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There are few cities in the world like Tel Aviv – the weather is great, the food is delicious and there is always a new place to explore. The city is warm, vibrant, and constantly evolving.
Tel Aviv sometimes feels like a village, but it’s not just its relatively small size that makes it so accessible and easy to get around. The White City is also known for its openness, its welcoming atmosphere, and the sense of freedom it evokes.
On any given night, groups of friends and colleagues are found gathering at one of the many local restaurants around town, sharing a few meals and maybe a cocktail or two. Like its American counterpart – New York – Tel Aviv is recognized as the city that never sleeps (except its official tagline is “nonstop city”) and there are always several events and gatherings happening simultaneously.
As 2018 comes to a close, we at Telavivian are rounding up 10 spots that make for a special evening out in the city, and which are worth a visit in 2019.
Located in the beautiful The Norman hotel, which is worthy of a visit on its own, Alena has built on an elegant interior and a keen attention to exclusively locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients to become one of the finest restaurants in the city.
From the braised leeks with pecorino cheese to the beef tenderloin skewers served with broccoli and horseradish sour cream, and the sprawling breakfast buffet featuring homemade quiches, shakshuka, and eggs royale, Alena offers a surprise at every turn.
Claro’s chef Ran Shmueli uses solely local and seasonal produce in a kitchen that draws inspiration from across the Meditteranean with a heavy focus on fruits and vegetables. The menu is updated daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch during weekends for exciting dining experiences.
Items on the restaurant’s business lunch offerings for December 2018 include kohlrabi soup with sumac and parmesan, Mediterranean fish confit bruschetta with olives, labaneh-spinach, and tomatoes, and Lamb spareribs with pumpkin cream, masabacha hummus, and spicy coriander vinegar.
The restaurant is located in an impressive original Templar building dating back to 1886, which makes the dining experience even richer. The building also hosted the headquarters of the British command during World War II, and served as Israel’s official State Printing Office.
Claro also hosts private events and a lounge bar twice a week.
CoffeeBar is one of the most iconic spots in the city, and has been serving Tel Avivians since 1994. It is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Fridays. It is also a perfect place for a cocktail with friends.
Dinner items include dishes such as red tuna with papaya, kohlrabi and herbs, and chicken liver pate with marinated pear served on sourdough.
For health-conscious dinners who refuse to compromise on flavor, Meshek Barzilay is the place to go to. It is a charming vegan restaurant in the heart of the beautiful Neve Tzedek neighborhood.
Meshek Barzilay’s winter menu includes a provincial onion soup, root vegetable patties, an endive salad, and an item called the “Rapunzel” which is an avocado and beat ceviche served with cream of lima beans and buckwheat.
Meshek Barzilay also has a delicatessen that offers a prepared food bar with items such as spinach lasagna, tofu shawarma, bean noodle salad, and antipasti, a bakery with breads and cookies for sale, a shake counter and an organic grocery.
It also hosts private events and cooking classes for the public.
Opa is another plant-based eatery in the world’s vegan capital, located inside Levinsky Market. Chef Shirel Berger is passionate about finding innovating ways to approach vegan food and creates unique menus with fresh, seasonal and local products.
Fermented plum with pickled ginger and white onion puree, oyster mushrooms with crispy tapioca, and aubergine with smoked pine nut puree are just of the few items on the menu.
Like its clean menu, Opa boasts a minimalist, simple space that’s stunning to look at.
Located behind the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv, Santa Katarina is a charming local spot with outdoor seating where the vibes of the city are clearly felt.
Chef Tomer Agay mixes the traditional with modern for a redefined Israeli cuisine. Starters on the lunch menu include eggplant salad and Jerusalem bagel with tahini and sour cream, while the dinner menu offers items such as roasted gnocchi and spaghetti calamari.
The most fun way to eat in Tel Aviv is by sharing a few dishes with a group of friends – and this is one of the perfect places to do it.
Thai at Har Sinai
Thai at Har Sinai serves up spicy, colorful cocktails and even hotter Thai home cooking. From salads and soups to curries and grilled chicken and seafood served with jasmine rice, sticky rice or bowls of greens, the menu is a celebration of Thai cuisine.
The restaurant is usually very busy, has a vibrant music playlist, and great staff.
Dalida is another uniquely Tel Aviv restaurant, where Chef Dan Zuaretz serves up his own interpretation of delicious local food and drinks.
The restaurant has five menus: the evening menu, the seasonal menu, the moabet menu (for shared meals), the desserts menu, and an alcohol menu. Items such as Arab cabbage in champagne with Jerusalem artichoke crumble, raw zucchini salad, and brioche steak and bone marrow are sure to leave an impression.
The Vera Hotel
The Vera Hotel is the ideal place for those who really want to get to know Tel Aviv. The hotel is all about connecting the guests to local talent, including artists, designers, and even soap makers whose artisanal amenities can be found in the hotel.
Telavivian is also producing the in-house-magazine for every season – another good way for you to read about the projects, places and people of Tel Aviv.
The Dave Hotel
The Dave hotel across from Gordon Beach is a young and funky hotel by the Brown Hotels Collection, which has opened some of the best hotels in the city.
The Dave occupies a refurbished four-story Bauhaus building and has built a reputation as a sophisticated, affordable spot.
Visitors eat breakfast at one of two nearby eateries, including Cafe Xoho, which makes an amazing avocado sandwich.