In the last few years, Tel Aviv, the sunny city on the Mediterranean, has been heating up. These days, it’s known for lively alfresco cafes, innovative dining, and an all-night party scene. And we have the list of places to see and be seen.
Chic Eateries on Lilienblum Street
Lilienblum Street is a heaven for stylish thirty-somethings looking for good food. Start your night at Nanuchka (28 Lilienblum, +972 3-516-2254), a unique restaurant and bar offering Georgian cuisine. It’s currently one of the hottest restaurants in Tel Aviv so be ready for a cheerful but packed crowd (think unbridled dancing to the Georgian music) and be sure to book in advance.
For late night drinks and eats, move just a few doors down to North Abraxas (40 Lilienblum, +972 3-516-6660) (pictured) headed by chef-of-the-moment Eyal Shani. Dress to impress the attractive crowd and cozy up to the restaurant bar where you can sip cocktails while nibbling on parchment paper roasted eggplant, oven baked cauliflower, and fresh sea bass. Bonus: there are often live music performances at no extra cost.
Florentin’s Art Galleries
In the south of Tel Aviv, the Florentin neighborhood is undergoing an exciting period of development. Once a dilapidated area, local artists have since taken over the Bauhaus-style buildings and converted them into hip boites or galleries, like Floretin 45. The gallery has regular exhibitions and also represents local artist Amir Nave, whose work has been shown alongside those by international powerhouses such as Jenny Holzer and Bruce Nauman.
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Where Florentin has cleaned up its buildings and streets (read: more yuppies and families), Jaffa, an ancient port of the city and the place where Jonah took off on his legendary journey, is the next up-and-coming neighborhood. In the daylight hours, check out the bustling Jaffa flea market and pull up a chair at Puaa Café (3 Rabbi Yohanan, Jaffa Flea Market, +972 3-682-3821) (pictured), named after the proprietor Puaa Ladijensky. You won’t find international fare here, but rather hearty local dishes like faro with date syrup, sautéed chicken liver, and regional wines. Those that want to linger can go for dinner when the outside grill fires up for seafood and fish during the summer.
Speaking of Israeli fare, the best hummus in town is in Jaffa at Abu Hassan (also known as Ali Karavan restaurant and located at 1 HaDolphin +972 3-682-0387). A second generation hummus maker, Abu Hassan has a devout fan base for his perfect, creamy, smooth consistency. There are different toppings with the fava bean and boiled egg a perennial favorite.
The old mixed with the new in Jaffa, and for a cutting edge scene head to Saloona Art Bar (17 Tirza, +972 3-518-1719) right on the fringes of the area in a hip, gentrifying neighborhood called Noga. Check out the constantly changing installations by local artists and tipple back a Gold Star (an Israeli beer). The food is forgettable, but the ambiance, which usually includes a smattering of chic artsy types and live music, is certainly not.
All-Night Partying in the Tel Aviv Seaport
The city hasn’t earned its late-night reputation for nothing. Head to the city’s seaport and you’ll find wall-to-wall restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs pumping music into the wee hours of the night. On any given night, you might spot an Israeli star or musician in the area, but sometimes, the mixed crowd can veer young. No matter the age, everyone is up for dancing and partying. Particularly, Galina (+972 3-544-5553) (pictured), a rollicking singles scene with an open-air area, is primed for night owls: you can see the sun rise from the deck.
Thinking of a trip to Tel Aviv?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning advice, check out our online Tel Aviv Travel Guide.