Shuk HaCarmel, the Carmel Market, is a marketplace in Tel Aviv dedicated to just about every facet of contemporary Israeli life. The outdoor market is the largest in Tel Aviv and its entrance is located at the junction of Allenby, King George, and Sheinkin Streets. It runs predominantly along Carmel Street and has expanded over the years to include peripheral streets, such as Nachalat Binyamin. The market remains open every day, save for Shabbat. Stall owners begin their day at around 3am, preparing displays and readying for the busy influx of locals and tourists patrolling the thoroughfare for food, trinkets, clothing, appliances, and much more. Tuesdays and Fridays are referred to as signature days for the market as they include local vendors selling jewelry, crafts, and art.
The Carmel Market first opened in 1920, 11 years after the founding of Tel Aviv. The Shuk became a mainstay of the city by the 1950’s and people descended on the market in drives each day to purchase essentials for the home. It became known as the best direct source for local produce. Municipal officials attempted to relocate the market to a more central position in Tel Aviv, but failed as locals preferred the neighborhood charm of the Carmel location. The Shuk suffered a significant downturn in traffic during bombings that took place throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. However, today the market has rebounded thanks to interest from locals and visitors in local produce and experiential shopping.
While it originally featured simple home accessories, meats, and produce, today the market has grown to include all manner of boutique shops, bakeries, and beauty salons.
The foot traffic in the Market may immediately be intimidating for some, but there are less cluttered avenues branching off the main stretch of the market. Many of the market’s hidden gems reside within these narrow alleys and are places that locals frequent while tourists often overlook them.
The portion of the market located at the meeting of Allenby, King George, and Sheinkin Streets places an emphasis on clothing, electronics, and souvenirs for tourists. As one travels down through the market, towards Carmel Street and the Carmel bus depot, shops offer fresh juices, produce, meats, and home accessories like cookware, appliances, and linens.
Haggling is an integral part of the Shuk experience. Small purchases of things like produce and meat generally do not necessitate haggling, but in clothing and souvenir shops owners are more than willing to make a deal for your business.
Carmel Bus Depot
Located at the foot of the Market, the Carmel Bus Depot is one block from the Tayelet, Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade. The depot operates bus lines that travel throughout the city and its peripheral suburbs. This way, it is very easy to complete your shopping experience at the Shuk and catch an affordable ride home. Restrooms are available on premises.
There are many restaurants of note located in the Market and many of them are as iconic as the market themselves.
Humus HaCarmel 11 delivers authentic Israeli cuisine with simple, yet flavourful dishes. Falafel, humus, tahini, tszrug, and many other iconic dishes of the region can be ordered here affordably and with great results. Seating is limited and the freshest humus is available when the doors open, though it goes so fast there is rarely an opportunity for dissatisfaction.
HaBasta, or “the Stall”, is a trendy tapas-style restaurant with a reputation quality. The menu is hand-written every day and dishes are served based on the fresh ingredients the market provides. Prices are mid-level to expensive, but there is rarely disappointment. The restaurant has been in operation for decades and offers an expansive wine selection. Whether enjoying brunch, lunch, or dinner, HaBasta is a must-experience for everyone at least once. Seating is available both indoors and outside when weather permits.
HaMinzar, or “The Monastery”, is a bar and restaurant that caters to clientele day and night. A venue that closes when the sun comes up but for a few hours, HaMinzar offers some of the best finger food and drinks in the area. An expansive patio seating area and elevated indoor bar make this charming space one that locals and visitors alike flock to.
Savtot Mevshlot, or “Grandma’s Cooking”, homecook meals and one-bite treats for shoppers on the move and those looking for a place to rest and reenergize with savory dishes. These recipes have been served up at the restaurant for more than 50 years and delighting patrons with comfort food at very affordable prices.