Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
- Local Time
Despite being relatively young (it was founded in 1909), Tel Aviv already has a historic claim to fame: It’s home to the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus buildings – some 4,000 – earning its White City area a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. A more modern energy fuels the nightlife and 24/7 culture, making the Mediterranean destination an It spot for bons vivants.
where to stay
- The Norman Tel AvivFor the 1920s elegance
- Port Hotel Tel AvivFor the nightlife
- Hotel MontefioreFor art-deco vibes
- The Poli HouseFor the design cred and affordable rates
- The Carlton Tel AvivFor the beachfront access
- The DiaghilevFor the local art
eat & drink
Beach–side dining at Manta Ray The beef and lamb dishes at this seaside eatery are reliable, but the kitchen’s strength is seafood – especially scallops, shrimp and grouper, served in various combinations with a selection of sauces. The Alma Beach setting allows for excellent alfresco dining to the sound of the waves. Sizeable indoor and outdoor dining spaces can easily accommodate families and large groups, but call ahead for reservations.
Israeli tapas at Port Said Port Said draws crowds of young, hip Tel Avivians at all hours of the day, many from the tech start–ups that line nearby Rothschild Boulevard. Don’t let the chaos of beautiful people and blaring music distract you from celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s well–executed Israeli cuisine. The sharing–plates menu changes with the day and season, but the minute steak, served sizzling on a cast–iron platter, is a mainstay.
Kibbutz–style vibes at the Dining Hall Dishes are heavy on smoky eggplant, artichokes and beets at this Israeli hybrid inspired by the communal dining halls of the kibbutz. The restaurant is often packed and noisy, but the brisk, friendly service and location next to the Opera House make it an ideal spot to grab a quick bite before a show.
High–end kosher cuisine at Blue Sky Located on the roof of the beachside Carlton Hotel, Blue Sky is one of four restaurants in Tel Aviv from renowned chef, TV star and food writer Meir Adoni. Get ready for the most refined kosher dining experience in Israel: The cuisine combines Asian techniques and inspiration with local ingredients (mostly Mediterranean seafood), and the wine list is vast. Come on Friday afternoon for Adoni’s Far East–inspired brunch – think eggs tempura or smoked salmon banh mi.
Smoothies at Tamara Juice Bar You can’t miss this juice kiosk, located at the corner of lively Dizengoff and Ben Gurion Streets, thanks to its throngs of customers, piles of fruits and fringes of fresh herbs. Try the classic carrot–ginger juice or the orange, mango and strawberry smoothie. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for the iced coffee with bananas or a date–and–pomegranate–based concoction.
Brunch at Room Service Located in the gentrified Old North part of the city, Room Service is always open, but we recommend going for brunch; the bright shakshuka – eggs cooked in a spiced tomato sauce – is a must. Snag a table on the corner patio and watch people make their way a few blocks west to the beach while you sip a house cocktail.
what to do
Affordable local art at Under 1000 Every inch of the walls at the Under 1000 gallery is covered with artwork, from paintings to drawings to photography. Pieces by emerging artists hang next to those by established Israeli names like Moshe Kadishman and Yair Garbuz. All items in the gallery are for sale, and the maximum price is around ILS4,000 ($1,400). Located in the developing neighbourhood of Florentin, Under 1000’s exterior walls (like most in the area) are covered with evocative street art.
Push–ups at the beach’s outdoor gym These free outdoor gyms may look like playgrounds for grown–ups, but they’re way more than just a jungle gym. After a run along the beach, gaze out at the Mediterranean while doing push–ups and body–weight squats at the primary–coloured workout stations.
Barcelona–style Markets Building at the Tel Aviv Port Since the first deserted hangar was revamped over two decades ago, Tel Aviv Port (Namal Tel Aviv in Hebrew) at the north end of the city has grown into a chic social hub. While the sun is shining, stroll along the rolling wooden boardwalk, nibble your way through the Barcelona–style Markets Building and buy local fresh produce at the farmers’ market on Tuesdays and Fridays. In the evening, throw on party attire for a dining, drinking and dancing tour of the numerous bars, clubs and restaurants.
Shopping at Sarona The original homes, town hall, school and other buildings of 19th–century German settlers have been preserved and redeveloped as shops for top international brands and local designers, such as jewellery maker Tamar Mani and home–decor experts Arbitman’s. At the heart of Sarona is one of the city’s best food markets; find top–notch cheeses at Basher Fromagerie and desserts at Halva Kingdom.
A deeper understanding at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People One of the largest museums in the world specializing in the story of the Jewish people, this longstanding institution explores diaspora and history as far back as 4,000 years. Don’t miss the wing that opened in 2016, featuring a history of synagogues and a children’s gallery.
Grilled meat and craft brews at Carmel Market With its sky–high piles of fruit, vegetables, cheap clothing and costume jewellery – plus enough shouting, bargaining and jockeying to make your head spin – the Carmel Market is a must–visit. Come hungry and try the cheap, plentiful street food, like cheesy breadsticks from Mafiyat Lechemim or grilled meats at M25, the restaurant wing of one of Tel Aviv’s best butchers, located next door. Take a break from the heat at Beer Bazaar and quench your thirst with one of the 80 Israeli craft brews on offer.
Pollocks and Picassos at Tel Aviv Museum of Art Israel’s leading museum of modern and contemporary art features paintings by Miró, Pollock and Picasso alongside major Israeli works, including sculptures by Itzhak Danziger and Rudi Lehmann. The museum is part of the city’s Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center, which also houses the Cameri Theater and the Israeli Opera – both worth seeing if you can snag tickets.