Why you need to visit Tel Aviv
PHOTOS FROM VIA TOLILA’S POSTCARDS FROM TEL AVIV
When travelling, a place is best explored through its people and food. It is important to taste the flavours of the city and to embrace the life of a local; this is how you will truly understand a city and its people. Tel Aviv is famous for its culinary scene, electric nightlife, bohemian cafés and picturesque coastline. It is not surprising that it is fast becoming known as one of the most vibrant cities in the world and regarded by many as a must-visit destination. Read on to find out why you should visit the city that seems to have it all.
The gentle and open nature of the Israelis is infectious and will instantly make you feel at ease in the city. Their effortlessly cool hipster lifestyle has influenced daily life, as mismatch cafes and off-the-beaten-track restaurants have become the norm. But what makes this city so special is that the top finds are not handed to you on a plate – Tel Aviv makes you work for them. Florentine is known for its laid-back jazz bars, art-filled streets and nonstop nightlife. Hidden away in this neighbourhood is Romano - a restaurant-bar-lounge, which sets the high standards of the Israeli culinary scene. The tricky part is finding it. Once you’ve located the unassuming graffiti covered door, head to the second floor of the transformed historical building. The electric buzz of this deceivingly large space hits you as you take in the vibrant atmosphere. Beautifully connecting food and music, Romano’s in-house DJ fuses soft funk and reggae, which subtly compliments their ever-changing menu of local produce. Thankfully the Israeli style of eating is to order lots and to share everything, because Romano’s menu will leave you spoilt for choice. Also don’t be surprised if you are offered a shot between plates - this is part of the experience, so just go with it! Another hidden gem in Florentine is Suramare - a rustic urban rooftop bar with a garden terrace and incredible views, best enjoyed alongside truffle pizza and a house special cocktail. However, finding the entrance can prove quite a challenge. The door is (not so obviously) located in an underground car park just next door to an old petrol station. As you uneasily head down into the car park, the ‘are you sure this is right?’ thoughts are quickly put to rest as the music, projected wall-art and paintings lead you to the entrance of one of the best views of Tel Aviv’s skyline.
Tel Aviv’s oldest and most famous area is Jaffa, which is over 3000 years old. Unique to the rest of Tel Aviv, Jaffa’s historic golden stone buildings, winding streets and endless number of art galleries make this area a must visit. The flea market is one of Jaffa’s highlights with a variety of stalls selling an eclectic mix of clothes, furniture, jewellery and everything in between. Weave your way through the tiny alleyways and rustic boutiques where the fun is not only digging through the treasure, but also haggling for it. In the midst of the Flea Market is Puaa; a charmingly quirky restaurant, which looks more like a cosy retro living room than an eatery. The best part about Puaa is that everything is for sale; from the plate you’re using, to the paintings that line the walls, so if you see something you like, you can buy it! However, it is not only the decor that has put this place on the map, the food gets people flocking too. In keeping with the electric vibe of the restaurant, Puaa manages to combine the best of Israeli and Mediterranean food in their varied range of delicious dishes.
Picture perfect coastline
Just a stone’s throw away from the flea market is Jaffa’s picturesque 14km coastline, which is arguably the crown jewel of the city. Walking seems to be a thing of the past here, as Israelis zoom down the promenade on anything with wheels, from electric scooters to segways. Relax on the soft sand and listen to the hypnotic sound of Makot (bat and ball), which seems to be a national sport amongst Israelis. In a city that has almost year-round perfect weather, it is no surprise that every evening is graced with a luminous sunset, which is best enjoyed with a glass in-hand. Manta Ray, a quintessential beachfront restaurant found on the promenade itself, is the perfect spot for a sunset aperitivo. Creatively prepared fresh seafood with an incredible backdrop of the sea and lapping waves makes Manta Ray the ideal place to bring the day to a close.
Tel Aviv has everything from creative culture and art galleries to endless restaurants and nonstop nightlife, not to mention all year-round sunshine and glimmering beaches. This is why we believe this Mediterranean paradise deserves to be at the top of your travel to-do list.