Saturday, January 23, 2016
Thursday, October 22, 2015
|WOK Republic on Ben Yehuda, brisk business on a Saturday night ||
Friday, October 2, 2015
|Eden starting out with a salad at ZeShusi on Basel @ DAVider 2015|
Monday, September 28, 2015
|Standard eggs breakfast at the Brasserie (about 70 NIS) @ DAVider 2015|
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
|Off Dizengoff street restaurants & cafes attract a solid crowd, End of summer outings at it's peak|
Thursday, July 9, 2015
The pizza came from Olivery . It was amazing and was part of a business lunch including appetizer and drink under Nis 60. It was more than enough for two and we brought home for dinner. Was asparagus had veggies and great cheese plus ham and an egg on top. An Italian restaurant. With very nice help. We would go back for sure!Contact Olivary at 03-544-6076, open 12:00 Noon to 0:30AM. Call ahead to reserve a table on busy occasions or when a larger party is coming. --- ENJOY! Read More...
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
|Bread Story on a typical weekday evening, still attracting eager sandwich seekers|
Saturday, May 16, 2015
by Sam-d-Man (Tel Aviv enthusiast from the US) - Tel Aiv, Israel
Monday, December 20, 2010
|Kosher stamps indicate rabbinical approval. These are printed on every food item in Israel. Only a small percentage of the food consumed in Israel is sold without Kosher approval.|
Kosher food conversations hover in the background here in Israel. Hover because the definition of what is kosher means different things to different people. Hover lightly not heated debates, not bitter complaints, just a faded blurt "that's how it is". In it's core, Israeli food is kosher, for secular Israelis as much as for Orthodox Israelis. The conversations hover because of what kosher has become in a modern Jewish state (it is strange and bristly issue.) To secular Jews kosher means not eating pork and keeping milk and meat separate. How separate one keeps the two is one topic of conversation. Kosher also means rabbis inspecting restaurants and shops assuring milk products are not stored together or mixed in cooking with meat. Kosher inspection is a big business for the rabbinical inspection authorities. Tamir, a small falafel stand owner started out paying 300 shekels a year for his Kosher certification. That was eight years ago. Then he sold Falafel and coffee. Basically nothing that needed inspection. He added schnitzels (fried chicken breast) to his stand, which increased his income three fold. (previously he did not have meat or milk, just vegetables which are called "parve".) The kosher inspector raised his inspection fees by 50% every year, now reaching over 8,000 shekels a year. Tamir, pays the fees without any official complaints, what else can he do? He estimates that 15% of his clients come because he has a kosher certificate. The inspector has not shown up at his stand for five years. Even if he did show up in a surprise inspection, nothing would cause the old Falafel stand to lose it's kosher certification.Read More...
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
|Tel Aviv beaches, nice weather year around, boutique hotels, gourmet restaurants... the hidden secrets of the city get lost among overwhelming media coverage of the Palestinian security stories. / © 2010|
A cousin of mine in Boston once said that Tel Aviv does not have any upscale boutique hotels. It is not a cosmopolitan destination like New York, Paris, London, Berlin or even Prague. She wants Tel Aviv to attract world class designers, investors and tourists. That is what makes a city a boutique tourist destination, both image and reality. She was riding that boutique life "wave" of the 1990s and 2000s. When the Internet was fresh and the housing boom was driving construction of small hotels in the US and Europe. Boutiques were the next thing in America. Everybody wanted more than the just polished big brands. Hilton and Sheraton were for conventions and for the "old school" traveler. The cool young executives were creating a new style, boutique was in. Half of the driving force for the trend came from these new designers and retail entrepreneurs. The other half came from travel spending. This is a very American, even a New Yorker way of looking at things. But the good times in boutique hotels in New York, Boston and London did not last long. In Europe and Asia it has slowed down. In Tel Aviv it is still going, slowly, but still going.Read More...
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Jeff Pulver is one of these people who is comfortable anywhere in Israel. He is a quiet man who runs around Israeli start-ups and tries to figure out which ones are winners and how to get them to be a winners in a world wide scale. It seems like he is in Tel Aviv about 1/2 of his time, but it's probably much less. On his Facebook page, there is an ordinary entry about an interview on TimeOut magazine:
Check out Time Out Tel Aviv - March 2010 issue - http://digital.timeout.co.il/activemagazine/welcome/israel_33.asp (Flip to page 12 for a familiar face)
If you go to the TimeOut he mentions on page 12, he recommends two restaurants in Tel Aviv: Brasserie M&R and Rothschild 12. The Brasserie M&R I wrote about a long time ago. It is one of these places that figured out a way to keep the quality and style as it is. Rothschild 12 [Hebrew page (achbar ha'yir) ] [foursquare page EN] is one of these famous places where you can rub elbows with Israel's fashionable set (Pulver is a guest in this club.)
Nice to hear that someone who has been all over the world likes the restaurants and hotels in Tel Aviv. Look out for reviews like Pulver to get a real sense of what people like in Tel Aviv. Obviously you don't know Pulver's taste and preferences, but it may be more reliable (and personal) than a big blog or a tourist site review. Read More...
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Looking for a hotel in Tel Aviv is easy, a google search of "hotels tel aviv" returns 3,580,000 results and 11 advertisements. All this action is driven by Google's search and advertising system. People search for hotels and therefore bloggers and web site developers write about hotels. In comparison "restaurants tel aviv" gives only 1,880,000 results and 3 advertisers, most pages are written by locals for locals, "rock climbing tel aviv" gives 18,200 results and "judo tel aviv" give 55,900 results. But google and most of the hotel sites usually don't tell you much about where you are and where to find that fun and interesting "stuff". Stuff you can do, places to see, experience like the native Tel Avivians. To hard core bikers and surfers, niche sport sites can be a better place to get information on hotels near where you are going to be doing your activities. Other information such as experience with a rental business or where to find a diving partner may direct you to the part of town where to stay. I spoke with a SCUBA instructor and he explained how the one rental shop on the water may not be the best choice for experienced divers. Although most divers come to Israel for Eilat on the Red Sea, there is still good diving around Tel Aviv, so ask a local diver. There are also groups that will give you information and even let you tag along when they dive together. There are other places to dive just north and south of the city, in 45 minutes you can be in Caesarea and dive among Roman columns from a 2000 year old pier.
If you are looking for a hotel in Tel Aviv, you may want to find other things first. On a business trip and want to Kayak? Make sure you can get to the Tel Aviv marina just off Gordon street. You can also ask someone in a nearby hotel for a boat reservation. If you stay far away from the beach it may take more time and trouble than it's worth during morning traffic. The same goes with Judo and rock climbing. There is a rock climbing wall in the Ha'yarkon park, if you are staying in the very north section of the beach area it's a walk away. Would you like to start your day biking or running in the park? Ha'yarkon park runs along the whole city from the Mediterranean eastward through Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak. It has long paths, is well maintained and even serious runners on most mornings would appreciate the scenery.Read More...
Friday, August 14, 2009
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; main location: Haifa: 1-700-550-850; additional locations in Modiin and Kfar Saba. Read More...
Friday, July 10, 2009
One of the biggest misconceptions about Saturday's in Tel Aviv is how secular Jews keep the shabbat* (the sabbath for Christians). To some, Jews keep the sabbath by congregating and praying in a synagogue or a traditional Friday night meal with blessings and candle lighting. Another misconception, also an extreme view of secular Judaism is the belief that secular Jewish shabat means a day spent on the beach or driving around the country, completely ignoring traditional Jewish tradition. This view also associates the non-traditional shabat observation with being opposed to Judaism altogether (throwing the baby out with the bath water). Tel Avivians actually do not take sides in a religious tug of war between secular and religious followers. Shabat is spent here probably like secular Jews have been doing for centuries, in Tel Aviv there are a few nice modern amenities to make life better one day a week.
In the early afternoon hours on Friday, as if an invisible conductor lifting a baton, Tel Aviv's residents' urgency slows down. Tel Aviv's shabbat is quiet. Streets go silent as a few cars move slowly, a cafe here a kiosk there stay open the rest close down turning busy sidewalks into empty spaces. People who normally rush and shove slowly take a layed back posture, the rudeness turns into courtesy. Stores, boutiques and malls slowly empty and are closed for a day and a half. Buses and trains stop running. Weekday casual dress is toned down more: T-shirts and rumpled polos instead of ironed and starched shirts, Levi's 501's instead of crisp creased Dockers. Women in sun dresses and halter tops instead of matching outfits from Fox, Castro or Honigman's (latest fashion is a must in Tel Aviv, a halmark of a woman in this city). On weekdays Tel Avivians are always in a hurry, buzzing everywhere nonstop, there is definitely a New York hurriedness here. Secular Israel really does come to a rest, this makes Israel a unique place, American's the first time here, used to seven days of shopping wonder what happened. Nothing really happens, it's shabbat.A walk with friends on a shaded boulevard just off King George street in central Tel Aviv
On a warm July afternoon north Dizengoff street is quiet. There are a few cafes and restaurants open between Dizengoff circle and Arlozorov. A mix of groups finds it's way to Etnachta, a small bar-restaurant at 190 Dizengoff. Two Dutch businessmen spending a weekend away from home ordered a complete meal one item at a time (a la carte), one could not decide on roasted eggplant with yogurt or tahini so the waitress bought him a sample of tahini. A few couples on dates, maybe even the awkward blind date, trying to look cool and composed (nice wicker chairs and shade make this a comfortable place to meet). A young couple with a stroller situated just outside the delineated tables area, Etnachta has tables under beach umbrellas on the side street, a regular arrangement for most busy street cafes in this part of town. Groups of friends come and go, coffee and a croissant on a warm shabbat afternoon is a great way to catch up and feel connected. Some seem to be comfortable enough so this is a weekly ritual, with the slow economy restaurant business is slow, but the pleasure of sitting an hour with a cup of coffee is not such a luxury item (25 to 45 shekels for coffee and a baked item per person - about $6 to $11). Etnachta serves a light menu, this is true of most places open on Saturdays, Tel Avivians are not eating the main meal just snacking about with friends. Strangely enough there are not many tourists in this part of town. They tend to be on the beach or in nearby beach restaurants. There, the nonstop international time schedule infiltrated Tel Aviv giving the beach a resort feel. The beaches are noisy and busy, summer is the high season and tourists like to lie on the beach. This is another part of the city... next time... the beach life in Tel Aviv, a tourist attraction!
*shabat in Hebrew literally translates to rest or to strike (work stoppage) or to stop working (not necessarily as a work stoppage in an organized or unionized context). Read More...
Thursday, April 30, 2009
If you were anywhere near the beach in Tel Aviv, yesterday's independence day may have seen strange. Compared to last year the beaches were practically deserted. There were some people taking in the early summer sun, but certainly not a busy day by any measure. Apparently everyone was out BBQ-ings... that's the latest Israeli past time during holidays. Well, here are a few photos from the beach:
Taking in the rays... the beaches are still a great place to relax, cool, and work on that famous Israeli summer sun.
A view from the end of Ben Gurion street down to the Tel Aviv marina. From the look of it very few sailors were out on the water.
Vanilla ice cream at one of the beach restaurants. If you were after a burger or a cold drink there were plenty of open tables. Early summer vacationers are starting to show up. You can certainly start to hear the English, French and other languages among the beach goers. Read More...
Monday, June 30, 2008
If you like nice places, lots of fresh air, a great menu, head for Gillies at the Old Port in Tel Aviv (Tel: 03-6057777, Hanger 26, Tel Aviv Old Port). On Fridays and Saturdays morning it's short on elbow room but fun to mingle, and great to eat. All popular eateries in Tel Aviv with a good reputation tend to be booked up on these mornings. Gillies is a big restaurant specially when you count the outside deck. On a busy day they serve 100 to 120 people at a time. The menu is a mix of modern Israeli and international dishes. Breakfast and lunch on weekends are about the same, with the added lunch special once in a while. There is a fixed price breakfast with eggs, omelets, sandwiches, and a smoked salmon dish. All three of us chose a version of the breakfast, one the eggs, one the Shakshooka, and one the cured salmon in Tequila.
Gillies at the Old Port on a Saturday morning, a fine place to sit by the water.
The meal comes with fresh warm bread that can easily fill you even before the main dish. Together with the Champagne drink, you may want to skip out on the main event. But wait, no such thing. The eggs here are wonderful, although I would rate the Shakshuka "Ashkenazi". That's my description of a Shakshuka with not enough spiciness to make you order your own water jug. But that's not a fault of the place, it's probably just a consequence of the style and the regular diners. If you like your sauce spicy, ask for extra 'hot'. The cured salmon in Tequila turned out to be a great choice. I never imagined doing this with Tequila, so extra point of creativity to the chef here. The Champagne drinks were all good, we has a sampling of all three and they were excellent flavors as together with the breakfast dishes (orange juice, grapefruit juice, and creme de Cassis).
Breakfast half done, take a break and enjoy the sea view. Read More...
Thursday, June 26, 2008
There is an old clipping from five years ago on the wall of Magic Burger (64 Iben Gvirol, T"A 03-6956782, 11:00AM to 5:00AM) about the battle of the burgers. This was all the talk of the town a few years ago, when "real burgers" came to town. I am not sure what makes a real burger, or really "un-real burger". I guess the McDonald's and Burger Ranch are not "real burgers". The Magic Burger is definitely considered "REAL". It is made from freshly ground beef or lamb. You get it made your way with a choice of toppings. There are about 10 sources to choose from... and, it is made right in front of you while you sit at the bar and chat with the guy next to you. Well, for most of us 'Anglos' this seems like the standard burger joint anywhere off the beaten track US of A. But for Tel Aviv this is a very special place. The burgers are really great! No question about it, quality of ingredients and attention to customers really counts. Specially in something as simple as a burger. Magic Burger is basically a bar with a few tables outside. When the weather is nice, you are in luck. But on a hot day, as we are getting into July and August, this is not the place to eat a burger comfortably.
Soldiers and students lunching on Magic Burgers
The burgers themselves come in 200, 300, and 400 gram sizes. Most people seem to order the 200 gram "meal" - which includes fries (deep fried and hot flat round REAL potato kind) with a soft drink. There are also a few beers to choose from. There are other things on the menu like salads, but I have never seen anyone eat them (they do send them out at night for takeout). Toppings are excellent but basic, tomato, onion, lettuce, pickle, fried onion, and hot peppers. Sauces are a nice touch here from spicy chili to mayonnaise, 10,000 island, to ketchup and BBQ. Takeout business is mostly in the evening when people stop by to take dinner home. But you do see the occasional secretary ordering 5 burgers for 'the boys'.
All eys on the fries - and the BURGER MAKER
The most interesting aspect of Magic Burger is the clientele. You will find the from delivery jockeys just off their Tus-Tus, to army officers, to slicked out corporate managers, to moms with strollers... you get the point. If you are used just to fast food crowed don't be surprised to find a few executives in the crowd. If you are in the Gan Ha'Ir / City Hall area, stop by a burger at the "magic" Read More...
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
... well, not EXACTLY! but maybe? well YES! Tel Aviv culinary world has one of the most diverse cultural backgrounds you can find. The only problem is that you have to travel all over town to sample from African to American, Asian to European... except on Thursdays and Fridays when the food fair at Dizengoff center goes into action. Some 40 to 50 vendors sell from Moroccan and Libyan traditional dishes to Argentinian Chorisso and Empanadas, Chinese Dim-Sum to traditional eastern European Jewish delicacies. Add Sushi, fresh baked Druze pittas, American style baked potatoes, and various sweets like mini-pancakes and old fashion middle-eastern baklava in Iraqi style. Well, you get the point of the title, no matter where your 'mama' came from, you would probably find something traditional and familiar.
Freshly steamed Chinese Dim_Sum, absolutely wonderful.
On a recent Friday afternoon I headed to Dizengoff center for a snack or two. There are so many things here and some have become a favorite, that I have to admit of not sampling many of the stands. On the first floor near entrance #6 you have a small clump of stands away from the main push and shove center (that's on the bottom floor next to Ace hardware). Here I found a Dim-Sum stand with freshly steaming bamboo trays teaming with a dozen different dumplings (both vegetarian and meat). Right next to it is the baked potato stand with a large iron oven and rows of toppings. A few steps away is a cookie stand with a selection of fat free and sugar free cookies besides the traditional ones. Finally you find a cheese stand where you can buy about a dozen specialty cheeses, mostly European.
Dishing out some traditional north African comfort food
But the real action is downstairs. Here in a little corner of this vast cavern of a space are about 20 stands who serve north African (4 stands), Asian (3 stands), south American, fruit salads and shakes, deserts (3 stands) and various other ethnic creations. Most of the dishes are warm and just been cooked in the morning. The sushi is rolled right in front of your eyes and you can even choose the ingredients yourself. Juices and shakes are mixed to your taste. Basically you are not going to leave hungry ;8~)'' ~~ and if you don't want to heat here, just ask the vendor to pack-it up "TO-GO" and you are free from the toil of cooking this evening. Well, that's all for today...
Next: sampling the big-HEAVY dishes, because there is nothing like mama's cookin'
Next-Next: and let the sweet tooth decide, in search for the perfect small sweet...
Next-Next-Next: walking around the mall, the food all over the walkways - little surprises behind every turn... or something else. Read More...
Sunday, June 22, 2008
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
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...