In sidewalk cafes, twenty-somethings speak Russian, Italian, English, French and Hebrew. The women are wearing skinny jeans, body-skimming tops and big sunglasses. The men are fit and stylish. I’m moving with the crowd, navigating around gym moms with strollers and brunch parties waiting for a table.
This is Neve Tzedek, founded in 1887, and now Tel Aviv’s trendiest neighborhood. The narrow streets are paved with ancient stones – but lined with super-chic boutiques and Colonial-style cottages.
For shopping, there is Art Maroc for Moroccan décor, pottery, lighting and more. Samy D features dramatic, gilded ceramics. MIZO is the place for chic, urban minimalist fashion.
I love eating at Tazza d’Oro, a bright café/espresso bar on a side street. On Friday and Saturday nights, the place hops, but arrive a little off peak and you’ll have a cozy corner to yourself. I almost always order the Egyptian breakfast and a cappuccino.
Dallal is another great place to eat, on Shabazi Street. The outside feels like a French cottage, but inside it opens up into numerous small rooms. There is outdoor seating as well. The food is excellent, high quality and perfectly presented – if a bit pricey. The bread and perfect pastries come from Dallal’s European-style bakery, located just around the corner.
I’m in love with Neve Tzedek’s charm, its historic architecture, its energy – even its graffiti. “You will never get enough of me…” reads one small piece of art on a wall in a back residential street. And that’s how I feel.
I’m planning my next trip already. Last time, we rented a modern loft apartment in a high rise that dwarfs the neighborhood. Next time, I’d like to stay at Nina, a boutique hotel with large suites, that’s right in the center of everything. I’ll buy jewelry at SIGAL and I’ll take in a ballet at the performing arts center, too.
The Station, another trendy shopping and dining complex is within walking distance. And Wolfson Street, with its high-design lighting shops, runs along the opposite edge of the neighborhood.
For food, fashion or just to discover a growing design destination for hip, international travelers, consider Neve Tzedek. Flights are into Tel Aviv.