Ultimate tips to dine and do in Tel Aviv-Jaffa & Jerusalem

Early 2018, Céline and I, Bert, headed for Tel Aviv-Jaffa in Israel. The city is perfect for a short, affordable and trendy city trip. A return ticket costing € 330 p.p., Brussels Airlines took us to Gurion in Tel Aviv in about 5 hours. The warm sun of the Middle East made for lovely weather. The month of June is the perfect time for a trip there!


Visiting Tel Aviv, you promptly discover the city’s immense contrasts: modernized quarters alternating with abandoned yet charming neighbourhoods. Not only do you get to know the local population, you also meet the ‘hipsters’. And let’s not forget: ‘lisromm’ or ‘chill’. Escape from our western hustle and bustle for a while. That positive attitude allows you to fully enjoy the splendour of Tel Aviv.

Wonderful (culinary) stay-over in the old seaport town of Jaffa

We stayed at the magnificent Airbnb of Dalit in the heart of Jaffa, an old seaport town, yet a wonderful and trendy quarter of Tel Aviv as well. Strolling the narrow streets, you spot urban paintings, cosy bars and trendy restaurants. Over here ‘hipster’ means young, innovative catering businesses where quality food prevails over appearance of the interior. The casual decoration makes for an authentic experience that makes you feel like a real local.

All around the old city quarters you get to smell and taste the authentic atmosphere. It’s no coincidence that Jaffa, or Hebrew Yafo, means ‘beautiful’. A must-do here: visiting the only just opened ‘Setai Hotel’, one of Israel’s most gorgeous hotels in colonial style, embracing the rich heritage of Jaffa. Being ‘old hands’ in the field, skipping this was not an option. Make sure you visit the Flea market in this part of town, all “Instagram-proof”.

Explore the commercial Rotschild Boulevard

Across a large part of the tourist centre runs the Rotschild Boulevard: a lavishly looking street with lovely food and drink spots. Ideal for taking a breather. The fruit stands, with ripening fruit hanging down, immediately strike the eye. In a Hebrew bar we enjoyed the local drink ‘Ayran’, a typical, non-sweet yoghurt-drink that presented the perfect refreshment.


Sunbathing at Alma Beach

In for some stretched out sun adoration? Alma Beach is great for sunbathing. Here, you’ll stumble on both locals and tourists. And the beach offers a lovely view of the old neighbourhood Jaffa.


What to eat in Tel Aviv? We share our best foodie hotspots

Tel Aviv truly is the ultimate city trip for foodies. We expected a lot of the rich international kitchen. We went ‘totally local’ and weren’t let down at all. Prices for a restaurant visit are similar to what you pay in our regions. The main difference is the food culture: whereas we like to dine sumptuously, a restaurant experience in Israel is more accessible and speedier.

To me, hummus is Israeli kitchen at its purest. And it makes for a lovely combination with pitta bread and fresh vegetables, the perfect side-dish to an Israeli brunch. Israeli adore ‘baba ganoush' and ‘labne’. Baba ganoush originates in the Lebanese kitchen and is a salad with smoky aubergines, sesame pasta and local spices. Labne is a savoury, drained, and strained yoghurt.

We gladly take you to the food hotspots we discovered, so you don’t miss out on them! Our list of places to visit:

  • La Farina presents, among other things, bread, pizza’s, pastry and cookies. We had a taste of their delicious bagels: fresh, toasted, and with cream cheese. After almost 5 years of bagels, I do by now know the right flavours and this was entirely ‘comme il faut’. The ‘Italian inspired bakery’ is situated at the Sarona Market, a hipster indoor market near the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Hakirya district) with popular food shops. Your place for lovely smoothies, candy and hummus stores.


  • Next to the Sarona Market, you bump into Tal Bagels. Although the name sounds ‘very American’, it is truly Israeli. Mainly male waiters serve you from behind a counter filled with fresh spreads, vegetables, vegan dishes, etc. We had a bagel with guacamole, tomato and mozzarella. Basic, yet fresh and very tasty. Ideal for a wholesome local brunch.


  • The Dallal Bakery (Neve Tzedek district) is an authentic bakery with fine pastry, delicious croissants and scrumptious coffee. The interior is absolutely stunning. As are the desserts, not too sweet and with and Israeli touch, they are finger licking good.


  • The stately mansion of Milk sees an utterly friendly lady pour some tasty coffee and ditto pastry. Nearby you find the ‘Market House hotel’, a surprising boutique hotel. Worth a visit!
  • Indulge yourself with ‘pumpkin pie’ and pancakes at Nola. Recommended by locals.


  • Put this on top of your list, beyond doubt our number one in Tel Aviv: Puaa, an appealing concept, entirely in Hebrew. On the extensive menu you find Mediterranean and Israeli dishes. Absolutely to die for. Very popular for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Top service makes for a complete picture. Opting for Hebrew as the language of communication, means to strongly profile your business locally. Good job!


  • The contemporary Flea Market diagonally across Puaa is a must-see. You find yourself in a fine deli with products from all over the globe and a lovely flower shop. This is 21stcentury entrepreneurship!


  • In café Xoho you start the day with a savoury and wholesome breakfast. On our plates? A bowl of healthy granola and a bagel with cream cheese, portobello mushrooms and fried eggs.


  • Of course we found a rooftop pool in Tel Aviv. We took the exit to the 5-star hotel The Norman: a splendid hotel that exhibits the richness of the 1920s. The ideal stop-over for a quiet lunch.
  • Asia, a hot spot by a successful business couple we really wanted to try. We had ourselves seduced by the local ambiance and the culinary Eastern food. Alas, we stumbled into a genuine tourist trap. With one letter extra, strangely interwoven in the logo, we ended up in the wrong restaurant. From start to finish, everything went wrong here. Speaking of a damper!
  • We went for a nightcap along the bay of Jaffa, at Container. Do check out the Abrasha park, only a few steps further. At the time of our visit, some 100 people were quietly enjoying an open air film, the vast sea in the background.


  • Restaurant Jericho is highly recommended for a super delicious diner, lovely wine and correct service. You pay almost double the price of other venues, but the quality of the kitchen is more than worth it. Good to know: mind the flowerpots on the terrace. Street cats use them to relieve themselves, not all that pleasant when you are seated too close.


  • The idiosyncratic and extravagant Bana serves 100% vegan dishes in a cosy setting and is decorated with simple materials. The snug garden turns it into an idyllic picture.

Day trip to Jerusalem


Got time for a daytrip from Tel Aviv? Jerusalem is no more than an hour away and transport between both cities is extremely well organized by comfortable bus transportation. A return ticket is priced at a mere €7,77.

The highlights for a flash visit to Jerusalem:

  • Have a stroll in the old city quarter and let the smell of spices, leather, and local products lead you.
  • The Western Wall in the old city quarter, also known as ‘the Wailing Wall’. Men and women strictly separated! Here you perceive the intensity of the praying Jews (especially on the male side).

Jerusalem is noticeably busier than Tel Aviv and also the range of restaurant is more limited here. After a quite a quest we found a delicious salad at Mr. Green – Salads & Bagels (Yafo Road). A fantastic concept that is shining at n° 7 in the top 10 of best delis in town. Moreover, this (take-away) restaurant is listed as a Mehadrin restaurant: the strictest level in which ‘kosher’ food is processed. Expect no service here, no smile, nor any sympathy for customers.


We were very much impressed with Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and absolutely recommend Israel!

Written on 18/03/2019 by Bert