Tel Aviv Day 3 & 4

February 15th 2014katie

Cafe 48

We got back into Tel Aviv in time for dinner, and hungry after a long day exploring Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, so after a quick hotel pit stop we wandered back out again. We found Cafe 48 not far away. As as browsed the menu at the door, a couple sitting inside told us we won’t regret picking it – and they were right! It definitely vied for best meal of the trip.

Cafe 48

We started with lovely cocktails. It’s a small-plate kind of place so we picked a few to share. We were all decided then the waitress read the specials which all sounded amazing, we we had to re-decide!

Cafe 48
Cafe 48

Two of the specials happened to be two of our favourite things to eat: burrata (a kind of extra-creamy mozzarella cheese), served here on mouthwatering balsamic tomatoes, and cornbread, given the nacho treatment with a toasted corn and melted cheese topping. I also had a dish of stir-fried pak choi and Josh had some sliders.

Cafe 48

We were pretty damn full by the end, which is a shame as the dessert menu sounded amazing. The waitress overhead me lamenting my ability to fit anything else in, then brought us a little sliver of of Crack Pie (of Momofuku fame) for free with our bill. It’s simply the most indulgent-tasting dessert ever: soft butter, sticky brown sugar and chewy oats in a cookie crust. Needless to say, despite being full I finished the slice, and the accompanying whipped cream.

Farmers market

The next morning we went to Nachalat Binyamin, a street near our hotel which starts as an everyday/junk market, then has a farmer market, then turns into fabrics shops. Yes, basically my dream street.

Farmers market
Farmers market
Farmers market

Mouthwatering displays of fruits, veg and spices.

Fabric shopping
Fabric shopping

Fabric shops! They were awesome. I wrote in more detail about them over on my sewing blog if you’re interested.

Jaffa flea
Jaffa flea
Jaffa flea
Jaffa flea

In the afternoon we went back over to Jaffa to check out the flea market. There was so much stuff, from ramshackle piles of furniture on the streets to higher-end shops with some beautiful vintage and midcentury goodies. It was a bit distressing to not be able to bring anything home.

Jaffa flea
Jaffa flea

Plenty of kitties over here, too.

Jaffa
Jaffa port
Jaffa port

We walked back to Tel Aviv along the beach, admiring the stunning sunset on the way.

Abraxas North
Abraxas North

For dinner we went to Abraxas North, a place that seems to be pretty hyped-up as the coolest place to go. We were seated at the little horseshoe shaped bar, from where you can look into the open kitchen and see the chefs at work. I think the idea is each chef conceives and cooks his own dishes which make up the menu.

Abraxas North
Abraxas North

The food was… okay. Not the best we had on the trip by far, so we a were a bit disappointed given the reviews. The bread salad wasn’t nearly as nice as ones we’d had elsewhere, and the most famous dish – a whole roasted cauliflower, Noma style, just tasted… like plain cauliflower. Luckily we weren’t that hungry so didn’t order much as it would have been pretty expensive for a full meal.

Spice market

The next morning, our last day, was a bit cold and cloudy with a bit of drizzle. We couldn’t really decide what to do before our flight so took a walk to the spice market in Florentin.

Spice market

It was more of a collection of little shops rather than market, and I think there was more choice at the farmer’s market. Florentin isn’t the nicest part of town either, so we abandoned plans and went for a decadent brunch instead.

Benedict

Benedict is another of THE places to be in Tel Aviv. The queues out the door on Saturday morning were ridiculous, but luckily on Tuesday we got seated quickly. The menu is huge and reads like a San Francisco cafe with a bit of Middle Eastern influence. It’s also extraordinarily good value: my massive shakshuka included a free champagne cocktail and bread and was under a tenner. Ending the trip on a high.

Again, all these places are listed on my Foursquare list.

Finally, here are a few of my general thoughts on Tel Aviv if you’re thinking of visiting:

  • It’s a very safe and laid-back city and you will hardly ever feel hassled or ostracised for being a tourist. Nearly everyone speaks good English and it feels quite Western in culture generally, which is quite unique given its Middle East location. This makes it very easy to visit and feel comfortable in, though not actually all that different from London which is a bit disappointing if you enjoy experiencing new cultures.
  • It’s quite an expensive city to visit. The average price of our meals was around 250 shekels which is about £40-45 for a few sharing dishes and an alcoholic drink each. The most expensive was over 400/£70. Clothing and things in the shops seemed to be similar too, though the fabric shops were cheap!
  • You can get around by taxi, bike or public transport, or walk as it’s quite a compact city. The taxis are a bit unpredictable and can get expensive. The buses are about £1 per journey and it’s not too hard to figure out how to use them. Mooovit is a good app with local bus routes. There’s also a cycle hire scheme.
  • It’s a great city for vegetarians as the small meze-type dishes always include lots of veggie options. There’s also loads of local Israeli craft beer and a new but growing wine industry, so lots of nice drinks to be had.
  • If you visit over a weekend, remember that nearly everything (except most bars/restaurants) are closed on the Shabbat, Saturdays. I would probably have flown in on Saturday or done the Jerusalem tour on that day to avoid having not much to do.
  • Comments (9)

    • Jessica Rose

      February 15th 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Beautiful pictures…looks a very vibrant city.

      http://vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk

    • Canan

      February 15th 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Hope you’re having a great time! Everything looks so amazing, looking forward to some other travel posts!

      xxx

    • Claire (@Kurea_San)

      February 15th 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Great tips – I’ve found your posts really helpful in helping me plan for my own trip. Thanks :)
      Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

    • Iri

      February 16th 2014 at 8:50 am

      Great report, thank you sou much. I’d love to visit Tel Aviv one day.

    • Jess

      February 18th 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Ben bought some burrata once thinking it was regular mozzarella… not great for putting on a pizza! An Italian friend explained that it’s so creamy because the middle is *filled with cream* which is sort of crazy but definitely delicious!

    • Diane

      February 23rd 2014 at 12:16 am

      The look of the peppers and the colours of all the spices is amazing. Such a vibrant place to visit. Thank you for sharing your travels.

    • Charlotte B

      February 24th 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Wow! Your photos are stunning! The quality of them is absolutely amazing! May I be cheeky and ask what camera you use? I am looking to buy a new one and can’t work out which one to get! Love from Marbella x

      1. Katie

        February 26th 2014 at 12:50 pm

        Hi – I use the Olympus EM-5, I wrote about it here:
        http://www.whatkatiedoes.net/2012/09/olympus-om-d-review.html

    • Mark Pettit

      February 26th 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Spectacular photography, thank you for putting this up! :)

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