CITY GUIDE TEL AVIV
“There is magic in the city and a scent of infinite possibilities in the air,” my Israeli-born friend rhapsodises about her hometown. Tel Aviv presents the third largest economy in the Middle East, just short of desert superpowers Dubai and Abu Dhabi. ‘Silicon Wadi’, as it is commonly known, has quietly developed itself to be the second most fertile ground for young technology businesses. Following its Californian counterpart, Silicon Valley, each year a big number of start-ups are planting their roots in the Israeli costal city. It was the tech industry, which was the main trigger for my visit in autumn 2015. In Hebrew, ‘Aviv’ means spring, or growth to be precise. It is the idea and the process of a seed turning into something beautiful, which does not only apply to the season of spring, but also to city of Tel Aviv. The city holds a special mix of energy, where religion and tradition fuse with youth culture and innovation.
I recommend to kickstart your day with a coffee from Rothshild Coffee Kisok, Cafelix or Espresso Bar, before you get yourself some breakfast, or brunch, at Benedict or Café Xoho. Whilst the city has become increasingly popular amongst the tech scene, it has not lost its charm. To grasp the historic feel, I suggest wandering through the old city of Jaffa. Let yourself get lost in side streets and amongst its tiny shops and market stalls. Also, make sure to pay Abu Hassan a visit. People have different views, but many say that this place serves the best hummus in town. Venture onwards and browse through Camel Market, where you can try freshly prepared local specialities and really feel the energy of Tel Aviv. In contrast, if you appreciate architecture and design, you must stop by the ‘White City’, which is composed of thousands of Bauhaus-inspired buildings. Continuing from the appreciation of design, the Alon Segev Gallery and the Center For Contemperory Art should be added to the list. For a quick bite in between, stop-by Miznon for fantastic pitas or Ha’achim, which are both open from noon until late.
Towards the end of your day, I suggest to find yourself a spot at Rothschild 12. It is not only a great place to enjoy a coffee during the day, but more so it is your ideal location to transition from day to night. Similar can be said about Port Said, which is another laid-back bar around the corner. A short walk away from Rothschild begins the bohemian Florentin district. There are number of cools bars to hop in and out for a drink around the area. Diego San and Mezcal offer great cocktails with a Latin twist in the heart of Israel, and Kuli Alma is a local institution that is most certainly not to be missed. If you leave Florentin behind, Shaffa Bar and Anna Loulou are two great alternatives up the road in Jaffa. As the night progress and you feel like putting on your dancing shoes, you may want to check out Secret Garden Bar. As the temperatures at night are mostly mild, this open air club plays good house music and is set in a cool location. For the ones that love live music and enjoy the sounds of drums and guitars, Jajo Vino and Uganda will please your soul, on the other side, The Block Club and Solo Club are made for those that appreciate electronic sounds.
FOOD & DRINK
One of my favourite place for dinner was Dalida. It is small restaurant with a lovely little patio in its back. They prepare great sharing menus, which they allow you to customize, and they come with a choice of cocktails. You must try the Brioche Steak and the Punch Berlin. Not too far away from Dalida, you find Joz Vez Loz, which is yet another cosy place. I know it is not everybody’s thing, but personally I thought that the bone marrow tasted ace. Away from the cosiness, Kalamata or Manta Ray are two of the cities best places to eat fish, plus to enjoy breathtaking views across the sea. Talking about food, I do not get around mentioning Yaffo, which is one of the Tel Aviv's best restaurants to eat. Last but not least are my top three Mediterranean-inspired places, which are Bindella, Messa and Claro.
Tel Aviv offers heaps of small boutiques that stock unique products, which are often made in Israel. Papier is a lovely little shop with a great selection of accessories and gifts, whilst Saga and Inn7 are focused on more extraordinary staple pieces. When it comes to sneakers, the market is still fairly niche, but if in need Sneakerbox is your best bet. Whilst my suggestions of shops are not too vast, I walked past an array of pretty stores in Jaffa and Neve Tzedek, so I recommend to go for a wander there and surprise yourself.
The Brown TLV Urban Hotel is one of the hippest hotels in the city and has a stunning sundeck. Its younger sister the Brown Beach House is just as cool, but as the name suggests located a few steps closer the beach. Alternatively, Hotel Inidgo offers all the necessary amenities and an incredible rooftop pool with views across Tel Aviv. Lastly, Hotel Montifore is yet another top-notch place for you stay and particularly known for its mouthwatering brunch.