate atmosphere and consistently good Italian dishes.  The menu isn’t huge but everything on it is excellent - from the beef carpaccio and onion bruschetta to the spinach and lemon pappardelle and the mushroom risotto.

The stars of the show, however, have to be their pizzas, which are a factor.  Pizzas Tartufo (with truffles) and the Rustico (a Margherita with arugula added) are particularly good, and with a bottle of Chianti go down a treat.  Plenty of sweet desserts to end your meal mean you’ll leave Rustico content and smiling.  

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto with Thyme

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto with Thyme

5. Cantina

Located on trendy and elegant Rothschild Boulevard, and is regularly frequented by the celebrities, artists and intellectuals of Tel Aviv. Cantina, this Italian eatery - with its huge balcony overlooking the people on the street, is the place to be, as well as enjoy authentic Italian food (just be aware that you absolutely have to book in advance!)  

Food is made with love from fresh ingredients, with all the dishes you’d expect including eggplant with mozzarella, beef carpaccio, pizzas, risottos and meat and fish grilled to perfection.  They have an excellent wine list and are also open in the morning, so if you’re looking for breakfast in Tel Aviv then they can accommodate you. For dessert, it has to be the affogato!  

Afterward, take a stroll in this beautiful historic neighborhood and admire the Bauhaus architecture, or continue onto one of the areas's many trendy cocktail bars.  

Mushroom-stuffed ravioli pasta

Mushroom-stuffed ravioli pasta with creamy parmesan cheese sauce

6. Pankina

On the corner of trendy Dizengoff Street with Gordon, you’ll find Pankina, an Italian restaurant and wine bar that has been delighting diners since it opened in 2017.  As well as serving up excellent food, it has two other special attributes - it’s kosher (so perfect for orthodox Jews) and it also caters to those who are gluten-intolerant.

Dishes that diners rave about include the Concia di Zucchine (a staple of Roman-Jewish, made up of courgettes marinated with olive oil, mint., garlic and parsley) four cheese gnocchi, arancini (fried risotto balls) and seared salmon.  The desserts are all excellent, but the standout choice has to be their creamy, fluffy semifreddo.  Cozy and charming, you'll want to return once you’ve eaten dinner on their terrace.  

Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma with eggplant, tomato, parmesan and basil

7. Amore Mio

Last but not least, we had to include Amore Mio, a local restaurant on our list, because of its fantastic ambiance, great food and reasonable prices.  Located on Ibn Givrol, close to Rabin Square, it's a trattoria that’s really stood the test of time and with its large portions and casual is very family-friendly (though not a bad place for a date either!)  

Whether you’re looking for a salad (their ‘Amore’ with lettuce, arugula, croutons, roasted red bell peppers, walnuts and Parmesan is fabulous) antipasti (the eggplant with tomato sauce comes highly recommended) or an enormous plate of pasta (adventurous eaters will enjoy the ‘Zio Giovanni’ which comes with goose breast) you won’t be disappointed.  The pizzas are - without exception - all wonderful and the Millefoglia and chocolate fondant will both leave you speechless.  

Order a Peach Bellini, a Negroni or a simple glass of house red and enjoy!  Amore Mio - what’s not to love?

Tel Aviv offers a wide variety of culinary experiences beyond single-cuisine restaurants. In addition to dining at these restaurants, we recommend joining food tours in Tel Aviv to not only taste but also learn about the diverse range of dishes.