Ever since I first heard of the culinary and cultural resurgence underway following the rapid, artist-led gentrification of the southern districts of Tel Aviv – the Middle East’s liberal outlier of a coastal city – I have attempted to visit, but have been thwarted repeatedly. That is until this autumn, when, despite having spent hours discussing its merits with locals, I was floored by its febrile energy and intoxicating spirit: from the dynamic architecture to the shifting tides of people bustling through markets, nattering in cafes, lazing on city beaches, scoping out galleries, dancing in underground clubs and lounging on rooftops.
This diversity and excitement is reflected in Tel Aviv’s dining scene. Israel is a nation made up of immigrants, so countless epicurean traditions are absorbed and reimagined on a daily basis. The city’s chefs are well known for experimenting with rich and varied regional produce such as aubergines, St Peter’s fish (tilapia), red shrimps and pomegranates, and competition is fierce – meaning Tel Aviv has a surprisingly high concentration of kitchens creating exceptional food. I could suggest scores of spots for refreshment at any hour of day or night, but the below serves as an introduction to Tel Aviv’s tastes and atmospheres. Be assured, you will return.