Tel Aviv, Israel is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that will surprise you in al the right ways. Full of outdoor markets, epic vegan food and even a sweet spot for herbal kombucha, we’re exploring a day in this magical Middle Eastern city with nutritionist and health coach, Shauna Faulisi. Rich with culture and clean, traditionally prepared foods, life in Tel Aviv is likely to spark the kind of world-expanding inspirational experience we only hope to find while traveling. Here’s a health coach’s wellness guide to Tel Aviv…
Where to Eat, Stay + Play: A Wellness Guide To Tel Aviv
There’s a major wellness movement happening in Tel Aviv, it’s prominent and palpable. Healthy cafes, studios and stores are new and shiny. Businesses are eager to get their messages out, residents are welcoming the new culture and are open to learning new and better ways for living well. It’s important to note that the primary drivers of this movement are the millennials of Tel Aviv. My impression of my Tel Avivian millennial peers is that they’re laid back, level-headed, passionate, straight forward and make time for fun. Their personalities are all reflected in the shops and cafes, which makes each place its own unique experience.
Prices in the TLV wellness scene are comparable to those in Los Angeles—they come at a premium. But fresh food doesn’t. In general, Israel takes great pride in its fresh produce. So, my tip: You can alternate between the list below and add in that cute spot you stumble upon on your walk and still feel great without breaking the bank.
Where to Eat, Stay + Play: A Wellness Guide To Tel Aviv
Israel is a very small country—the size of New Jersey, and Tel Aviv follows suit allowing for much of the city to be seen on foot or shared scooters (you’ll need cell service to utilize them) in less than a week. It’s an incredible place with incredible food, opportunity and culture. Without further ado, here’s my wellness guide to Tel Aviv.
Where To Eat
Urban Shaman: This should be the first stop on your list. One can’t talk about the wellness scene in Tel Aviv without speaking of Urban Shaman. The owner, Udi Sahar is an force in the wellness scene and making waves in the space. His commitment to his restaurant and healthy living is full of integrity — he’s trained in herbalism after all! This vegan local spot is filled with large, superfood-filled salads, healthy twists on Middle Eastern classics, and refined sugar-free desserts. Unlike many vegan spots, Udi makes sure inflammatory oils and sugars never set foot in the door. I can’t say enough about Udi and Urban Shaman. Put this spot on the top your list.
Cafe XoHo: This is one of the cutest, bustling restaurants I went to. With close proximity to the beach and the Dizengoff neighborhood, Cafe XoHo is a merge of healthy-ish meals, with the classics. The menu is worldly, pulling favorites from all over the world. They add special elements to their dishes: baking their own gluten-free bread (the best I’ve ever had), brining smoked salmon in an array of herbs and vegetables making the color vibrant and the taste unique. Be sure you don’t miss the onion jam to put on your GF bread with the scrambled eggs.
Bana: This adorable place is constantly upping their game and creating new and interesting dishes. It’s a casual sit-down spot, so go ready to dine and have a glass of wine. The chef is filled with pride on her creations. I particularly loved their healthy-vegan-approach which incorporates only fresh and local ingredient while being soy-free and inflammatory oil-free. Their creative desserts are what really stole my heart—the Coconut Cream Pana Cota is not to be missed.
Delicatessen: This spot reminds me of a deli you’d find in Amaganset. It’s stunningly beautiful, filled to the brim with a mini-flower stand, grab-and-go dishes, unique packaged foods, local cheeses and an entire section dedicated to freshly marinated olives. If you’re looking for a more picnic-style meal, this is the place. Or if you’re like me, dedicate some time to browsing and discovering local brands, interesting flavor combinations and taking pictures of the flowers.
Cafe Levinsky 41: This one-of-a-kind beverage spot is not to be missed. Benny, the founder, started making these special drinks when his customers started requesting healthier Gazoz, a homemade Israeli soda. When walking up to the window counter, don’t be overwhelmed with the amount of fermented jars on the shelves—from Kombucha, to June (fermented green tea with honey), to fruits and herbs—it’s all there. The fermentation-ista’s will make you a personalized beverage and garnish it with the most beautiful flowers. Benny has created a special community spot where customers gather on an old truck to sit, sip and chat.
Jusa Cold Pressed: Tel Aviv’s emerging juice company. They’re on a mission to get their juice into shops, gyms and out to the public. Grab a juice and take a peek into their gorgeous open kitchen where they make magic happen.
Miznon: This is celebrated Israeli chef Eyal Shani’s version of Israeli fast-casual. I went with a group of friends and it was one of my most memorable meals of my life. Order the Fish + Chips Pita with a their famous Roasted Cauliflower and Smashed Potato. And don’t forget to order a glass of red!
Port Said: If you’re looking for a meal that captures traditional Israeli cuisine and the heart of Tel Aviv, this is the place. It’s filled with locals, a giant wall of vinyls and the most incredible eggplant I’ve ever had. Another winning concept by chef Eval Shani.
Bucke Cafe: This neighborhood spot is one of the best for people watching. It’s not the healthiest—you may need to modify fare from the menu if you are after healthy—but it’s worth going for their infamous dramatic platters. Or go there for coffee and to get work done, then continuing on to one of the other spots on the list for a full meal.
Citizen Garden: Full disclaimer: I never made it here. I forgot Saturday is a holy day for many. In Israel, many businesses close down for the weekly ritual of Shabbat. However, their Instagram stole my heart and is filled with gorgeous, nutritious dishes that I was genuinely bummed to miss out on.
Anita: Here you’ll find the best frozen yogurt you’ve ever had. Not the healthiest, but you’re on vacation! With an large array of toppings, build your yogurt and take it to-go while you stroll the streets of the gorgeous neighborhood of Neve Tzedek.
Where To Stay
Hotel Montifiore: This boutique hotel is nestled in the stunning area of Neve Tzedek, a high-end neighborhood of Tel Aviv. The bar is filled with locals, and the small, cozy lobby downstairs is bustling all night because of the classic menu done at a high level.
Jaffa Hotel: This hotel is a work of art. The location is just out of the main area of Jaffa, making it quiet and serene, while still being accessible to the heart of Jaffa—remember it’s a small city! The pictures don’t do it justice, it’s a must-see in person. It’s imperative to check out the Chapel Bar that opens at 4 pm. It’s stunningly gorgeous.
Where To Shop
Dizengoff Area: Young, busting and the best street for independent boutique shopping. Filled with curated little jewelry shops and clothing stores at reasonable prices, you can find unique goods here. It is central, close to the beach and comes alive at night.
Rezort Official: Owned and curated by Barak Nachmani and his travels around the world, this is a beautiful lifestyle shop next to the Jaffa Hotel. Art, jewelry, furniture, rugs, clothing—if you’re in the area it’s not to be missed.
Neve Tzedek: A gorgeous neighborhood with stunning architecture and incredible shopping. Don’t miss jewelry stores She-Ra, Michal Ben Ami and Just Believe Jewelry. Also, be sure to check out lifestyle store Numero 13. Allow yourself to get lost in the streets and you’ll discover a few gems of your own.
Where To Caffeinate
Anastasia: The best fresh almond milk latte in town. They serve vegan food as well, but I only went for the daily latte.
Papua Cafe: The coolest coffee spot I’ve ever been to. Nestled on a residential street, you almost think you’re going the wrong way. The whole cafe is outside with low built-in tables and stools with locals connecting with each other. The staff is young, chill and you feel like they’re your friends. Don’t miss this spot.
Cafelix: If you’re a coffee snob like I am, this is a must. It serves high-quality coffee in a chill Williamsburg-like atmosphere. Take a breather from all the walking, or take it to-go and get lost in the streets of Jaffa.
Where To Play
Jaffa: This ancient and historic area lined with stone streets makes getting lost thrilling. There’s an incredible art community there—from street art, to art galleries, and a Friday Artist’s Market. Shopping ranges from street-fair level to high-end shopping and worth checking out whether or not you’re buying. There’s a unique energy to Jaffa and it should be made a priority to visit for at least a day.
Markets: It’s not a trip to Israel if you don’t make time to check out the outdoor food markets. From bright and colorful herbs and spices, to fresh foods, baked goods, and vendors wanting you to stop that their stand — it’s a sensory experience not to be missed. Carmel + Sedona Market’s are the ones in Tel Aviv. Or save your market trip when you take a day trip to Jerusalem — the market of all markets, Mahane Yehuda is there.
Take a day trip to Jerusalem: Jerusalem is the most fascinating place I’ve ever been. It’s remarkable that the ancient, historic, and greatly religious city of Jerusalem is only 45 minutes from the modern, ever-changing city of Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is the capital for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Be sure to wander through the infamous bazaar and through all of the different quarters — it’s like nothing in the world. You’ll see praying, gatherings, singing, and hear chanting coming from the Muslim Quarter. It’s a stunningly beautiful and surreal sensory-awakening experience. Be sure to visit Jerusalem’s version of a Farmer’s Market, Mahane Yehuda Market in the day. At night, the stand close and the bars come alive. Thursday is the night to hang out there.
Tedar: You’d walk right past this spot if you didn’t know it was there. The doors open to a large outdoor open space where people are hanging out, drinking, and eating fresh pizzas from the restaurant upstairs in the up-and-coming Florentine Neighborhood. Spend a chill evening here feeling like a local.
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