Levinsky Market guide starts with basics (map, history, opening hours), and then we will tour the market. Let’s begin!
On One Foot
Levinsky Market is a small market named after the street it is located on (Levinsky street). And it is a specialty market. Unlike Carmel Market and other markets in Tel Aviv, you can not find all the food groups there. Levinsky Market specializes in spices, dried fruits, and nuts. And similarly to other markets, in recent years, this became a trendy area with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and chef-owned establishments.
Levinsky Market is located on Levinsky Street in Tel Aviv. Largely on Levinsky Street between Ha’Aliya and Ha-Mashbir Streets.
Map of the area:
If you are walking to the Levinsky Market, then you can set the navigation app to Levinsky Street 59 or 28, Tel Aviv.
In case you are using public transport, then a variety of buses reaches this area. Here is already a preset link to Moovit. Just enter your starting point, and you will get the updated directions.
And if you are driving then you will need to find parking.
There are several paid parking lots in the area. The closest one is Levinsky center parking at Hashuk Street 8. I usually park further away at Beit Hadar Parking Lot. It is located at HaRakevet Street 3, and I prefer it due to its proximity to Ayalon highway.
There are many stores, stalls, and restaurants in the market and its surroundings. Each of them has its opening hours. Thus if you are interested in a specific place, check its opening hours. And the hours I am going to list now, are the common ones when most stores are open.
Sunday – Thursday: 9:00 – 17:00.
Friday: 08:00 – 13:00.
Saturday and Jewish holidays – closed.
Note: most restaurants are open till late.
History Of Levinsky Market
During the 1930s, Tel Aviv was home to a small group of Jews from Saloniki, Greece. David Florentin was considered the leader of the group, which, together with his pioneering activities for developing the city, earned him the nickname ‘David Palestina’. Most of the working-class immigrants settled in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood now-called Florentin, after David Florentin’s nephew Solomon Florentin, who was the first contractor in the area.
Before long, a range of spice shops and eateries opened up across the neighborhood, specializing in Balkan cuisine – and that’s how this marketplace came to be what we know today. Legend even has it, that the first spice blends for early-State home cooking were created in, by and for these neighborhood residents.
With the creation of the State of Israel, an influx of Iranian immigrants to downtown Tel Aviv brought with it new tastes and herbs from Persian cooking. And as the population grew, so did the market place, developing from its nuts and spice stalls into a bustling, commercial marketplace with luxury stores and gourmet restaurants.
Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official site.
Tasting tours became quite popular in Israel, and you can find them in many markets in Israel.
If you visit on a Friday morning, then you will see many touring groups. Different firms offer a variety of tours and if you want a more in-depth experience, then consider joining one of the tours.
Stores at Levinsky Market
And now let’s walk through Levinsky Market and see what it has to offer.
The market consists of many small stores, that specialize in spices, dried fruits, and nuts. Beyond these categories you can also find delicatessen. Here is for example Chaim Raphael.
This delicatessen was founded in 1958 by Chaim Raphael, a Holocaust survivor from Saloniki, Greece. It started as a small grocery store and, over the years, grew into a well-reputed delicatessen that was an integral part of Tel Aviv’s historical culinary ventures. Today, the store boasts a steady stream of regulars who come for its wide selection of gourmet cheeses, cured olives, and meats – all prepared by traditional methods, recipes handed over by generations of Raphaels.
Chaim and his grandson, Tzadik, take pride in their traditional methods, but more in their love and respect for their food and cuisine. Weekend items include leek patties, meatballs, and stuffed vegetables like grape leaves and peppers.
I have not made an extensive price comparison but checked several kinds of nuts, and the prices on the market were lower than in our supermarket.
The older stores usually have some sign that indicates their status. It can be an informational sign or simply writing the foundation year.
The perfect fromagerie for fans of local and imported cheeses, cured olives and other delicacies suited to the tastes of hard and soft cheeses. Especially recommended at this shop is a salty Iraqi cheese that when put in hot water takes on a stretchy or gummy consistency, perfect for summer dining with ripe, sweet watermelon.
HaChalban is a small store with olives and cheese. And I liked their cheese shaped lamps.
PEREG GOURMET is one of the more known firms in Israel. It was established in 1906, and it is a family business that produces 60 varieties of spices, spice blends, and herbs.
The Shuk Levinsky branch of this nation-wide chain of spices is the most successful of all other franchises, perhaps a testament to the high culinary standards of local Tel Aviv residents. Founded by Chaim Pereg, formerly Parig, the Pereg Spices empire offers a wide range of local and Middle Eastern spices and herb blends of top quality, as well as olive oils made with traditional methods.
There are additional stores, but I think that by this point you get the point. Moreover, you are probably hungry, so let’s continue to the next section.
Restaurants and Food Stalls
There are many restaurants and food stalls in this area. And I usually suggest to check the current rating and choose accordingly. That is because the quality of a place can change quickly, and many of the food joints close over time. Nonetheless, I will mention several businesses.
When you walk at Levinsky street, you will see several places selling Bourekas.
There are two famous places in the market. They are Burekas Penso and Levinsky Burekas. But let’s start with the basics.
Bourekas are a popular Israeli baked pastry of Sephardi Jewish origin. Bourekas are made in a wide variety of shapes and a vast selection of fillings and are typically made with either boureka dough, puff pastry, phyllo dough, or brik pastry, depending on the origin of the baker.
Borekase’s origin is Börek (also burek), and it came together with Jewish immigrants from Turkey. It is a family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as phyllo. The shape indicates the filling. The most standard is probably triangular ones, and they are usually filled with salty cheese. They are high in saturated fats (the dough is traditionally made with margarine or butter), thus considered by many as junk food. But, once in a while, it is ok 😉
For more than 70 years, Burekas Panso has been cooking up delicious, crispy, and fresh-baked pastries like burekas, the longer, and U-shaped Turkish-style burekas, and a Balkan version of the Middle Eastern slow-baked-dough Lachmajin. Wash down any of these hand-made delicacies with a range of sweet and fresh beverages such as Balkan summer cold yogurt drink Ayran, Tamarind juice, fresh-squeezed pomegranate and carrot juice, and almond drink. For dessert, try the Sotlatch, a sweet milk-cooked rice, or the Kadaif nest of honey and nuts.
Burekas Levinsky makes all their burekas by hand, with no margarine, and even offer a range of custom mixes alongside the traditional fillings.
The classical serving of a Bourekas is with a boiled egg, olives and spices.
On one of our visits to Levinsky Market, we visited HaTahinia. It is an exciting concept. You can Hummus joints everywhere. But what about one of its main ingredients, the tahini.
Here is what timeout magazine says about them:
After returning from culinary school in Paris and interning with three Michelin star restaurant owner Alain Ducasse, Chef Yehonatan Barbi came back to Israel to open his restaurant with a tahini theme. The dishes are mostly tapas-style, the atmosphere is colorful and joyful, the Ouzo and wine selection is plentiful, and the tahini comes in a diverse variety of mixtures, textures, and flavors. Everything is made from fresh ingredients right in front of customers. Including dishes like Tunisian-style potatoes with pickled fish, lemon, tomato, capers, olives, tahini and spices, and eggplant balls with red quinoa on harissa tahini over pickled and spiced vegetables, the menu is expansive, intricate, and mostly vegan.
We enjoyed the food and definitely return in the future.
Since we filled our dried fruits, nuts stocks, and ate lunch, it is time to leave Levinsky Market and head to the summary section.
Similar to other Markets In Tel Aviv And Jaffa, Levinsky Market is more than a site to buy food. It is also a place to grab something to eat, learn about food by joining a tour, and get a feel of Tel Aviv’s vibe. For the mentioned reasons, if you have the time, then I would recommend visiting this market.
Have you ever been to the Levinsky Market? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.