Levinsky Market: Beyond the Obvious Culinary Gem
Why you should visit Tel Aviv's lesser known market
A popular local foodie hotspot, Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Market overflows with wafting aromas and succulent flavors from around the world. Shops and restaurants entice passers-by to taste, enjoy and experience their delicacies. With a magical history entrenched in the stories of the immigrant vendors who established the marketplace, visiting Levinsky Market is far more than frequenting an obvious culinary gem. It is like experiencing history and traveling the world; all from within a few Tel Aviv city blocks.
A history as rich as its culinary creations
The Levinsky Market was founded in Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood in the 1930’s by Balkan immigrants. As the years passed, immigrants from other countries arrived, adding to the wide variety and rich array of cuisines available on site. If the shops’ walls could talk, they would recount the fabulous tales of trials and tribulations amid growth and in a new land. Tales that form the fabric of the marketplace and the interactions that take place within its bounds. Tales of a love for food that unite shops and their owners of all ethnic backgrounds.
The flavors continue to impress
Today, several of the market’s shops are run by descendants of the original shop owners. The stores continue to sell items and delicacies brought to Israel by their predecessors. Despite the passing years, the flavors remain sublime and the shops continue to be patronized by loyal local customers.
Why tourists have yet to discover this gem - but should
Tourists know about Tel Aviv’s Carmel market, a site that exudes Middle Eastern charm and attracts foreigners looking to haggle for produce and souvenirs to bring back home. Tourists however, are less aware of Levinsky Market. They want to experience Israel in Israel, not at an international culinary fair. Yet, Israel was founded by immigrants, is inhabited by immigrants and has blossomed thanks to immigrants. Every Israeli was once an immigrant; or was born to one. If tourists truly want to experience Israel, they must learn and internalize the rich culture the country was founded upon - including its culinary heritage.
Guided tours transport tourists through time as they walk through the Levinsky Market, discussing the bountiful heritage entrenched within the marketplace and addressing where the freshest baked goods can be found, which stalls offer authentic Balkan-style snacks, and more.
Another lesser-known local gem is the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue, built in the 1940’s and once managed by Yossi Gabai, one of the city’s founding fathers.
The Levinsky Market is a cultural and culinary gem. Well-known to the locals, but less frequented by tourists, Levinsky Market is a must-see location on any culinary-oriented tour. Culinary tourism in Israel has grown exponentially as of late, with tour programs such as Birthright Israel planning culinary Israel trips, among their many ten-day country-wide tours.