Writing a comprehensive guide to Tel Aviv is like writing a comprehensive guide to New York City. It’s simply not possible to list every hole-in-the-wall falafel joint and neighborhood cafe worthy of a visit. Instead, a few of the restaurants and bars that made my most recent trip to my beloved city on the sea extra special, and some of the attractions that are repeat musts every year. Consider this a launchpad for your Tel Aviv adventures. A very limited — yet excellently curated — place to begin your discovery of this little slice of heaven.
photos by Chanel Dror
Port Said has the atmosphere of an East Austin hipster bar, but with food on the level of New Orleans’ Shaya. Enjoy the incredible amazing Israeli dishes shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers at the table over.
Calypso Beach Club. A delicious place to eat breakfast on the beach before staking out a lounger for the rest of the morning.
Shuk HaCarmel. This Tel Aviv market is the city’s most famous place to shop, but it’s also an amazing place to taste to incredible street food.
Yom Tov Cafe. If you’ve managed to resist the shuk’s tempting offerings, this cafe is just around the corner. It’s the perfect place to soak in some air conditioning, have a beer or coffee, and eat some amazing snacks.
Saluf and Sons. Yemenite cuisine is inherently delicious, but Saluf and Sons has perfected it. I regret not making it there on this trip, but have vowed to make it my first stop next summer!
Puaa. The kind of place where you’re overcome with indecisiveness. Everything on the menu sounds like exactly what you’re in the mood for, and the decor is a kitschy reflection of the Jaffa Market in which this restaurant is located.
Cafe Levinsky. A must-try mid day stop for fragrant, refreshing handmade sodas.
Kuli Alma. This casual bar’s got good music and an exotic, laid back vibe.
Speakeasy. Cosmopolitan rooftop vibes on one of Tel Aviv’s buzziest streets.
Jimmy Who. A lively lounge directly under Speakeasy.
Veranda. This beachside lounge is my new favorite place to watch the sun set in Tel Aviv.
Shuk HaCarmel (Carmel Market). Your one stop shop for souvenirs, fresh produce, amazing cheeses and so much more. A Tel Aviv must.
Shuk HaPishpeshim (Jaffa Market). From the flea market to high end boutiques, shopping in this area of the historic neighborhood of Jaffa is a full day affair.
Neve Tsedek. A gorgeous area to stroll, shop and dine.
The Tayelet (Tel Aviv Promenade). This boardwalk is Tel Aviv’s postcard moment. Ride bikes down The Tayelet with the Mediterranean Sea as your backdrop, or take the steps down to Gordon Beach or Frishman Beach.
Jerusalem (Day Trip). The holiest city in the world needs no introduction, and is deserving of more than just a few hours of time on your first trip to Israel. However, if you identify a few key sites you’d like to visit, driving to Jerusalem and back in a day is totally doable.
The Dead Sea (Day Trip). No trip to Israel is complete without a visit to The Dead Sea. We had a great experience at this place.