The best hummus in Tel Aviv (and the world?): Abu Hassan
Hummus has become something very standard in the West, with even the smallest cornershops in London stocking a pot or two in their cold section. I love the stuff, and it’s often an easy weeknight fix, along with some pita. I’ve even made it myself before – you can find some of my experiments here.
But there’s hummus, and there’s HUMMUS. I knew I’d be having the latter on my recent trip to Israel, but I didn’t realise just how hummus this hummus would be.
Abu Hassan was recommended to me by every single person who gave me tips about Tel Aviv. And our hostel receptionist assured us that although it was marked on the tourist map, even he thought it was the best in the country.
And so we planned our first day in the capital around this chickpea paste, making sure it fit between our stroll down the beach promenade and the free tour of Jaffa. We walked in and were waved over to a free table within a couple of minutes. “Hummus?” he asks. We nod vigorously. “Falafel?” More nods. 3 minutes later, it arrives. We take our warm, fresh, soft pita and dip. And dip. And dip.
It is seductively smooth. It has steaming, soft chickpeas on top. It has exactly the right amount of tahina. There’s a sprinkling of cumin in one corner and chili in another.
We had one more day in Tel Aviv at the end of our trip and went back to Abu Hassan for breakfast (it’s open until 2pm, or until there’s no more hummus, so head there early if you can!). But this time, we ordered one bowl each, because we realised that there are some things that are worth being selfish for. We also ordered the labneh, which was nice, but not worth wasting precious stomach space that could have been used for hummus!
Abu Hassan has no airs and graces. There’s a lot of shouting, no table adornments, and you are expected to leave as soon as your bowl is empty. But you can always expect a smile from the staff, and the best hummus of your life – so who needs napkins?
Another Tel Aviv establishment worth mentioning is Casbah, a supremely hipster restaurant that was just minutes away from our hostel, in the Florentin district. The food is simple but inexpensive, and the wall art certainly provides food for thought. Animal cut outs from National Geographic are combined with celebrity heads and mounted on cereal boxes, and the lovely sweet Riesling is served in mismatched glasses. Order the Balkan Shakshuka any time of the day, and glory in their fresh bread, covered in garlic and za’atar.
Read more about my trip to Israel here.