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I spend a lot of time in Tel Aviv and truly think it’s one of the culinary capitals of the world!  Below are some of my favorite spots to try.  For options on where to STAY, SHOP, and what to DO, please check out last week’s post, Destination Tel Aviv, Take One!

EAT

Yavne-Montefiore is the newest darling of celebrated chef Jonathan Roshfeld and is conveniently located across from the Hotel Montefiore. Bistro style atmosphere with yummy eats.  I loved sitting at the circular bar looking out at the diners and chatting up the wait staff.

Dallal Bakery located in the trendy Neve Tzedek is the perfect spot for a morning pastry, coffee and the paper (or your guidebook!)

If you come to Tel Aviv and don’t go to Abu Hassan, you have seriously missed out!  Perched on a hill in Jaffa with a sea view while you wait, this old school spot serves hummus three ways:  traditional hummus, fool, and masabaha (my favorite).  Masabaha is served warm with whole chickpeas.  All are served with fresh pita, quartered onions (sweetest you’ve ever eaten) and a spicy green pepper sauce.  They don’t have napkins so don’t ask.  Wash up after at the sink on the wall.  So heavenly that you’ll find me there everyday for breakfast or lunch.

Tip:  when you finish your meal at Abu Hassan, walk around the corner to literally a ‘hole in the wall’ where a man sells sweet cookies from his kitchen window.

Yoezer Wine Bar in Jaffa is one of those culinary classics that I had actually never been to until this last trip.  Located in a dark cave with mix and match wooden tables and chairs, with candles burning everywhere, what’s not to like?  When a local reviewer was asked which 5 dishes were his favorite in Tel Aviv, he replied that he wished he could choose all the dishes at this old time favorite.

Dr. Shakshuka is another classic and one of my favorites.  Also in Jaffa, shakshuka is the dish to get.  Served in a hot skillet fresh off the flame, sunny side eggs sit with roasted red peppers and tomato.  Pair that with fresh mint lemonade (soooooo delicious) and opt to sit outside at one of the large communal tables.

Abraxas North is definitely the restaurant of the moment.  Try the famous shrimp in a pita, the roasted butternut squash, and the beet carpaccio.  The chef takes a whole beet (dirt and all) and roasts it in a wood burning oven for eight hours until the outside is black.  Then he slices thinly and lays out on a piece of parchment paper.  The paper is placed in front of you and the server plops a glob of creme fraiche and a fistful of coarse sea salt on the side.  Reserve and request an outside table or the inside bar.

Classic schnitzel is the best bet at the always crowded Cafe Noir.  And don’t miss yam pancakes with a sour cream and chive sauce at Orna and Ella.  There is always a line at Benedict where eggs are served all day and all night.  I often start my day outside with a cappuccino and a book at Rothschild 12, and love late night dinners at Brasserie (both from our friends at Hotel Montefiore).  Herbert Samuel is always delicious and sits across from the sea.  Or you can be on the sea dining on ‘mezze’ at the ever popular Mantaray

Want even more Tel Aviv?  For tips on what to PACK, check out my Destination:  Tel Aviv Collection on ThisNext.com!  http://bit.ly/k9VQW9

Tel Aviv is the city where my husband grew up and is in fact the city where we met. Each year we make our way back for what always seems like too short a visit no matter how many extra days we tag on.  Here are some of my favorite spots in ‘ The White City.’

STAY

Hotel Montefiore is hot.  A three story renovated Bauhaus building in ‘the heart’ of town, Hotel Montefiore houses small elegant rooms on the top floors and a seriously good restaurant and bar below.  Rooms are white with comfortable beds and modern baths.  The place has a chic bed and breakfast feel with a friendly and knowledgeable staff.  Tell them you are beach bound and they will outfit you with a beach bag complete with towels and sunscreen.

The Varsano Hotel is a newcomer in the hotter than hot Neve Tzedek neighborhood. More like staying in your own pied-a-terre, each of the rooms has its own entrance from a courtyard with larger rooms, each with a kitchen, washer/dryer, living area and bedroom.  I loved the Smeg refrigerators and Nespresso machine in each room.

DO

If you’ve been reading my blog you may have guessed that I’m obsessed with bikes!  And Tel Aviv is the latest city to offer bikes for hire from stations all over town.  They had just installed the stations when I was there and hadn’t yet put in the bikes.  Can’t wait to explore this option when I return.

Tel Aviv is all about the beach and there are about a dozen to choose from. LaLa Land is always a favorite with low tables and chairs sitting in the sand under a ceiling of wall to wall white umbrellas.  Order fresh watermelon and feta and keep your toes cool in the sand while watching the kite surfers roll the waves.  Or play backgammon under the stars. . .

Stroll down Rothschild Boulevard at dusk and take in all the Bauhaus architecture that lines the way.  Food kiosks and Petanque ball courts dot the grassy median.

Visit Carmel Market to take in all the local sounds and smells.  Buy local produce and try a fresh pressed pomegranate juice and a Jerusalem bagel.

Adjacent to the Carmel Market is Nahalat Binyamin, a local crafts market.  Open two days a week, local artisans come to show their work.  I bought my daughter hand sewn soft toys like a telephone, camera, and a tool kit from a former lawyer who was sewing at a machine right on the spot!

Looking to get your culture on?  Start your evening with a performance by the critically-acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company at the Suzanne Dellal Center for the Arts.

SHOP

I love to wander the streets and find gems tucked away on small streets in the Neve Tzedek.  Hafatzim is a beautiful home store there that makes me want to call Tel Aviv home.  Jewelry stores abound.

COOL FACT:  Tel Aviv is know as ‘The White City’ because of its’ collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus buildings.

EAT

What can I say?  I love to eat, and Tel Aviv has some of my favorite restaurants on earth.  There are so many culinary delights, I’m devoting my next blog to dining in Tel Aviv!  Stay tuned. . .

 

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