Tel Aviv is Israel’s most cosmopolitan city. Founded in 1909, it’s young in both age and spirit. Originally settled by Jews from Eastern Europe and joined with the Arab city of Jaffa in 1950, the city now known as Tel Aviv-Yafo is a melting pot of influences from Europe, the Middle East, and other cultures, and its design scene reflects that. The following is a guide to the hotels, restaurants, bars, museums, and shops design lovers shouldn’t miss.
Where to Stay
For five-star style and the city’s best views, check into the new David Kempinski, which prominently features pieces by international artists like Eduardo Kobra and a breakfast buffet well worth waking up for. If you prefer hotels to be a bit more intimate, a room at the Drisco, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, is a good bet. A quick walk from the center of Jaffa, it’s a lovingly restored hotel that lay abandoned for nearly 50 years. Another favourite is Hotel Montefiore, which has a sort of art deco vibe and a restaurant known for its Asian-inflected flavours.
Where to Eat & Drink
Celebrity chef Eyal Shani has a number of restaurants around town. One of the best is Romano, which has tables on the second floor of a graffiti-laden building with views of a Berlin-style courtyard where hipsters congregate at tables under string lights to eat and drink late into the night. A few blocks away is Herzl16, an all-day café/bar with courtyard seating, Asian-inspired small plates, and a DJ spinning after dark. For a more upscale experience, book a table at George & John in the Drisco, which serves refined Israeli cuisine in a romantic setting.
Tel Aviv also has an abundance of all-day cafés serving espresso and light meals. Some of the best are Poc Café in the edgy street-art-filled Florentin neighbourhood and Casino San Remo near Jaffa’s old port.
What to Do
Architecture fans won’t want to miss the White City, a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising some 4,000 Bauhaus buildings constructed by architects who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and ’40s. To learn more about them and this unique part of the city, join a walking tour led by the Bauhaus Center.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is worth a visit too. Located in the Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center, which also has a performing arts centre, the museum boasts a world class collection of modern and contemporary art from Israel and elsewhere.
Where to Shop
The streets of Neve Tzedek, one of Tel Aviv’s poshest neighbourhoods, are lined with art galleries and independent boutiques. Stroll down Shabazi Street and stop by food and homeware store Epicerie Fine , as well as jeweller Shlomit Ofir’s namesake shop for trendy yet affordable accessories. For sunglasses to shield your eyes from the Middle Eastern sun, head downtown to Glassworks, the recently opened eyewear boutique in a renovated 1920s art deco building.