If you’ve had one hummus, you’ve had them all. At least that was my mentality before trying hummus in Israel. In the US, you get a big plastic container in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. Or you get a small plastic container. Maybe you’ll get fancy and add a flavor– like red pepper or pumpkin. After trying as much hummus in Tel Aviv as humanly possible, I weep at the thought that it took me so long to try good hummus.
In Israel, hummus is light and creamy and filling all at the same time. It’s served warm, with a pita or -stick with me here- an onion. Hummus was created as a working-man’s lunch… and too much pita meant an afternoon nap would be inevitable. To avoid the post-lunch food coma, hummus was served with an onion as a scoop. Call them nature’s Fritos. Even though I don’t love onions, I tried it and was pleasantly surprised that the hummus balances out the onion-y flavor nicely. (Shout out to Ruthie at Delicious Israel for getting me out of my comfort zone there!)
Want to eat hummus with me in Israel? Join me on an Eat, Pray and Fall in Love with Israel Tour, February 29-March 9, 2020.
The best places to “wipe hummus” in Tel Aviv
The phrase “let’s go wipe some hummus” is how Israelis say they want to go eat hummus. And they know a thing or two about good hummus. According to this study, 70% of Israelis have hummus in their fridge and 93% eat it weekly. The origins are fuzzy, and despite the Great Hummus Wars of 2009-2010, when Lebanon and Israel competed to create the largest bowl of hummus (the record currently stands at 23,042 pounds of hummus for Lebanon), we’ll all just have to agree that the origins began in the Middle East and many countries have made it their own. In fact, the word for chickpea in Arabic is hummus. (Hence the hummus candy I found in Jerusalem.)
It’s not about the vessel for serving or the size of the bowl, it’s about that perfect chickpea and tahini paste. If you’ve only tried grocery store hummus, you’re in for a treat. Here’s where you can find the best hummus in Tel Aviv, according to me. Don’t agree? Meet me in the comments section and let’s chat!
Best hummus near Shuk Carmel
Hummus Shlomo and Doron
Rehov Yishkon 29, Tel Aviv, Israel
“Shlomo and Doron opened as a hummus restaurant 83 years ago. Today, the 4th generation is operating the restaurant. Along with the classic and traditional hummus dishes, Shlomo and Doron is the only place in Israel where you can find special, innovative and creative hummus bowls focusing in fresh ingredients from the Carmel Market.” – Elad Shore (aka the Beyoncé of hummus)
On tour with Delicious Israel, I met Elad. My guide, Ruthie, promised an encounter with the Beyoncé of hummus and she delivered! Elad is the fourth generation to operate the hummus shop, started by his great grandfather, Sa’adia, who named the shop after his son Shlomo and grandson Doron. What began as a simple shop has evolved with time to present the flavors of the world on a single plate and the hummus world will never be the same! From a shakshuka hummus that will leave you shakSHOOK to a TexMex hummus that’ll have you crying yeehaw, this ain’t your bubbe’s hummus.
It’s located on a little cobblestone street just outside the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv’s Yemenite Quarter, or Kerem. The signage is all in Hebrew, so you’ll have to brush up on your aleph-bet or just pay attention to the beautiful bowls of hummus on tables to know you’ve arrived at the right spot.
Hummus is served with a fresh pita, schlug (a spicy Yemenite sauce), and a raw onion. Trust me (and Ruthie) and give this combo a try!
Hummus Magen David (Star of David) HaCarmel
11 Shuk HaCarmel Street, Tel Aviv, Israel
At Star of David Hummus, you’re sure to have a religious experience. The hummusiya was created to look like a synagogue, and after I first tried this hummus, I couldn’t stop singing its praises! Star of David Hummus in the Carmel Market was my first true (non-grocery store) hummus… and it’s still one of my very favorites.
The hummus is served up cafeteria style, where you are able to choose the toppings added to your bowl by the friendly staff behind the counter. The warm fūl (fava beans), spicy shlug and tart lemon/pickle sauce really make this meal one to write home about.
The combination of flavors lends to a party in your mouth, and the ₪15 price tag will ensure a party in your wallet, too!
Allenby St 47, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
At the top of Hummus Habayit’s menu is a big, bold title: “the second best hummus in Israel.” I like a little mystery and with so many delicious hummus restaurants in Israel, second place is pretty darn great! We tried the ₪27 Hummus of the House, with chickpeas, tahini, and a boiled egg, then added ₪3 fava beans because I like a little comfort and warmth with my hummus!
If you need a hummus fix on a Saturday, this is one of your best options, since most shops are closed on Saturday.
Best hummus in Jaffa
Ha-Dolfin St 1, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
The title of best hummus in Israel often goes to Abu Hassan. It’s one of the oldest and most famous Palestinian hummus shops in the country and the line out the door attests to its popularity.
I panicked a bit while ordering my hummus and ended up with a plain serving (which was quite tasty). I ordered it to-go (no seats in this popular spot) and ate it down by Jaffa Port. The hummus is creamy, the pita is warm, the spicy, lemony sauce is a perfect addition, and it’s served with an entire onion! Next time, I’ll try their most famous dish: the Triangle. This dish combines hummus, masabacha, and fūl.
The Dolphin branch of Abu Hassan has been in business since the 1970s and its popularity only grows each year!
Best hummus in Levinsky Market
Levinski St 39, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Before my mission to eat as much hummus in Tel Aviv as possible, I thought all hummus was the same. Chickpeas- check. Tahini-check. Pita-check. But with each new hummus restaurant, I’m pleasantly surprised by the subtle differences.
Walk past colorful street art in the hipster, Levinsky Market neighborhood to arrive at Mabsuta, a hummus shop that’s open every day except Sunday. I was told that at Mabsuta, they use a special machine for pitas, which steam then bake the doughy disks of glutenous goodness. The result is similar to a fluffy bao bun on the inside.
I arrived before the shop opened on my last day in Tel Aviv, eager to wipe one last hummus before catching the bus to the airport. The Moroccan hummus I wanted to try wasn’t available yet, so I opted for the caramelized onion hummus, which added a bit of sweetness to the light and creamy hummus. If you finish your bowl, be sure to ask for a free refill!
Levinski St 30, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Garger HaZahav means “the golden grain” in Hebrew… and this hummusiya has earned a shining reputation among hummus-lovers. It’s not just a cool name, though. The restaurant’s name pays homage to a hummusiya in Akko called The Golden Spoon, where founder Tom Weissman used to eat hummus with his family as a child. Even as a child, he was impressed with the fresh hummus, made on site by the chef.
While some of the other hummus restaurants are filled with local workers and tourists, Garger HaZahav is full of hipsters. And we ALL know that hipsters have a nose for the next big thing. There’s a culinary movement sweeping the world– people want fresh food with ingredients they can rely on. Tom assured me that there are no industrial products here– everything is cut and cooked at Garger HaZahav.
A large bowl of hummus will set you back ₪24, while a small bowl is ₪13. Try Garger HaZahav’s most popular meal, the small-small-small for ₪34, where you can choose three small dishes to try a little of everything. Be sure to try the fried cauliflower, which earns rave reviews.
The shop opened in the Levinsky Market in August 2013, serving warm hummus in the style of the Galilee. The hummus isn’t the only thing that’s warm… you can rely on warm hospitality, too.
Best hummus chain
Levontin: Levontin St 2, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Florentine: Residence 4, Tel Aviv
Hummus Eliyahu is a chain of hummusiya… but this isn’t like McDonald’s! Every bowl of hummus is made fresh. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” is the founding principle of the shop. They put their money where their mouth is. Hospitality shown to customers includes free refills of hummus and unlimited lemonade, followed by free coffee and cookies.
The hummus, served with a secret blend of spices, Greek olive oil and a fresh Yemeni pita has amassed a devoted band of followers who call this the best hummus in the world!
Best hummus near Rothschild Street
HaHummus Shel Tchina
Ahad Ha’am 33, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
When I asked my dear friend and fellow foodie, Jazzie of The Israel Bites, whether she’d been to HaHummus Shel Tchina, her reply came back almost immediately: “Only 1,000 times.” Jazzie says HaHummus Shel Tchina has incredible hummus that’s both creamy and flavorful, with lots of fun toppings. If you’re extra hungry, they offer free refills, although Jazzie says she still hasn’t been able to make it through her first bowl!
If you’re lucky, you’ll visit on their yearly “free hummus day.” In 2019, it was on March 10, but stay tuned on their Instagram for the next free hummus day!
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If you need me, I’ll be in a food coma after all that hummus! Which hummusiya is your favorite? Do you like a good old fashioned plain bowl of hummus or are you a fan of creative toppings?
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