Dizengoff Center Food Fair, a 22-Year-Old Tel Aviv Tradition
Looking at the fresh, homemade food at the weekly Dizengoff Center Food Fair will make your mouth water. That's a fact! Since 1997, this best kept secret among the locals has made this a cherished Israeli tradition, which many tourists miss during their Tel Aviv stay.
The concept of restaurants selling prepared food for Shabbat is common in many locations across the country, but this food fair is an experience unlike any other. It has 35 vendors (the number can fluctuate), and dishes from all over the world, including baked goods and fruit.
Exotic and Savory Food
Have you ever wanted to try exotic food such as Persian, Iraqi, Moroccan, Druze, or Tunisian, for example? Or do your taste buds prefer savory Italian, Mexican, or Eastern European Jewish food? You can find fresh, prepared homemade food from the above listed cuisines and from many other cultures. Most of the vendors serve vegan and vegetarian options alongside their carnivore platters, and many also serve kosher food. No one is left out of these culinary delights; there is something for everyone.
Look for the Jewish stand with the gefilte fish, if you crave some traditional Eastern European Jewish food, or if you would like to purchase the tasting card. The card allows you to sample either three or five dishes from vendors that participate in the tasting card program, which is indicated with a Tasting Card sticker, as seen above.
You can sample five dishes for 70 NIS, or three tastings for 40 NIS. The tasting card does not include fish dishes.
The fair is located in Dizengoff Center, 50 Dizengoff St., Building B (floor 1 and -1) and runs all-year-round, on Thursdays from 12:00-20:00 and on Fridays from 10:00-16:00 (may close earlier on Fridays during the winter). The prices are quite reasonable, starting at about 25 NIS. You can enjoy delicious homemade food on the spot, or you can have it packed up to go.
Navigating Dizengoff Center
Dizengoff Center is a popular tourist destination. Many Tel Aviv tourists at one point or another end up meandering through Dizengoff Center. So how do so many miss this weekly event?
The mall's layout is quite unique. The main mall is divided into Building A and Building B. Most people enter the mall through Building A because it has the most entrances, with many passersby entering from the corner of Dizengoff and King George Streets.
It's easy to walk around Building A and not realize what awaits you on the other side because the spiral design of the mall will lead you up and around the winding path and back out the same building. Building B is mainly accessed either by entering from the east side of Dizengoff St. (as seen in the above photo), or by following the signs in the mall that lead to Building B. It's definitely not your typical mall. There are often jokes circulating among Israelis about how people get lost for years wandering around Dizengoff Center looking for the exit.
The food fair is a good reason to become acquainted with the mall, since the event is more than just a tasty culinary experience. It is part of the local Tel Aviv culture, which is steeped in tradition and is still going strong after 22 years.