What's hot in Tel Aviv: the city's best new restaurants, hotels and bars

There’s never been a better time to check out the White City’s roster of hip new openings.

By Annie Brookstone
Published 8 Oct 2019, 08:18 BST
Often dubbed the coolest city in the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv thrums with restaurants, bars and a ...
Often dubbed the coolest city in the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv thrums with restaurants, bars and a booming cafe culture — all given a boost this year with a string of new openings.
Photograph by Getty Images

Thanks to a flourishing food scene, the coolest city in the Med has never been hotter. Vegans are particularly well catered-for in this new wave of restaurants that's sweeping across the city's vibrant neighbourhoods: Opa brings plant-based fine dining to the Florentin neighbourhood, with chef Shirel Berger hailed for her inventive use of locally sourced ingredients. Street food in this vegan capital is being given a sustainability overhaul, too. Chef Harel Zakaim’s Sultana is an all-vegan shawarma joint that uses forest mushrooms and seitan that almost make meat look — and taste — like second-best. 

But for those who can’t quite forego flesh, at Café Popular, a buzzy addition to the Jacob Samuel Hotel, standout dishes include Israeli roast beef and punchy ras el-hanout calamari. When it comes to innovation, however, few can compete with L28 Culinary Platform, where up-and-coming chefs are given a six-month residency and mentoring from leading international chefs, with the aim of producing the culinary heavyweights of the future.


Dinner at Opa
Innovative restaurants with plant-based menus like Opa are leading the charge when it comes to Tel Aviv's new openings.
Photograph by Aviv Shkuri

Hip hotels
After a nine-year restoration, The Levee is the city’s newest upmarket urban retreat is a stately villa in the genteel Neve Tzedek neighbourhood. The elegant facade conceals eight industrial-chic apartments where sleek furnishings sit against exposed original concrete walls. An opulent home-from-home; expect a bottle of chilled wine in the fridge. From £364, with breakfast at the cool Herzl 16 nearby included. 

A block away from the beach, WOM Allenby is the city’s first pod hotel. From its communal spaces to its experience-driven app, the hotel draws inspiration from social sharing (hence the name: WOM stands for ‘word of mouth’). And when it’s time to turn in, each of the 40 private pods is outfitted with a bed, Egyptian cotton sheets, desk, air con, a TV and sound system, storage space and a private safe. From £50. 

New drinking dens
Surf's up at Honolulu, Israel’s first tiki bar, which landed on buzzing Dizengoff Street earlier this year. This slice of Hawaii serves up 100 varieties of rum, mixing them into over 80 speciality cocktails.

Meanwhile at all-day bar Bushwick, ‘coffee till cocktail’ is the motto, and they do both exceptionally well. Try the Rhubarbara Streisand — Finlandia vodka, rhubarb, chia seeds and tonic — best enjoyed from the comfort of the shaded courtyard. 

LVL UP is the country’s first gaming bar and offers PlayStation tournament nights and game release parties. Have a glass of the Rick and Morty-inspired gin and pickle cocktail for bonus nerd points. 

Flying high
Virgin Atlantic now flies daily from Heathrow to Tel Aviv, with returns starting at £279.

Published in the November 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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