My Hebrew is pretty close to non-existent. I took several months of private lessons, but 5 years later, only the basics stuck. The daily phrases like: Shalom (Shabbat Shalom on the weekend), boker tov (good morning) and laila tov (goodnight). I remember the words that make me feel like I’m in a Middle Eastern rendition of “Who’s on First?”. Who is he. And he is she. If that’s not confusing enough, dog means fish. And of course, I remember the most important two words in the Hebrew language: glida and matokh. Ice cream and sweet. I spent a couple months in Israel’s party city by the sea recently. I’m not one for the nightlife, but I took my tastebuds on a tour to find the best ice cream Tel Aviv has to offer.
The best ice cream in Tel Aviv (and where to find it)
Anita Tel Aviv
Anita Ice Cream
I was just a few days into my stay in Tel Aviv when I heard a traveler claim that the best ice cream in the world is sold at Anita. That’s a big statement, so I had to check it out for myself!
What I found is a bustling shop filled with delicious flavors of ice cream like Cookieman, Popcorn with Honey and Caramel, Chestnut with Hazelnut cream and so many more! Every single flavor is creamy and rich (and I tried quite a few). When you order, your spoon is stuck into the gelato with a taste of the scooper’s choice. That taste is all the marketing I need to get me back for another scoop! Vegan and dairy-free friends, this shop won’t let you down. From refreshing sorbets like watermelon and mint to creamy dark chocolate sorbet and soy caramel cookies, you’re sure to be satisfied! If you’re sugar-free (I’m sorry), Anita Tel Aviv has sugar free ice cream too!
Mamma Anita and her youngest son, Nir, began creating ice cream in their kitchen more than 20 years ago. Thankfully, they decided to share the gift of gelato with Tel Aviv, because in 2002, the first branch of Anita opened. News travels fast, and within eight years, Anita opened up a production factory. Only fresh ingredients are used, including jam – still made in Mamma Anita’s kitchen!
Feel like something that feels a little healthier? Just down the street in Neve Tzedek, Anita Yogurt is serving up fresh fro yo in a variety of flavors (including vegan options). Choose from a selection of toppings and sauces including tahini, if you want to go full Israeli!
It’s official, I want to be Sissi Pagan when I grow up. She and her husband, Marco Camorelli spent 20 years as professional scuba divers, working on yachts all around the world. After years in the water as diving instructors, the marine biologists were tired. In Bali, they learned to make natural gelato from an Italian couple and Sissi and Marco, originally from Milan, returned to Italy to hone their craft.
They attended a course in Tuscany to learn how to make gelato using only raw, real ingredients. After finishing their course, the couple worked in shops to gain experience before setting out on their own.
Four years ago, Sissi and Marco chose the young, vibrant city of Tel Aviv to open Arte Glideria, where they feel free to experiment. You won’t find any semi-finished products at Arte Glideria – the chef uses real cream, milk, Belgian chocolate and grinds nuts to make any pastes for the ice cream. There are no emulsifiers used – so the ice cream has less air (which means more flavor)!
What you will find, is an ever-changing rotation of incredibly unique flavors. Don’t believe me? Try their Avocado Cream, Goat Cheese, Pear & Honey, Caramelized Roses or their Buttered Bread – made with french baguette and butter! Vegans and dairy-free friends… there’s something for you, too! Try the Peach & Lavender, Cinnamon Dark Chocolate or Figs & Roses!
The gelato will draw you in, but Arte Glideria wants to feed your soul as well as your stomach. Be sure to look around the walls at the art exhibits, which change every month. Feeling jazzy? Stop by on Thursday evenings from 8:30-10:30pm for live jazz concerts!
One of Tel Aviv’s best kept secrets is hiding in plain sight! Thankfully, my amazing tour guide – Ruthie- from Delicious Israel knows all the best spots!
Alma Kel is one part food truck, one part speakeasy (it’s new and mostly word-of-mouth) and 100% delicious! On Friday, visit the Kerem near Shuk Carmel and look for the home painted like an ice cream truck. Not into a scavenger hunt? The address is Kerem HaTeimanim St 28. From 12pm until they’re sold out, you can buy handmade ice cream popsicles in delicious flavors like dulce de leche, salted caramel or chocolate, dipped in chocolate. Fun fact: Alma Kel means “on a stick” in Hebrew.
And if you’re STILL not convinced that you need to visit this under-the-radar gem, Aya is the cherry on top! She’s a very good girl with her own window where she likes to look out and greet customers.
Gelato by Lior Koka
I celebrated Purim in Israel dressed as an ice cream cone. More than one person noted the obvious similarity between my costume and the very Instagrammable ice cream cone by Lior Koka.
Lior Koka is a finalist from the TV show, Bake Off, and she’s quite the food influencer in Israel. Every time I passed Kiosk on Rothschild, there was a line of people waiting for the black #Vanilla soft serve. I tried it with the citron crumble and lemon sauce, but other options include caramel and popcorn, bubblegum and marshmallow and Oreos and chocolate or hazelnut and “nuts sauce” (possibly a translation error).
Not in the mood for an ice cream cone? At Gelato by Lior Koka, you can also choose a milkshake, gazoz or an affogato.
Let me tell you a very sad story. I stayed one street away from Golda for two months… but I didn’t visit until the night before I left the country. You can all pull out your tiny violins now.
I made the most of the trip and tried Salted Pretzel, Halva and Pistachio, and Pear and Wine. Despite summer weather coming on strong, I chose the Pear and Wine, which reminded me of a summery mulled wine.
Golda is a chain, and the exclusive representative of the famous Giuso Italian ice cream brand in Israel. Don’t let the word “chain” scare you off, though! They’re committed to using high quality raw materials with chocolate, cream and sorbet bases made in the Anita factory.
In most scenarios, I really hate the saying: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” But with Otello Gelato’s 80% gelato, 20% chocolate rule, it’s pretty appropriate. Here, when the gelato is gone, you’re left with a cone of chocolate, filled from continuously flowing milk and white chocolate fountains. Need MORE chocolatey goodness? Add a mini cone filled with chocolate to the top of your ice cream!
I loved their salted Oreo and white chocolate with hazelnuts in a cone filled with milk chocolate!
Hebrew is hard, but I’m trying to learn! This yogurt place, תמרה is pronounced Tamara. With my accent, I’ve been confusing friends for weeks because Tamara/tomorrow sound so similar! I need Tamara TODAY, not tomorrow!
This frozen yogurt shop off of Rothschild is one of the things I miss most about Tel Aviv. I recommend the original yogurt, topped with a scoop of passion fruit, halva, candied cashews and finished with a big scoop of milk chocolate!
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