24 Hours Eating, Drinking, and Being Merry in Tel Aviv

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With only a couple days in Tel Aviv, I barely scratched the surface of what this 100-year-old Israeli city has to offer. From innovative chefs meshing Israeli food with worldly flavors, wine bars that feature the country’s vino, more types of hummus than you could imagine, and a whole culture of craft beer, there is enough culinary happenings going on in this city to warrant it a food-focused destination, among other things. And, in just 24 hours I ate, drank, and partied plenty in this fabulous city.

8am: Each day starts with an Israeli-style breakfast, which includes anything you could imagine from fresh pastries, three kinds of yogurt with dozens of fruits, grains, and nuts to put on top it, various cheeses, boiled eggs, you name it. I indulged in the Dan Panorama’s complimentary breakfast buffet before heading out into the city, full, yet hungry for more.

11am: Heading to Old Jaffa City is a surefire way to savor some art and culture. I found a truly tasty display at the Ilana Goor Museum, which showcases the sculptor and industrial designer’s The Morning After, a long table laden with bronze insects and scavengers feasting on the leftovers of Jesus’ last supper.

2pm: Somehow looking at all the bronze bugs and ravens made me hungry again, and in Israel I found lunch is best taken at a small shop. I headed though the Carmel open-air market, past the fruit, spice, vegetable, and sweet stands, and onto a tiny street where the Israeli-Yemen eatery Erez resides. There, it’s impossible not to eat too much of their Yemini bread and pita—especially when paired with some of the best hummus I have ever had.

5pm: Next, for a taste of Israeli wine, I wandered into HaTachana, the old Jaffa train station, where now no trains go, but instead they have dozens of high-end shops. Skipping those, I headed into the welcoming arms of Vicky Cristina, a tapas and wine bar nestled into the back of the station. With two buildings—one made of glass and full of high-top tables, and the other more of a private sit down space—this modern bar marries old and new world design in comfortable way. In the center of the resturant, they have an outside bar built around large trees. It was there I sat under a heat lamp and tried their selection of Israeli wines, including the heavenly 2010 Galil Mountain Ela.

8pm: Situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Boya, or “Life,” brings a bit of Italian to the plate with their thin-crust pizzas, whole sea bream with scorched tomato, and squid ink linguini with seafood. They also makes Middle Eastern dishes that get an international kick, like the fried cauliflower with chili sauce, the stone-baked mushroom melody with balsamic and parmesan, and on Thursdays they make dim sum.

11pm: Brown, one of the new boutique hotels that have popped up in Tel Aviv, just opened a new downstairs bar featuring a 1970s vibe and a list of classic cocktails with a innovative twist. I stopped in and indulged in an Air Negroni, which becomes light and fluffy with the addition of egg white, and tried their Burnt Orange Manhattan. The backyard is decked out in couches, chairs, and heat lamps, because yes, even if it rarely gets to freezing temperatures there, the winter is still cold.

1am: In Israel most people have Friday and Saturdays off, so that means their Saturday is like our Sunday. Even so, we hit up OCD and found the club packed with Goldstar Lager-swilling, pop-tune dancing Israelis. After that, it was back to the hotel to rest and start the cycle all over again the next day.