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Between classics and moderns

Located between Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel has adopted the culinary traditions from many parts of the world.

To this culinary blend, Arabs have contributed with the traditional recipes of hummus or falafel, while adopting, in the other hand, traditional food from Jewish arriving from Hungary and Poland, taking the culinary arts of their home country.

In this past few years, Tel Aviv has become in the gastronomic capital of the country, with luxury restaurants and delicious street food, mixing products and flavours from all over the world.

CLASICS

Falafel

The humble falafel is, as happens with the regional food in each country, a matter of dispute and controversy. Everyone has their favourite place and they can argue long and hard why it’s better. This is a cheap and fast snack but however it’s not less delicious than other food. Furthermore, now you can find falafel for anyone, like made of wheat or gluten-free pita.

And if you want to eat a good kebab, you can try one of the best very near from Tel Aviv. It is served in Abu Ghosh , and they say it is one of the top 5 kebab restaurants in Middle Eastern, specifically located in the third position. The fact is that the Arab village of Abu Ghosh, on the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is known for its hummus restaurants and is very popular with both locals and tourists. Here you have the guarantee that they will serve a memorable meat dish . They mix the beef with onion, parsley, pine nuts and some grease before threading the needle on an iron skewer. It is cooked on a grill and served with rice and salad, with a pinkish hue inside.

Another of the most remarkable places is HaKosem, with fresh falafels made of chick peas from Spain, very spiced with cumin, cilantro, garlic, paprika, onion and sesame seeds. In Yahaloma, in the other hand, it’s prepared following the Egyptian style. Yahaloma Levy has the store next to the Levinsky market and falafels are only served on Tuesday and Wednesday, as a tribute to the owner’s mum, who was born in Alexandria. The falafel balls are served with marinated arugula with lemon, pickles, tahini and spicy homemade sauce.

Or in Gabai, where generous falafels are served since 1946, you’d have plenty of it! Pita is also filled with a large amount of vegetables and a delicious spicy sauce.

Hummus

The best places to try hummus are closed once they finish the stock. It’s necessary to get there early to not miss your portion of this delicious food with an Arab origin that, nevertheless, was adopted by Israel almost as a national dish.

In Ali Karavan/Abu Hasan, for instance, hummus is served with lemon juice and onion or with beans and chickpeas as a topping, fresh & creamy. However, there will be always a waiting queue, don’t despair. The queue ends fast because people just eats and leave to let new costumers eat.

Ali Karavan/Abu Hasan, an old family business in operation for almost 40 years since 1966, serves what is considered the best hummus in Tel Aviv. This is a small place, a bit noisy sometimes, but it’s a must-go place when you are in the Jaffa area.

Ali Karavan/Abu Hasan
1 Dolfin Street | Jaffa, Tel Aviv 6813
Schedule: from 7:45 until the hummus is finished

MODERNS

Vicky Cristina
Prof. Yehezkel Kaufmann 2
vicky-cristina.co.il

A place with two different areas, just like in Woody Allen’s movie. Vicky is the tapas restaurant and Cristina is the bar. While the restaurant Vicky was inspired in Park Güell, with "trencadís" white tables and a relaxing patio outside, Cristina bar is where the nightlife takes place.

Dallal
10 Shabazi Street, Neve Tzedek
www.dallal.info

The place where artists and bohemians meet up in Zedek, the southwest quarter in Tel Aviv. The restaurant is in an old inn from the 19th century restored with patios and an outdoor bar, lively during nigh time. You can order a wide variety of delicious salads, gourmet dishes and a great wine menu, good value for money.

Nana Bar
1 Ahad Haam
www.nanabar.co.il

Also in Neve Zedek quarter you can find Nana Bar. A relaxed interior is a genuine oasis to celebrate gatherings or dinners with friends, also with a gardened patio. The decoration is delightful, with artwork or odd and exclusive furniture. Fresh and unpretentious food, with a wide variety of fish, vegetables and delicious desserts are served here.

Picture pita de falafel por Ted Eytan | picture falafel por Gopal Venkatesan

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Seven Ideas for Enjoying Tel Aviv with Children

Famous for its white silhouette and for being the city with the largest collection of buildings inspired by the Bauhaus (over 4,000), it is also renowned for its Mediterranean light, its multicultural, cosmopolitan milieu and its high standard of living. However, what is not so well known is that young Tel Aviv, founded in 1909, is a fantastic family resort where both the young and old can have a lot of fun. Why? The high birthrate – over three children per family – has prompted a large number of children’s facilities to be built in the city. Here are some ideas:

1. Kids might get bored with stone, the major feature of the old port of Jaffa, founded in 700 BC, which forms the original nucleus of present-day Tel Aviv. But you’re sure to win them over if you tell them it was here that Noah’s ark came to rest when the Flood subsided. This maze of well-preserved, winding streets has been exquisitely restored as part of a complete makeover. It throngs with craft shops, art galleries, cafes and artists’ studios, including the rehearsal premises of Mayumaná, a group known for its unusual way of making music using non-musical objects, such as rubbish skips, recycled objects, etc. If you start hearing weird sounds while out strolling there, they are obviously engaged in a full-blown rehearsal. Before leaving, make sure you take some amusing photos of Jaffa, like hugging the “hanging” olive tree or in front of the whale that swallowed Jonah. If you happen to be out walking at dusk, have a look at Tel Aviv’s skyline and the fishermen seeing out the day on the wharf.

2. Jaffa is the site of a pleasant Tel Aviv promenade, the Tayelet.The walk, which stretches for fourteen kilometres, starts at the old, millenary harbour and crosses Tel Aviv in a northbound direction. It can be done on foot, or by jogging, skating, skateboarding or cycling – municipal bicycles can be hired all over the city. All you need is a credit card, and that’s it! Don’t worry if you get tired of pedalling – we recommend a stop-off at one of the cafes opposite the beach, or having an ice-cream while seated on one of the benches along the promenade, where you can sun yourselves and soak in the atmosphere.

3. Tel Aviv is a coastal city with beaches where you can enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate. They are clean and lively and provide all the services – changerooms, showers, playgrounds and swings! All designed for soaking up the seaside, as here they can boast of over 300 days of sun a year. The family favourites are two in particular – Metzitzim, in the north, perhaps the beach of choice among locals, and the Jerusalem beach, which affords a perfect view of the Jaffa skyline. For interest’s sake, Hadatiyim is the beach where religious people go, while Hilton beach is preferred by surfers and homosexuals. To get into the swing of things, buy some typical wooden racquets called markot and get ready to spend hours playing on the beach.

4. A stroll down the Rothschild Boulevard is a must. Make sure to stop off at number 45, the domain of the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. This is the Mecca of chocolate in all its shapes, colours and textures and their prices are well worth paying. The menu is so tantalising and so mouth-watering that the whole family is sure to give in to the temptation at any time of day.

5. Talking of food… somewhat less traditional are the products to be had at the Carmel Market, the best place for imbibing exotic flavours and aromas and discovering fruit, vegetables, sweets, multi-coloured spices, fresh fish, meat hanging from gigantic hooks and prepared food unrecognizable for many westerners. Strange aromas, sounds from voices and electronic devices, music and hubbub mingle in the air. Of course, the question most often heard is – What is this? Startled expressions at the new flavours are guaranteed, as are the smiles on realising that you can also find sweets in Israel! Even though they are a bit strange. But, don’t leave Carmel without tasting a pomegranate and orange juice… Mmm!

6. The Ramat Gan Zoological Center is a locally popular nature reserve where you can see exotic animals like giraffes and lions in the semi-wild. The park tour, measuring one square kilometre, is done by car, as if on a short safari. Be warned, though – the size is deceptive. The circuit is so well designed that it seems bigger than you imagine. If you don’t have your own car, you can hire one.

7. Hayarkon Park is a replica of New York’s Central Park in all respects, including appearance and size – it stretches over four square kilometres. We recommend taking a bicycle ride along the riverbank and having a picnic and, for dessert, a game of cricket – a popular game in Israel. There is also a lake where you can hire a boat, several ponds with ducks and even a climbing wall where you can try out your skills as a rock climber.

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Text and images by Nani Arenas

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6 magic places in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a city that never sleeps and offers a mix of opportunities to enjoy our stay there. Each neighborhood has its owns charms and each can have a unique and unforgettable experience:

1.- Old Jaffa

The old town, Old Jaffa , claims to be the neighborhood where the history of Tel Aviv begins. Its narrow streets and picturesque stone houses make you immerse in the old Ottoman Empire. This part of town is known for being one of the busiest and the main claim for tourists, attracted by the bohemian and art off its people and places. The flea market, Jaffa Flea Market , treasures all kinds of antique and curiosities that will not let us get away with empty hands. If we are hungry, Ali Karavan serves the best hummus in the world. Its main dish is hummus with beans and also the prices are very affordable. Another restaurant in the area to highlight is Dr Shakshuka , where you can taste the typical Israeli home cooking as much varied and tasty.

2.- Tel Aviv Port

This restless city is characterized by its port and beaches, washed by the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea . Tel Aviv offers spectacular views and it is a must walking around the harbor, which can be reached just leaving Old Jaffa. In Tel Aviv Port can be found especially local clubs or cocktail bars and a wide range of restaurants for all tastes. On the seafront is located Galina , an outdoor nightclub whose attendees are both tourists and locals. Theme nights for everyone are usually scheduled . Lovers of fish and shellfish can not say goodbye to Tel Aviv without delighting their palate in Manta Ray , number one shellfish in Israel . Another of their specialties is the cream of aubergine, a favorite for many of their guests . It is a perfect place for both a brunch with friends or to enjoy a romantic dinner by moonlight and the sound of the waves.

3.- Tel Aviv’s Downtown

Tel Aviv’s downtown hosts the most sophisticated shops in the city, from world famous brands to luxurious Israeli firms. The most emblematic of Tel Aviv are the great Dizengoff shopping center and the Bauhaus Center museum , in the heart of the city. We may also choose from a variety of restaurants that feature cuisine of extreme quality. Our favorites are the ice cream from Vaniglia and The Dinning Hall, a multicultural restaurant that fuses the culture of Israel through the cooking styles Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Arabic and Jebusites, always with Mediterranean and European connotations. The latter is located in the Performing Arts Center, on the boulevard of King Saul.

4.- Florentin

Florentin is a lively, bourgeois neighborhood of Tel Aviv. Where once was the working class’s refuge, in this last decade has been transformed and has been filled with artists, artisans and interesting people. Walking the Florentine streets is common to see graffiti on the walls or doors of houses, shops and establishments. Shuk Haaliyah spice market has become a must for all visitors to the city. We recommend to eat at Hahultziym 3, a restaurant that will make us dream with its parmesan-reggiano cheese, its kebabs, pitas roasted pork pitas and challah or bread stuffing Hebrew.

5.- Rothschild

Rothschild is the quintessential neighborhood for shopping and browse lots of little shops of local and vintage clothing. The Rothschild Boulevard and Shenkin Street have boutiques with a personality, best to go for the latest. Tuesdays and Fridays, Nahalat Binyamin Street becomes a showcase for the most innovative designers of clothing, jewelry, furniture and handicrafts. Most hedonists are in the right district, as the coolest nightclub in Tel Aviv, Radio EPGBE opens its doors in front of the boulevard. The purest underground atmosphere and live music make us enjoy the Israeli scene. You will listen to indie, rock, electronic and independent music in general. After a wild night, we can go to recover strength to Benedict, on the same boulevard, open 24 h and specialized in the most complete and tasty breakfasts that we can imagine.

5.- Neve Tzedek

The trendy district of Tel Aviv is precisely Neve Tzedek where tradition and modernity coexist. It is one of the most beautiful and was built in 1887 as the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of Jaffa. Get lost in its streets is essential in our journey to discover the white city’s history and evolution. We will be mesmerised by its amazing architecture that invite us to take pictures incessantly. Bohemian artists and modern people occupy the streets and proliferate their workshops and business in this area. The Monastery is a cocktail bar open 24 h, known for the variety of imported beers, situated at Allenby. Sausages are its specialty and there are all kinds. Good place to connect and converse with the locals and other tourists. Next to Neve Tzedek, the impressive market Hacarmel stands with stalls of exotic stuff and food to trade with their multicultural assistants.

Image:Boris Kuznetsov

By Blanca Frontera .

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Spittelberg y otras zonas gastro-molonas de Viena

By Silvia Artaza from gastronomistas

We thought we’d fly to the Austrian capital to discover those routes that take us beyond the city’s glittering imperial and classical legacy, beyond St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the giant ferris wheel in the Prater park. And to be sure, we found streets, neighbourhoods, and very modern projects un which all sorts of interestingly hip restaurants have sprung up, many of them quite wunderbar.

Naschmarkt and Freihausviertel

We began our tour in the Naschmarkt, the city’s best-known food market, which has become a meeting spot for all sorts of people. It’s the place to buy fruit and vegetables, but also to sample exotic cooking from all over the world, as more and more eating places are to be found amongst the market’s 120 stalls. Particularly noteworthy are Neni, with dishes from Israel and the Orient, and the “ecological” cuisine of Tewa. But the best approach is to walk around the market with your nose on the alert for the aromas that most strike your fancy. There are even more places to eat on the streets near the market, such as the spectacular On Market, specialising in Asian food, or the Café Amacord, for Viennese treats in a setting heavy with local atmosphere.

Leaving Naschmarkt, we headed for Schleifmühlgasse to find a street that is also famous for small, exquisite Indie restaurants with very tempting fare behind the show windows. One such is Babette's, a shop selling cookbooks, spices, and other items where hot food is also served, and then there’s Coté Sud with its tasty French dishes. More temptations await you on other streets of the Freihausviertel son interesantes en la ruta.

Karmelitermarkt

Like Naschmarkt, another market taking on a whole new life is Karmelitermarkt, on the other side of the Danube in District 2 (Leopoldstadt). Check out Schöne Perle, with its home-cooking interpretation of traditional Viennese cuisine, and the organic, seasonal fare offered at Zimmer 37, There are many more surprises for you on the lively, nearby streets of Praterstraβe and Leopoldsgasse.

MuseumsQuartier

Another spot worth a visit it MuseumsQuartier (MQ), a cultural enclave with numerous museums and exhibitions of a wide variety of artistic disciplines, and also brimming with the most inviting cafes and restaurants. In the courtyard, mulled wine is served these days at the Christmas market, to the music of a DJ, and in the summers you can even rent hammock space there for serious chilling. Glacis Beisl, though almost hidden in the rear part of MQ, is usually fully booked by people anxious to partake of its local and international dishes at very affordable prices in a pleasant atmosphere. If you can get a table, this is a great place to eat after a morning visiting museums.

Spittelberg

Jus behind MuseumsQuartieris the charmingly Bohemian Spittelberg, consisting of a few cobbled streets enclosed by Burgasse, Breite Gasse, Sigmundsgasse and Mariahilter. Here you’ll find a wide choice of dining options, amongst then Amerlingbeisl with its lovely courtyard, Das Möbel with its original furniture, and all for sale, Die Burgermacher for delicious hamburgers and also vegetarian dishes and a fresh “special of the day”, and Trattoria da Paolo & Anna a small Italian restaurant with chequered tablecloths and delicious food.

And if you come at Christmas time…

At Spittelberg you’ll find one of the city’s best Christmas markets, specialising in handcrafted items. Another busy and festive Christmas market is that of Rathausplatz, with 150 stalls selling decorations, gifts, and sweets treats of every variety. You should try the hot wine (Glünwein) and the Viennese pasty –you can’t leave Vienna without sampling the Apfelstrudel, and here you’ll find it at its very best.

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