Although I’ve only been in London for just short of 5 years, I quickly developed an aversion to the idea of staying in London over the Easter break. What a diva. This is completely ridiculous of course, however, one of the things I love most about living in London is the amazing opportunities there are to travel. In reality this is a double-edged sword – namely, as an adult you generally need an income (queue, job), and said job will restrict how many days off you can take / how much time you have to travel. Equally, said job will probably determine how much disposable income you have to spend on these trips.
Easter is one of the rare times where you get not 1, but 2 public holidays together. It is too good of an opportunity to miss. I wanted sun, but two years in a row in Morocco and the boyfriend said a flat no to that appealing option, and so I came upon the idea of Israel, and most specifically Tel Aviv.
Ever since I first visited The Palomar in London I knew I had to get myself to Israel (following my stomach to pastures new). Good homemade flatbread is in my top 5 favourite foods and additionally, the Middle East was somewhere I hadn’t yet explored. A whole new unexplored region.
To secure cheaper flights we had an overnight stay in Gdansk in Poland. What a great idea, I thought at the time. This was before I’d considered the Wizz Air / Ryanair luggage restrictions and costs, and packed a suitcase tightly full of summer clothes. It was a very chilly 24 hours.
I fell in love with Tel Aviv almost instantly. These warm hazy days and a city buzzing and bubbling with activity, in a calm sort of way. There are pots, cracks and community parks and gardens bursting with greenery, which is something I love to see in an urban environments. It makes even a rundown apartment block seem both peaceful and inviting.
The people are lovely and there is an abundance of juice bars, wide boulevards, lovely public spaces and jacaranda trees (always a big tick in my books). The thriving startup, creative and culinary scenes point to Israel’s present and future, while a wander through the cobbled streets of rust-hued Jaffa gives a nod to times gone past. In fact, Israel is regularly called the tech-hub of the Middle East or ‘Silicon Wadi,’ with the world’s highest number of startups per capita. It’s a forward-thinking, spontaneous and creative city. And you absolutely get a sense of this whilst visiting.
The best thing to do in Tel Aviv is walk and I think my favourite two streets for this were Shenkin Street and Shabazi Street, both have excellent shopping… and Shabazi particularly has some great food. Make sure to visit Anita Gelato on a hot day – it’s simply exceptional. And of course don’t forget the very busy metropolitan beach, quite different to what we’re used to in Australia but absolutely worth going. The nightlife is widely known to be great, and it is! And most importantly the food is spectacular.
THE FOOD OF TEL AVIV
We had lots of fantastic recommendations from friends who live or have lived in Tel Aviv and from those who have visited, and so we managed to squeeze in a lot of wonderful food, below are some favourites:
- Abraxas North – book this one, tricky to get in to and very cool
- Abu Hassan – in Jaffa, go for the hummus
- Cafe Puaa – good lunch spot in Jaffa
- Da Da and Da – great for coffee and for all meals of the day. An aesthetically beautiful spot, with great outdoor seating on Rothschild Boulevard
- Ha’achim – unpretentious, contemporary Israeli food
- The Norman Hotel – try and get a table outside if you can, for breakfast or lunch, or dinner or a drink!
- The Old Man and The Sea – an institution, get a spot outside by the water and go hungry. I had some delicious garlic prawns and also some local grilled fish
- Port Sa’id – very cool spot, even just for drinks, everything is whacked on the table and you just share it off as piece of brown paper.
- Romano – probably one of my favourite places we went. Get the cauliflower and the fries.There is a bar underneath and during daytime little market / stalls
NEXT TIME I VISIT
Below are the ones I didn’t have time for
- Barbunia – similar sort of fair to The Old Man and The Sea
- Brasserie – lovely French food
- Cafe Europa – good vibe and outdoor seating
- HaKosem – great for street food / falafel, hummus etc.
- Miznon – more great Israeli food, good for shawarma (I think they may have 2 restaurants now)
- Paul’s – in the Jaffa flea marketing (tiny place for coffee)
- Ramesses – another spot in Jaffa, great for dinner with good atmosphere
- Shila – cool seafood spot