What's not to miss if you had 72 hours in TLV

 

Have you heard the cliche that Tel Aviv is a great city for food, beaches and nightlife? Do you know what they say about cliches? Do you want us to connect the dots for you or can we move on?

We moved on. Time is short and if you only have a few days in the city, we don’t want you to waste your time reading (or researching), so we’ve put together a list of the places you absolutely have to try, according to fabulous TLV locals from the Cool Cousin community. Let’s start with Hummus. Cliche, all the way.

Noa Tarlovsky, recommends Abu Hasan  
Abu Hassan serves the #1 hummus in Tel Aviv. You can sit at one of the three Jaffa branches (the one on HaDolfin st., the big one on Shivtei Israel st. or the small one on Shivtei Israel st.) and enjoy real hummus and the best service ever. It’s the one place where politics is left at the door and the hummus brings people together. When the restaurant is full, strangers are seated together and everyone is there for the hummus. My recommended dish is the masabha. If you want a truly authentic experience, go eat at the branch on HaDolfin st. It’s usually packed but you can take your hummus and sit outside overlooking the sea.

Itay Zimmer, recommends Port Said

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

I once heard a friend say that finding a table there in a reasonable hour is as rare as finding a parking spot next to your apartment in Tel Aviv. This is sad, but true, and since I'm not going to get a car anytime soon, I only have to handle the first problem, and I go to Port Said despite the enormous line, because it's justifiably one of the buzziest places in town. You can come to the port just to drink, but since the person who's in charge of the food happens to be one of Israel's famous and infamous chefs, you should not miss the food - if you can get a table.

Tom Koren, recommends Kuli Alma

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

Along with the Port Said, this is probably the most popular bar in the alternative scene. It has a super eclectic design, they keep adding new artworks and wall paintings by local artists, as well as video games, a huge open space for chilling and an indoor bar and dance floor for partying. Oh - and there’s also a small kiosk if you need to buy tobacco or a lollipop. The Kuli Alma crew never stop to rest and make sure to come up with different types of attractions (at least twice a week), such as art shows, movie screenings, lectures, and music gigs. The place’s popularity comes with a price, which is normally a line to get in over the weekend, so bear that in mind.

Lyoka, recommends Miznon

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

Israel, and Tel Aviv especially, is all about the street food: juicy shawarmas, huge falafel balls and a lot of hummus. But Eyal Shani - a famous Israeli chef that has dozen of really fancy restaurants spread around Tel Aviv - brings street food to a new level. Meat in pitas, baked potatoes and roasted cauliflowers - simple but special and all for up to 45 shekels - will leave you with a great memory of Israeli food. Go there in the late evening to catch a vibe of Miznon - booming trendy music, hot waiters shouting your name out loud and a lot of cool people around. Even though the meat pitas are outstanding, there are a lot of vegetarian options. And by the way, a very important fact to mention: while you’re waiting for your order, there are always free pitas with tahini, tomato sauce and sour cream waiting just for you!

Itamar, recommends Teder

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

Take a building that serves as an enclosed textile mall by day, fill it with hipsters, an internet radio station, an oven-baked pizzeria and a restaurant - and you have one of Tel Aviv’s freshest hang out place. That's the Teder (and Romano on the second floor). Weekends are really busy but that's a great way to meet locals or grab a puff. All you’ll see from the street is a large industrial looking door with a guard sitting outside, but it’s a real treat inside. It’s only open and night and it’s usually closed on Sundays.

 

Omer & Lee, recommends Anita

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

Even if Anita’s ice cream shop is not on your way or close by, make the effort to go there. It’s an ice cream shop like no other!

Every once in awhile we just want ice cream, and there’s only one option for us. We always take the same flavors, since they’re so good you don’t grow tired of them - the Black Wood and the Chocolate-Almond-Caramel. The 'Cookieman' is also delicious. If you’re a real ice cream lovers, we recommend grabbing a box of 500 grams/kilograms (depending how long you’re here for or how many people you’re sharing it with) with 3 flavors and keeping it in the freezer.

 

Mai, recommends Minzar

 

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

The Minzar is one of the oldest bars in town, because it’s got something awesome and timeless. It’s open all day and night, and it’s great to know that you can always go to the Minzar. It’s located right next to the Carmel market, and has great food menu that offers changing dishes, along regular ones. It’s a perfect place to get a beer on your way back from the beach, or after Hummus at the Cerem, or shopping at the market. Unlike many bars in Tel Aviv, the crowd is never specific, and hosts folks from all ages and places. Eating Mac and Cheese and drinking a beer outside, day or night. Or sitting inside at a late hour after you’re done partying and dancing. You can’t go wrong here as long as you have a table and some good company. Always pleasant and fun

Ido, recommends Cafelix

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

This local Tel Aviv chain serves the best coffee in town, according to most people. I like to sit at one of the branches - on Shlomo HaMelech st. or South at the Noga Compound if I’m in the area. It’s very relaxed, and usually very quiet. The design and strong smell of coffee maintain a pleasant vibe, whichever branch you go to. It’s great spot to have a quick coffee the your way, sit with a friend, or just bring your computer and do your thing. It took me a while to understand I can ask for a not-so-strong coffee, so don’t hesitate to do so! Pastries and sandwiches here are tasty too.

David, recommends Shaffa Bar

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

If you're in Jaffa visiting the Flea Market you should eat something at Shaffa Bar. You'll find almost anything on their menu, from vegetarian food to great sausages and after you're done you can get a haircut at Shaffa Hair Salon (first there was the hair salon and then they opened a restaurant), but remember to book in advance. During my Jaffa strolls, I like to stop at Shaffa Bar and drink good coffee next to one of their special Middle Eastern breakfast. If it’s nighttime I like having my arak next to 'shpetsale', which are East European-style dumplings served with butter, bacon, sausages and parmesan cheese, all in the centre of Jaffa’s most beautiful alley with a happy vibe.

Max, recommends Breakfast Club

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

Ever since the Breakfast club's establishment at 2014, it has been a significant landmark in Tel Avivian nightlife, and is now the first place DJs from around the world choose to perform in. The club attracts a big audience of party people, and what happens there is always the talk of the day. It's located at a central place at Tel Aviv, and offers refuge for dark lost souls that wander the night looking for trouble.

Since this place is an important institution of the city's nightlife, the entrance is always packed with people looking for the bouncer's attention. So, you have to be really patient about it. The entrance fee is between 30-70 NIS, in accordance with the DJ who's playing. Best days to visit: Thursdays and Saturdays.


Itai, recommends Tel Aviv Beaches

 

*Credit: Yarden Rokach

The big thing this city has to offer is its beaches. Anyone who lives here without incorporating it into their daily life pays the most expensive rent in Europe for no reason. But what beach to go to? I go to the Dolphinarium (see separate recommendation) since my surfboard is there and I have a locker at the club, etc. But there’s a whole list of other options: Gordon and Frishman Beaches - the ideal postcard Tel Aviv beaches. Beach volleyball courts, a special area for professional “matkot” players, folk dances on Saturdays, restaurants, deck chair that you can have expensive shrimp dishes on - everything is there. Go if you’re tourists who appreciate getting spoiled - you’re on vacation! At Gordon Beach you’ll also find the legendary Gordon Pool. It’s one of the prettiest pools in the world, but expensive. Hilton and the Dog Beach - this is the place to turn on your Grinder and watch it explode. Tel Avivian gays who’ve been working out at the gym all week come here on Friday to show off. Look for the upside down monkey statue and go from there straight to the beach. Trumpeldor Beach - the last beach in Tel Aviv without a restaurant, which makes it much more quiet than its neighbours. Delicate girls hula hoop there and stoners try to jungle facing the beautiful sunset. Alma Beach - between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, a long beautiful beach strip with a view to Old Jaffa with a decent restaurant called Manta Ray (tourists love it), and a good surfing spot when there are high waves. The area under the Etzel Museum is nice, and there’s always somewhat of a sexy atmosphere there for some reason. Givat Aliyah Beach - Jaffa’s beach. Hard core. Incredibly beautiful. Unforgettable. A groomed rockery will lead you to a beach where the sand is less sandy and more rocky than in the Tel Aviv beaches, but the beauty will simply take your breath away. There’s no breakwater and there are rocks at the bottom. The visitors are a mixed bunch: Arab girls from Jaffa go into the water with their clothes on, Russian folks from Bat Yam come here to barbeque and Jewish hipsters and yuppies who live in Ajami (an Arab neighborhood near the beach, and also the name of an awesome Israeli film you must watch - see separate recommendation) are also seen around. They all wash together at this beach, with the megalomanic Peres Center for Peace watching nearby. This beach is filled with metaphors but all that aside it’s also very fun and close to Zika (see separate recommendation).

Cool Cousin

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