Its that time of year, Tel-Aviv is hosting Casual Connect, the biggest games conference, for the second time (November 1-3, 2016).
After the feedback I got last year, for the Tel-Aviv guide I published, I couldn’t avoid updating my guide with the hottest spots in The city, to eat, drink, sleep, sunbathe and travel.
As one who travels quite a bit, and often find herself in new and unfamiliar places, I always try to get recommendations from locals about hot spots in the city.
Below you can find my personal favorite hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and beaches.
I hope you find this list helpful and that you get a taste of what Tel-Aviv, the city that never sleeps, is all about.
Feel free to share with friends and colleagues.
See you soon!
Playtika’s Favorite places to eat
Da Da & Da: Located in one of the trendier corners of Startup Central the Da Da and Da is a great place to start of your day in a stylish manner. Though the place serves lunch and breakfast it’s probably more of a breakfast place than anything else.
Benedict (open 24/7): Benedict’s breakfast kitchen is open for breakfast lovers everywhere, every day, all day. Its world of breakfasts contains a multitude of flavors, combinations, culinary innovations and surprises. The place offers a wide variety of ingredients that come to us from different cultures and traditions, where the morning starts in a different way than we are accustom to.
Meshek Barzilay: We always say that the test of a good vegetarian restaurant is if a meat eater, or even lover, can go there and enjoy without missing meat. Meshek Barzilay lives up to that standard. This is definitely a great choice if you’re entertaining someone who requires vegan, celiac, or vegetarian dining, or even if you’re simply looking for something slightly healthier in a gorgeous setting.
Drinks and light dinner
Room Service: The relaxed yet lively atmosphere at Room Service exemplifies exactly what we love about Tel Aviv. The food is relatively unadventurous, but good quality, fairly priced, and varied so there is something for everyone whether you’re visiting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’ve ever walked past you’ll have no doubt noticed it, with a queue snaking around the corner of Dizengoff and Nordau and people waiting happily with a cocktail in their hand. A great choice for a fun night with friends or for a date. We recommend the “Southern Peach” cocktail which you can get in a big sharing bowl. Reservations cannot be made after 20:30.
Speakeasy: rooftop bar & lounge is located in the heart of one of Tel Aviv’s most famous boulevards, features a large selection of unique cocktails and delicious small plates.
Concierge: Concierge is a top notch cocktail bar located in the hearth of Tel Aviv.
The Cocktail Menu is amazing and diverse. Happy Hour from 19:0o to 21:00
Vicky Christina: Super trendy tapas restaurant and bar on the south side of the city located in a historic train station compound. Great place for a larger group – may be too loud for proper meetings but undoubtedly one of the better spots in the city.
The old man and the sea: (Hazaken Ve Hayam) This is a staple visit in a tourist’s visit to Tel Aviv. Minutes after sitting down, the table is greeted with a load of small plates filled with salads and dips. All these plates are refillable so it’s very easy to get carried away and fill up, but try to resist that urge! For main course there is a selection of fresh fish and meat served simply.
Abraxes north (TZFON ABRAXAS): If you are after something out of the ordinary then we recommend trying Abraxas North. For us, eating is always entertaining, but at Eyal Shani’s restaurant you’re definitely in for an entertaining dining experience. The food is brought to you on pieces of cardboard or in paper bags and guests eat off the paper table cloths. Supposedly, Shani doesn’t “believe in plates”. We suspect he just doesn’t like dirty dishes. Anyway, who said we need plates when we have perfectly good tables?
Cantina: Stylish Italian with a high end vibe, located on Rothschild Ave. right in the middle of it all. Good looking people, great food, not that cheap J
Social Club: Trendy, NYC vibe bistro, great for a night out of both food and drinks. Located right off Rothschild Ave. Rumored to be the favorite spot of the Facebook London team J
Joz Ve loz: Intimate and casual chef restaurant with a hipster vibe. Great outside garden. Located somewhat off the beaten path but in reality only a 3 minute cab ride from the center of the city.
Taizu: The finest Asian fusion cuisine in the city. Located in the same building as Playtika! Perfect for business meetings lunch and dinner.
FU Sushi: Located on the north side of the city, FU is probably the best Sushi spot in town. The place gets full very early. Make a reservation ahead of time!
Herbert Samuel: Another highly recommended chef restaurant which is considered an establishment in the tel aviv culinary scene. Food is eclectic and superb. Great sea view.
Shila: Trendy seafood and fish restaurant and bar, located at the beating center of the city. Good looking people, the bar is known to be a good pick up spot for you single people J
Brasserie: One of the oldest and most established restaurants in the city. Open 24 hours a day this is a great spot for you late night munch with friends.
The Brothers – Ha’achim : located on Ibn Gvirol offers a spin on the middle eastern cuisine by modernizing classic dishes. The food is fresh and simply delicious, and for an extremely reasonable price too. You can order 3 or 5 of the sharing starters for a fixed price which is always a good idea- be sure to order the fried artichoke! The alcohol is also relatively cheap so we would recommend it for students or those on a budget looking for a fun dinner. The staff are particularly warm, and the cool ambiance and dim lighting makes it great for young people. On Friday and Saturday check out their buffet breakfast.
Dinings: a branch of the famous Japanese Tapas restaurant from London. Located on a third-floor rooftop, overlooking vibrant Tel Aviv.
Mantaray: This restaurant offers an unbeatable combo: great fish with a beautiful sea view. Manta ray is renowned as one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Tel Aviv. For starters the waiter brings a selection of delicious mezzes and fresh bread. They also boast a famous breakfast until 12:00 which includes eggs and pancakes. A perfect restaurant for a family dinner.
Zepra: A first class Asian fusion restaurant with a broad menu, guaranteed to please all tastes. As always with Asian, it’s best to go in a big group and order a variety of things for the middle. We recommend the Popcorn Black Tiger Shrimp, the Healthy Buddha salad, the Fungus Taro Har Gaw (mushroom dumplings), and the Bo Luc Lac (cubed beef fillet). The tall ceilings and oriental elegance are the final touch that make the dining experience so enjoyable. They also have great cocktails- we recommend the vanilla lychee. Some people say it’s overpriced, but in our opinion it’s worth it!
Local and Street Food
Miznon: Just few minutes walk from the conference venue, and a must eat! The menu offers pita with various fillings including minute steak (44 NIS), entrecôte with fried egg (37 NIS), and ratatouille (34 NIS). All the ingredients are fresh and of the highest standard, especially the delicious and soft pita.
Hashomer 1: If you find yourself in the Shuk hungry and craving a good Israeli food, then head down to HaShomer 1. This spot is known for its meaty sandwiches It’s nice to sit at the bar and watch the chef whip up your meal in minutes all the while chatting and joking with the customers. Everything is served with a crusty loaf of warm, doughy challah.
SABICH FRISHMAN: This is one of the most famous “Sabich” spots in Tel Aviv, and rightfully so! When they ask want you want inside- just say “hakol”. Sabich is ideal for vegetarians too- pita filled with a hard-boiled egg, fried eggplant, salad, tahini and lots of divine spices. And all for 19 NIS!
Abu Hasan: the best Humus in town in a simple setting. Make sure to get there before 1:00PM which is when the Humus runs out.
Dr. Shakshuka: Doctor Shakshuka, a restaurant located at the heart of the flea market, is serving North-African home-style cuisine, which has many fans. Most of the cooking is done in the family kitchen by the mother of the family.
Turk Lahmajun: one of the best places to get Shawarma (sliced meat in Pita bread/Lafa) in Tel-Aviv. The place may be bustling during lunch time, after you taste it you’ll understand what the fuzz is about.
Itsik Hagadol: This is the right place to be amazed with the abundance of the Israeli Mediterranean cuisine, including a variety of salads and delicious meat dishes. Recommended with a group of people that will be able to share all this food.
Tony Vespa: Selling their tasty pizza to hungry Tel Avivian customers, Tony Vespa is the star of Tel Aviv’s new wave of pizza joints. There isn’t a standard slice of pizza – you get to choose your own rectangular-shaped slice, and that way to taste many toppings.
**For additional food recommendations by type/genre visit Telaveat website
Playtika’s Favorite Bars & Clubs
Habustan – Secret Garden – Ha’bustan is an open bar located just behind the beautiful Old train station in Neve Tzedek bringing the best DJ’s in town, it’s the perfect place to be during the summer, open air area, great vibe, great drinks and the finest crowd.
Rothschild 12: A bistro by day and an underground club by night, the club offers different live music shows almost every night. This is Playtika home ground as all our local industry mingles get done here!
Port Said: “Port Said” is a super hipster bar designed with long tables outside that allows people to gather together and listen to old records playing. Next to your drinks you can enjoy Casual Middle Eastern food prepared by one of the most infamous and strange Israeli chefs named Eyal Shani.
Sura Mara: Restaurant and Bar on the top of an unexpected rooftop. Great view of the city with a nice vibe. Great spot to mingle with friends and colleagues from the industry.
Jajo wine bar: A beautifully decorated wine bar (with light food) located in a historical underground chamber of sorts. Great for a date (if you have one while you’re here), a one on one meeting, as well as a small group of people.
Bellboy: Located right by the CC Israel event, this is a concept cocktail bar where the waiters wear a bow tie and jacket and serve you sophisticated cocktails in a dark 1920s setting.
The Library Bar at the Norman: The Library Bar is an elegant 1940s colonial style bar, situated at the Norman hotel Lobby. Sip one of the classic cocktails, whiskies and cognacs at the pewter-topped bar. As the sun sets, the Cocktail Bar comes to life, with late night entertainment from our in-house DJ and live performances that draw locals and tourists alike.
Shaffa Bar Jaffa Flea Market: Shaffa bar is located in the flea market on the border between Tel Aviv to Jaffa- the hottest spot in the city. The menu is very diverse and so is the atmosphere- from easy going breakfasts and lunch to an evening menu with lively atmosphere, good alcohol, live bands, and cool Dj’s playing great music.
Mila Bar: Popular among the hip, this is the perfect place to get a real feel for the local bar scene. Expect a loud, fun and vibrant space. Good-looking patrons fill the stools and the standing room in between.
Cat & Dog: Notoriously known as one of Tel Aviv’s sleaziest hangouts, parties here start late (and yes, we mean around 3am) and last long after the sun comes up.
Breakfast-Milk: Operating since 2005, the “Breakfast club” has become one of the fundamental cornerstones, shaping what seems to be the “golden era” of the insanely decadent nightlife in Tel Aviv. Located at the peak of the famous Rothschild Blvd, the “Breakfast club brings together the crowd with a deep emotional experience of music, which creates the magical atmosphere that will keep you dancing from dusk till dawn.
Clara: One of the most established dance clubs in the city. Located on the seafront across the intercontinental hotel. Drives a multinational crowd as well as locals. If you’re looking for a dance floor this is your spot.
Radio EPGB: the underground bar with the mysterious acronym that defies all attempts at explanation – This late night spot is known for its after parties. The Radio as it’s known by the locals features great Djs, loud music, and a great crowd.
The Block: Recently renovated and re-opened in the Central Bus Station, The Block is surprising – a quality underground club with an incredible analog sound system bringing an impressive line-up of DJ’s every weekend.
Shalvata: Overlooking the Mediterranean waters at Tel Aviv’s Port, this chilled out bar is known for its music and sea breezes. Great for an afternoon beer.
Playtika’s favorite Hotels
Norman: Tel Aviv’s newest 5 star boutique hotel located right off Rothschild Ave. This is a beautiful and expensive hotel with all the features you would expect of a top class hotel. If you can afford it take a room here!
Hotel Montefiore: Small and stylish boutique hotel with a great downstairs restaurant (on our restaurant list) Right smack center in the best area of the city and of course very close to the CC Tel Aviv event, this should be one of your choices if you can get a room.
Townhouse Hotel:Right by the Montefiore and Alma hotels, the townhouse the less expensive sister of Montefiore. The hotel is owned and designed by the son of one of Israel’s most famous interior designers. Great location and value for money.
Alma: Probably one of the most uniquely designed hotels in the city which shares its location with the two hotels above. This is an expensive way to experience Tel Aviv but you don’t come often so why not splurge?
Brown: In the heart of Tel Aviv’s urban scene, at the crossroads of the charming Neve Tzedek quarter and trendy Rothschild Boulevard and a ten minute walk from the beach, the Brown TLV Urban Hotel is an ideal choice for the seasoned business traveler as well as the lifestyle-driven individual eager to access the vibrant city.
Royal Beach: Royal Beach Tel Aviv is a luxurious and elegant hotel, offering the guests a great hospitality experience in the big city. Royal Beach Tel Aviv, designed by German star interior architect Harald Klein, who specializes in urban hotel interior designs and worked on many hotels worldwide.
Carlton on the beach: Carlton Tel-Aviv is a business hotel on the beachfront, the best choice if you like to open your day with a sea dip.
Alexander: The Alexander Tel Aviv, a Luxury designed Hotel in Tel Aviv located on the beach overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean sea. The Alexander Tel Aviv offers a luxury accommodation in a prime location for perfect hospitality
The Rothschild Hotel: The Rothschild 71 is all about comfort, intimacy and class for both a business trip and an urban vacation alike. Conveniently situated in the center of Tel Aviv’s cultural and financial quarter, located on the famous Rothschild Boulevard, in a carefully renovated ‘International Style’ house built in 1934
Bardichevski: Tucked away on a quiet street in the cultural heart of Tel Aviv, A brand new 24 room boutique hotel based around one simple theme – pure indulgence in the city that never sleeps.
Diagilev: The DIAGHILEV LIVE ART boutique hotel always changes and develops, taking on new layers of content and creating diverse, one-of-a-kind experiences. With its changing art exhibitions, exclusive cultural events, unusual concept and diverse style, every visit at The DIAGHILEV is totally unique
Atlas Hotels: Israel’s Leading Boutique Hotel Chain, with many hotel options in Tel-Aviv.
Airbnb Tel Aviv: always an interesting option.
Playtika’s favorite beaches
Playtika’s favorite Tel Aviv Attractions
Tel Aviv Port
The Jaffa Flee Market
Dizingof Street (Shopping)
Tel Aviv Museum
Attractions outside of Tel Aviv
The dead Sea