Did you watch last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon? If so you may remember the flamboyant Israeli pop star Netta Barzilai and her eccentric performance. She sang the winning song “Toy” making this the fourth time Israel has won the contest (1978, 1979 and 1998 also). Click on the video for a reminder of the song.
Following this success, the 64th contest is being held in Tel Aviv in May this year. So with all eyes on Israel’s most vibrant beachside city we suggest where to eat, sleep and check out.
BE SURE TO ALSO READ: Travel Guide to Tel Aviv
Where to sleep in Tel Aviv
The Poli House is a 40-room “experimental luxury” hotel harnessing the zeitgeist of Tel Aviv past, present and future while embracing a contemporary and futuristic style of hospitality. Housed in a meticulously restored Bauhaus architecture-style building, The Poli House features warm and clean yellow, blue, green and white interiors created exclusively by world-renowned industrial designer/architect Karim Rashid, as well as a panoramic rooftop pool, sunbathing lounge, cocktail bar, restaurant and serene treatment rooms for solo or couple’s spa treatments.
The Dan Hotel stands tall in an odd-shaped building lording over its beachside location. As you walk in you step on tiles with names of stars that have stayed there in the past. It’s decor oozes English Gentleman’s club. Some may say a tad old-fashioned, others call it traditional. Either way it’s a pretty classy joint.
The Setai is a five star property situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv coastline and Jaffa Port.
Housed within a historic Ottoman building, once used as a jailhouse, it has a great location on the crossroads of modern and ancient parts, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Jaffa Port, the beach and close to the city’s bustling boulevards and urban hub.
Carlton Tel Aviv was originally constructed in the Brutalist architecture style by famed Israeli architect Yaakov Rechter and opened in 1981. The recent Carlton Tel Aviv renovation included a head-to-toe make-over of its 268 rooms-and-suites and the addition of a rooftop, sea-view pool on the 15th-floor. Carlton Tel Aviv is a staple resort on the Micro Metropolis on the Mediterranean, and an unparalleled destination for travellers aiming for a leisure-soaked experience along the shore, or a business-savvy abode with all of the bells and whistles for a lavish and productive visit.
Hotel Montefiore is a 12-room in a quaint property that has been recognised as the pioneering boutique property that paved the way for Tel Aviv’s burgeoning hotel scene. It is luxurious and housed in a gorgeous, meticulously restored building right in the heart of Tel Aviv. The famous Rothschild Boulevard is steps away.
Where to eat in Tel Aviv
Cordero. From the seafood restaurants of France to the tapas bars of Spain and the trattorias of Italy, Cordero aims to take diners on a journey through the gastronomically-rich regions of Southern Europe.
Cordero’s cuisine is inspired by the culinary techniques, flavors and ingredients from the Mediterranean coasts, in sync with the fresh ingredients that Israel has to offer: fantastic seafood, outstanding farm-to-table meats, organic fruits and vegetables and superb dairy products.
More than just a place to sit for a good cup of coffee, CoffeeBar’s location on Yad Harutziym street is literally a diamond in the rough. Some say it is a destination in itself where you can tuck into dishes like fried young barracuda, coriander yogurt, tomatoes salsa and chicken liver pate, marinated pear, sourdough bruschetta all created and produced by young stalwart Chef Ohad Salomon.
Nomi: Nomi is the latest venture by acclaimed Israeli chef Yoram Nitzan, previously head chef of the well-known Mul Yam and Bindella, which opened its doors at the beginning of the year. Influenced by cooking techniques hailing from kitchens across the globe, Nomi brings an innovative take to fine kosher dining with Nitzan presenting dishes bursting with the aromatic tastes and flavours indigenous of Israeli cuisine.
Where to Drink in Tel Aviv
Herzl 16: Herzl 16 is an Eclectic architectural-style edifice that leads into an open internal courtyard. It’s now home to a music venue, bar, a cultural space, and two restaurants, one a casual indoor-outdoor café and the second, Disco Tokyo, a reinterpreted Japanese restaurant offering patrons exquisite cuisine in an informal atmosphere.
Mondo 2000: The most sophisticated rooftop bar and club ever to grace the iconic Levinsky market. Weekend day parties through until the night, Mondo 2000 is the perfect spot to watch the sunset, overlooking the vivacious cityscape.
Teder FM: One of the top venues for events in the city, Teder FM hosts cosy concerts almost nightly, coupled with Eyal Shani’s legendary pizzas.
Haiku Skybar at The Lighthouse:
The recently opened hotel features its impressive Haiku Sky bar with a 360 degree view of the city. It’s a beautiful place and one of a handful of rooftop bars in the city. The 18th-floor panoramic views, rotating DJs, and a soon-to-arrive infinity pool is both trendy and beautiful and it’s in a league of its own. As its name suggests, they offers a Japanese menu with great sushi.
Out and about
Milk & Honey Whisky Distillery: Israel’s first whisky distillery, The Milk & Honey Distillery is a hidden gem among the workshops and warehouses of the small industrial zone on the border of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, right by the Bloomfield Soccer Stadium. Whisky-making is a special process that involves all senses. Moreover, it requires craftsmanship that is soaked with history, combining science, technology and handwork.They offer distillery tours for individuals and groups and private and group tours for up to 35 guests, upon prior arrangement. A one-hour tour, includes a background in the history and process of distillation, awalk through the various stages of spirit making – from grain to glass – and ends with a guided tasting of our creations.
Magasin III: Magasin III is the permanent satellite exhibition space of Sweden’s Magasin III – Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art, one of the leading European institutions for contemporary art. Magasin III believes in the ability of art to challenge and inspire people and society. The space is located at 34 Olei Zion, in a residential neighborhood that borders Jaffa’s famous flea market at the center of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim populations of Jaffa.
Eager Tourist: Eager Tourist is a hyperlocal concierge in Tel Aviv, offering exclusive expert-guided experiences, tours and workshops spanning art, culinary, architecture and nightlife. An expertise mostly unreachable to travellers, Eager Tourist connects you with the heart of the city’s creative core on curated experiences led by local experts that make the most of your travels, all from a deep cultural perspective.
Israel Abou: Here, silhouettes, materials, finishes, and colours come together, with heavy focus on quality and simplicity.
Gregory Abou has a unique vision of an art of life and you can see its creations in his gallery-cum-shop. You will find interesting bowls and candle holders as well as delicate glassware and lighting fixtures, ceramics and tabletops.