Showing posts with label Cafe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cafe. Show all posts

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Comfortable Safe Haven: Cafes, Shops, Malls, Parks, Beaches

Last post was about the daily stress in Israel. But most Israelis probably are not more stressed than any modern (i.e. western) people. There is stress related to the security situation, especially when there is an incident close to home. The shooting in Tel Aviv earlier this month (January 1st, 2016) reminded everyone of this situation. But Israelis see this situation similar to crime in some cities, difficult weather in many places or even stress related to economic difficulties. Every place (or person) around the world has it's problems and difficulties. This is what people say here. Yet in reality, many people avoid this stress and find comfort in traditional and creative ways. Israelis in cities head for cafes and restaurants. Tel Aviv is well known for it's cafes and restaurants as places to escape the daily stress. Around most of Israel parks and beaches attract people looking for quiet places to meet. Even the large malls, almost everywhere, have places to sit and get away from everyday stress. Outsiders usually need to look at a few places and meet a few people to get a true picture of how people handle stress.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Breakfast @ Brasserie Ibn Gvirol (#TelAviv)

Standard eggs breakfast at the Brasserie (about 70 NIS) @ DAVider 2015

The Brasserie is the go-to French "Brasserie" in central Tel Aviv. More an adaptation of French light cooking to the Tel Avivian palate than a true to life Parisian brasserie. (70 Ibn Gvirol, Tel Aviv, Open 24 hr/day - 7 day/wk) The simple style and above average attention to detail makes for a great combination. On most Friday & Saturday mornings you will need a reservation to assure a good table. Inside and outside seating is available. A long bar on one side of the room is also busy on most weekend mornings. The Brasserie serves both a breakfast and a dinner menu, but will accommodate breakfast orders later in the day and in the early morning hours.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dogs in Tel Aviv Cafes

A small Grayhound looking dog at the Streets / Ibn Gvirol @ DAVider 2015
An interesting phenomena in Tel Aviv cafes is the presence of dogs. Usually lying quietly under a table, barely noticeable. American and Asian visitors are taken back the first time, European visitors are less surprised. Once in a while there are really beautiful dogs, exceptional and rare - this is one example

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

End of Summer Last Outing in Tel Aviv

Off Dizengoff street restaurants & cafes attract a solid crowd, End of summer outings at it's peak

This year's high holiday week (between Rosh Ha'shana & Yom Kippur) falls at the end of the summer. School kids are back in their seats, just to have a ten day vacation. This year it was four days, then two days. Teachers and parents complain about the constant on-again-off-again schedule. Restaurateurs and cafe owners are busier than normal. The weather and vacation together brings the crowds out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Update on Iben Gvirol and The Coffee Bean Closure

At ''The Gregg Cafe'' in Dizengoff center, the manager's dog has it's own ''personal'' table. Not a common and acceptable practice, it is still telling of the informal feel of Israeli cafes. Not so with ''The Coffee Bean'' and regular laptop workers in 2009 / © 2010

About a year ago bloggers in Israel made some noise about working in cafes. They were grumbling about cafes being hostile toward people who sat and worked using laptops. Some cafes at the time did not offer free WiFi or did not have AC plugs to connect laptops power supplies. Tel Avivians love their cafes and to some it is their living room and office apartment extensions. A virtual (or actually real?) home-office away from home. In central Tel Aviv, where apartment prices are beyond belief, many people live in tiny apartments. Some work from home, that means sometimes working from the local cafe when they meet customers or clients. The American coffee chain " The Coffee Bean (& Tea Leaf)" had a nice big cafe on Iben Gvirol in front of Gan Ha'ir commercial complex. I wrote about The Coffee Bean's up and down policy toward laptop users. Around 2008 the Israeli high-tech sector collapsed. No new investment in start-ups caused companies to lay off thousands of workers. These were software engineers and professional support workers (salesman and marketers, human resource, administrators) as well as related professionals.


Friday, August 14, 2009

La Goffre: Belgian Waffles on Ibn Gvirol (Tel Aviv, Israel)

On hot August evenings Tel Avivians fill Iben Gvirol sidewalks. Cafes line up Iben Gvirol from Arlozorov to Ha'cheshmonaim. When the evening air cools down from mid day highs in the 90s°F to the mid 70s°, the sidewalks starts to fill up with couples and groups. Just across from Gan Ha'ir at 84 Iben Gvirol is La Goffre a small cafe-restaurant. The specialty here is Belgian waffles with a dozen sweet toppings (syrups, chocolates, fruit, ice cream and whipped cream). On the sidewalk wicker tables give an informal feeling, sometimes you just need a comfortable place you do not need to dress for. Ten tables are outside and six tables inside. On warm evenings when the traffic along the street slows down outside tables fill up first. So if you have a few friends who want to come out and enjoy something sweet and a cold drink (beer on tap and in bottles is served here) - come to the La Goffre. Tel: 03-5224040; e-Mail:; main location: Haifa: 1-700-550-850; additional locations in Modiin and Kfar Saba. Read More...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rest in the City - Lots of Good Coffee and Nice Cafes

Tel Aviv is 100 - so what is so good about being here? Some say it's the coffee. Actually cafes and the race to make the best cup of coffee in the world. Well, we have some competition from Paris and Rome, but when it comes to a good table to sit, a nice espresso or cappuccino and a friendly place to meet for a chat - Tel Aviv is ready for a coffee reality show contest any time.

It is not clear when Tel Aviv became a cafe city. This is a new trend which goes back no more than 20 years. Recently as the picture show, we have seen "the attack of the cafe chains": Aroma, Cafe-Cafe, Ilan's, Arcafe, Cafe Joe, Cafeneto... there are a few other ones, smaller or regional (Cafe Greg is mostly in Haifa with one branch in Dizengoff Center). International chain The Coffee Bean has a few cafe locations in Tel Aviv and surrounding towns. Still the local independent cafes of Tel Aviv are what makes the coffee here special. Independent cafes represent a tradition brought from Europe over the years. New French and British immigrants the last few years invigorated this trend. The Landware and Elite are coffee roasters with cafes bearing their names. In malls and public places you will also find kiosks bearing Elite and chain cafes names (branding is a big here now). If this was not enough, in most public buildings (government centers, hospitals, universities) and malls you can find coffee vending carts from all the large brewers and roasters. Cafe Elite is the oldest and most popular coffee brand. It's Turkish coffee, a dark roast ground to a fine powder is Israel's traditional coffee.

Cafes in Israel would be considered medium size by European standards. They seat 20 to 50 people with the low end of 20 to 30 for most of the locations (10 to 25 tables). You will be hard pressed to find a 5 seat counter only cafe in your neighborhood in the tradition of Paris, Madrid or Rome. These Europeans come for a drink, pay and move on with their daily routine. In Miami and New Jersey Cubans even have tiny windows in cafes facing the street where you can simply buy an espresso, drink it in one gulp and disappear. Tel Avivian's prefer a takeout paper cup if the 'daily dose' does not allow for time to sit and chat (American style). Also, coffee drinking does not take the style of a pub in London. You do not drink coffee with the barista you drink it with a friend or a newspaper. With the popularity of laptop computer use in public, we see how some cafes turned into virtual offices. The Gan Ha'yir (city hall complex on Iben Gvirol) Coffee Bean location seem to be half populated by students, digital entrepreneurs and salesmen of one type or another (from architects to insurance) with computers, notebooks full of notes and headphones to drown out noise. Some take a spot for hours for a 14 shekel cup of coffee. Not a bad deal for free wireless and electricity, a leather upholstered chair and decent temperature controlled room (in the summer air conditioning is nice to have). In most locations this new behavior is perfectly acceptable. The staff seems to be perfectly willing to be the "office away from the home office hosts". Not so in other locations where the cafe is dependent on customer flow they tend to push you out or ask for an order every hour or so. This is true for the none digitally equipped book and newspaper readers as well. So the digirati are not a prosecuted minority in any way just a part of everyday life here.

The coffees served in most cafes are dominated by the classic Italian espresso, capuchino and latte. Israeli old fashion Turkish coffee, essentially a dark brew ground to a fine powder mixed with steaming water than allowed to sit (the grounds settle to the bottom) - or the real classic finjan, a small copper pot used to brew strong coffee. Americano is a basic drip coffee but don't be alarmed if you actually get a french press coffee instead. French press coffee, the glass container with a plunger is also available but is less common in Tel Aviv. Most cafes also serve snacks, sandwiches and salads. This is a new trend specially in the smaller locations. The cafe chains offer uniform menu across locations, some are good enough to compete with fast food and restaurants. Independent cafes have snacks and light dishes and sometimes specialty baked goods, some are excellent specially croissants which are popular lately.

This story will not be complete without a few images. We will try to go out to a few cafes and photograph the places, people and coffee. If you have stories about Tel Aviv cafes and how they match up to their European cousins leave a comment. So come to Tel Aviv for the people and the fun and sit in a cafe - a local Tel Avivian way to relax -- From T"A //ami_v2//

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer on the beach - sun, fun, refreshing

Summer is here! Get down to the beach. Get some sun, have some fun, and be refreshed. When the temperature hit the 90's (35 Celsius here) do as most Tel Avivians do, head to the beach. This is specially true on Saturdays, when tanning or playing "matkot" (Israeli specialty wooden racket game) is a long practiced tradition. The beaches are right here, just at the edge of the city. The most difficult part in the ordeal is probably finding a parking spot. But if you have a few spare shekels or don't mind a walk of a few blocks, you must partake in this ritual. The beaches stretch from the old part of Yaffo in the south all the way to the big hotels on Ben Guryon street. On good days choice spaces by the water go quickly and the beach is carpeted with oily bodies and umbrellas 40 to 50 meters deep. On the hot summer months, June to August, you will find vacationing high schoolers all week long. Fridays and Saturdays are the family days, you will see from singles with their friends all the way to 4 generations all clumped up around the cooler and the umbrella. Some bring almost nothing, literally, a T-shirt, flip-flops, and a towel to lie on. Some just about bring everything they can carry from their kitchen pots to their children's toys.

Bikinis in all shapes and colors, a refreshing dip is great on a hot June day.
If you are not the picnicking / outdoor type, no worries, the beach is dotted with cafes and restaurants which offer drinks and food. On a hot day I would recommend a large cold slice of watermelon with salty cheese cubes. Drink plenty of water or other refreshing fluids, it is easy to forget how quickly we loose fluids in the sun. Besides the sunning, ball playing, and bikini watching, there are kayaks and small sail boats to rent in the boat club at the end of Ben Guryon street. Bring games and sand toys for the kids, and a newspaper or a good book for yourself. And above all, ENJOY the summer! Tel Aviv beaches are a blast ;8~)''' Read More...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Street Life - Eat, Drink, and Romance

Tel Aviv is starting to show spring colors. In other cities that would be flowers and green leaves. Or street performance of magic and music in the town squares. Here it's romance and food. What are the colors of romance and food? Well, it's smiling faces, colorful plates, shiny windows, and more cloths in pastels than black. The weather is starting to allow comfortable outside sitting, and there are still a the enclosed glass shelters from the winter. Like urbanites in Europe and N. America, Tel Avivians feel the awakening of spring weather and light. If you come from a cold weather country you may think about how exaggerated spring for Israelites is, but never the less, spring brings "street colors". For me this is people in cafes, parks, and boulevards. With small apartments and getting smaller (this phenomena of making a small apartment into two smaller ones will be dealt with in another article), good selection of cafes, bars, and restaurants. So for Tel Avivians social living outside is the way of life, no matter what Venicians or Parisians say, Tel Aviv thinks they are the best at this. On any day you can find people in cafes working (laptop services like WiFi and power is available in many places), couples romancing, and students studying. If you come from a US college town this would seem natural, and if you lived or visited Paris, Venice, or Barcelona the crowds would make you feel that deja-vue again.

Arlozorov & Iben Gvirol: Cars, Horses, and Cafes - Eat, Drink, and Romance
The business world has not missed this phenomena and preference of street living. On any day you will find architects presenting plans to clients, insurance and investment proposals discussed, and interviews for high-tech and retail sales jobs in many cafes and one or two bars. With the attitude of 'mind your own business ~ please', most people are not afraid to discuss their most intimate personal issues like salaries, finances, and even sexual habits. For the most part, the people in the next table are anonymous and do not seem to care even if they overhear something juicy. During the day cafes seem to have more business and school activity than the rest of the day. During the evening hours romancing and 'starting' ~ a term for hitting on the 'girl next table' is much more common. The main Tel Aviv boulevard have been lined with tables from restaurants for many years. The amount and agressiveness of the table placement seem to follow both the weather and the general economic mood of the city. Now the weather is warming up and the economy seem to be taking a short rest. So let the tables get moving begin.
Spruced up flower bed in a walking path, outdoor living is not limited to cafes
If your style is more sporty or does not fall into sitting around, there are plenty of walking paths, beaches, and parks to run around. Biking and jogging is slowly coming back with the warm weather too. So is simple walking and bench warming. Tel Aviv seem to be taking this pass time also well with spruced up flower beds, repaired paths, and freshly painted park benches. Again, these are not limited to the older set kibitzing. On any evening you will find plenty of teen agers and 20-somethings hugging and kissing in a hidden spot. Also, the ever present teen age groups are going to find a bench or a street corner to congregate and enjoy a warm evening outdoors. So get out... and come enjoy the city... Read More...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cafe Greg in Dizengoff Center, a breeze from the north

There is a new player in the Tel Aviv cafe race: Cafe Greg on the second floor of the Dizengoff Center (north building). It is an extension of a small chain based in Haifa. Since everybody is opening cafes in Tel Aviv, the race is on to win the hearts of the drinkers. Cafes in the malls have not been as much of a bid deal in Tel Aviv. Probably ever since Abraham passed through from Messopotania to Egypt people have been sitting around drinking coffee here. There are a few very old cafes which survived the changes in the city, but for the most part the new 'hot' spots are clean, fresh, and heavily packaged. Cafe Greg has a little bit less of the slick marketing of Aroma, Arcafe, Cafe Cafe, and Cafeneto. Maybe because they are a smaller chain or maybe because they just started competing in the Tel Aviv region. The nice thing about the Dizengoff location is the environment, its still a 'mall' in every sense of the word, but the corner they picked is a little quieter, next to a book store. The furnishing is comfortable with couches and padded chairs. They also give you a feeling of comfortable service without hovering and interrupting your conversation.

Greg in Dizengoff Center, comfortable couch for coffee
If you want to meet someone in Dizengoff center or even in the area, this is a good place to get a cup of coffee and to have a talk with a friend. On a regular day you will find half of the people working on their own or having business meetings. The city needs places like this, off the street and close to the commercial businesses. There are a few other cafes in the center, but they tend to be in busy locations and the furnishing is more utilitarian. Greg hit on a trend of shopping and working in the mall and having a comfortable place to rest for a while.
Cafe Greg also has a nice breakfast and lunch menu. Salads, sandwiches, hot lunch plates (schnitzel, chicken, etc.) and a few side dishes. Cafe Greg is a good place to catch a bite for lunch and get going quickly. So in Dizengoff Center, head to 'the Greg' and have a cup-'o-joe and a talk with a friend... Read More...