I have always wanted to visit Tel Aviv, especially to experience the city’s vibrant food culture. It was everything I hoped it would be and more… vibrant markets, a thriving street food scene and excellent local restaurants. But aside from food, Tel Aviv also boasts historic sites, long beaches, and a renowned nightlife. Despite the ongoing political unrest it is a place to celebrate being alive and it is impossible not to have fun while you are here.
Florentin House – Florentin House is a stylish modern hostel in the hip Florentin area of Tel Aviv. This lively part of the city is filled with bars, galleries and independent designer stores, and the streets have a fun friendly vibe. There are an assortment of rooms on offer at Florentin House, shared dorms and private doubles. The private rooms are spacious and decorated in pristine white with minimalist details.
Miznon – This gourmet fast food is a must try in Tel Aviv. Celebrity Chef Eyal Shani has a number of great culinary spots in the city. Miznon is known for its filled pittas, grilled meat and roasted whole cauliflowers. The vibrant flavours and cheap prices make this eatery popular at all times of day. There is now a Miznon branch in Paris too.
Milk Bakery – For the best babka in town head to this stylish little bakery… they also make great coffee.
Hakosem – Hakosem is known for its fresh and flavoursome falafel. Expect to find large portions, friendly service and pittas filled with the best herby green falafel in Tel Aviv. When there is a long queue the staff will keep your appetite at bay with delicious tasters.
Abu Hassan – This Jaffa institution opened in 1959, and is known best for its irresistible hummus. Many say it’s the only hummus worth waiting in line for.
Shlomo & Doron – Another hummus stop, Shlomo & Doron is found in the centre of Carmel Market. The restaurant was started by Shlomo in 1937 and is now run by his grandson Doron. Order a bowl of the humshuka (a mix of hummus, shakshuka, tahini, olive oil and parsley) which is served with a pile of warm pitta.
Port Said – This hipster restaurant is a great place to try creative Israeli cuisine. The roasted sweet potato dish was particularly delicious. Get there early as the venue doesn’t take reservations and there is usually a wait.
The Old Man and the Sea – There are two branches of the Old Man and the Sea… walk a little further South from Jaffa to reach the less touristy and more authentic venue. The restaurant was started in 1999 by the Jonas family, and is named after an award-winning book which tells the story of a poor and rebellious Cuban fisherman. The atmosphere is great fun as the waiters bring over about 18 small plates of different meze for you to enjoy. You can also order grilled fish or meat but we were more than satisfied with the Mediterranean tapas.
Nahat – Speciality coffee lovers should make Nahat their first caffeine stop in Tel Aviv. This cafe and micro-roaster opened in 2015, they have four varieties of single-origin and four blends to choose from. All the beans are roasted and blended at the back of the venue while the cafe at the front is always full of locals sipping their beautifully smooth cup of coffee.
Origem – Found on Dizengoff Street, Origem serves a wide range of beans, which they source and roast themselves. There is a range of Brazilian snacks and desserts to accompany your coffee.
Milk & Honey – This hip whisky distillery was established in 2013 by a group of friends who had a dream to create a successful (and delicious) Israeli single malt. Take a tour round the distillery, learn about the process, and taste and smell the raw materials used for this special spirit.
Levinsky Market – Found in South Tel Aviv Levinsky Market operates daily, though it is most active on Fridays. Locals come to stock up on spices, nuts and seeds, while tourists wander round in amazement as the bright colours and fragrant scents flood the senses.
Carmel Market – This huge and exciting marketplace is in the centre of town and has a wide variety of food, clothes and flowers. Walk through the sprawling stalls and stop by the little restaurants that serve some of the best food in town.
Tel Aviv Beaches – Much of Tel Aviv is on the coast, which means there are plenty of sandy beaches to enjoy in the warmer months. Many locals spend the whole day by the sea, I recommend taking a one hour walk from one end to the other, or stopping by for a spectacular sunset sighting.
Zielinski & Rozen – An atmospheric perfumery in the Jaffa district with a range of aromatic soaps, candles, perfumes and bespoke fragrances. The company is owned by a husband and wife duo who make it their mission to find the perfect scent for you. We couldn’t resist a bottle of the mysterious and alluring Vetiver musk eau de parfum.
Sharon Brunsher – This sophisticated lifestyle and concept shop by Sharon Brunsher has a collection of minimalist monochrome clothing, leather accessories and stylish homeware, all designed and made in Israel.
Jerusalem – It takes just an hour to drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Once you are at the Holy City spend a few hours wandering round the old town to see the main historic sites before settling for lunch at Machneyuda restaurant.
More information about visiting Tel Aviv here.