Right in the heart of Tel Aviv beats the pulse of bustling shoppers, market stall owners shouting out their sales pitches to attract customers, loudspeakers blasting out Middle Eastern rhythms, and the constant chatter of people going to and fro.
Some shoppers are there to browse slowly between stalls, others have a shopping list to fill and just want to get home and others have come to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy an ice-cold glass of pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate Juice in the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv
The delicious aromas fill the air of fresh baked goods, fruit and vegetables straight from the farms, pickles, pungent cheeses, fish straight from the sea, and that to-die-for aroma of freshly ground coffee. The colors come at you from all sides; vibrant red, orange, and pink clothing hanging from the awnings; the fruit of every color; shades of brown and green spices piled high and the people in the market also provide a dynamic mix of colors.
In other words Carmel Market is alive! It is a dynamic, vibrant attraction that no tourist in Tel Aviv should miss. If you take a walk through the market you will see a slice of “real” life in Israel, from all echelons of society.
Carmel Market has some great local sweets!
But the real draw to this one-of-a-kind market is the glimpse into the “real” Israeli character. The market vendors are vibrant characters each with their banter as they call out to passersby. Locals doing their shopping in the market add another aspect of authenticity to HaCarmel.
The main street of the market, HaCarmel Street has a gentle downhill slope from Magen David Square on Allenby Street to a large parking lot near the sea. The market stalls are packed along HaCarmel Street and across nearby streets. The side streets veering off of HaCarmel hold more stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
History of Carmel Market
In the 1920s the Tel Aviv neighborhood “Kerem HaTeimanim” (vineyard of the Yemenites) set up a make-shift marketplace called “HaKerem” (the Vineyard) on the site we now known as Shuk HaCarmel. Arthur Rupin, a Polish Zionist and one of the founders of Tel Aviv then helped a group of Russian immigrants to turn the market into a commercial hub. The fledgling municipal council saw the potential and encouraged the growth of the market area.
Spices in Carmel Market
They officially made it a permanent market changing the name to Carmel Market after the main market street. In the 60s and 70s attempts were made to relocate the market but its authentic charm and local color had already earned a permanent place in the hearts of the people of Tel Aviv. The market has been renovated and improved several times over the years and is scheduled for another facelift in the coming years.
The Trendy New Carmel
In recent years Shuk HaCarmel has become a trendy spot for foodies seeking local delicacies, down-to-earth ethnic food, and gourmet food products. Among the market eateries, you’ll find boutique coffee bars; freshly squeezed juice bars; chef-owned food stalls, and traditional ethnic foods from around the world.
What to eat at Shuk HaCarmel
Apart from picking up ingredients from the produce stalls, there are many eateries in the market catering to all tastes. Among the stalls are simple, authentic eateries specializing in one or two local favorites prepared on the spot and eaten on the go.