Hummus and fire-breathing barmen in totally trendy Tel Aviv
As Chelsea set off for their latest Champions League fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv, travelling supporters can prepare for a trip to a proud, exciting and varied city which never seems to take a break.
Tel Aviv is very much a new city on old shoulders. The city as we know now was founded only in 1909, but the ancient port of Jaffa on the city’s outskirts can trace its roots back well over a staggering 7,000 years.
And though they say New York is the city that never sleeps, Tel-Aviv can give NYC a real run for its money.
Here’s your Euro Away Days guide to a truly memorably city…
The traditional tipple in this part of the world is Arak, an aniseed-based spirit ranging from 40 to 63 per cent proof.
If that’s a little too heavy for you though, Israel has a concocted the Arak eshkoliyyot. Yep, try pronouncing that after 1am.
It’s an Arak-based cocktail with grapefruit juice, topped with ice cubes and is one of the most popular choices among locals.
Another popular mixer is Limonana, an unusual mix of lemon and mint. Try it. You know you want to.
Now the main beers of choice in Israel are Goldstar and Maccabee, but don’t fret if they don’t sound too exciting, for Israel is getting very much on board with the microbrewery revolution.
A host of small businesses have been on the rise in the 21st century, with places like Srigim producing beers based on chickpeas, dates and buckwheat.
Srigim is a little out of town, but head to Beer Bazaar in the centre of Tel Aviv, where you’ll find over 90 varieties of local beers, including its own produce. A real hidden gem.
While it is hard to argue against hummus being the classic staple of Israeli cuisine, it’s a little more tricky to pin down who serves up the best.
Abu-Hassan is often regarded as one of the finest though. Open for over 40 years, you might have to be a little patient to grab a seat on the weekends, but it’s worth it for some of the creamiest and richest hummus in the country. Get there sooner rather than later as once they’re out of hummus, they close for the day!
You’ll absolutely want to try a Sabich during your visit too. A marvellous pitta wrap filled with egg, salad, aubergine, hummus, tahini and various greens and spices, comes together to produce a snack like no other. Oved Sabich is the place to find this filling and sumptuous dish.
While a Falafel can be found two a penny, what you really want to be telling your mates about back home are Shakshuka and Jachnun.
A Shakshuka will start your day right, with poached eggs cooked in tomatoes all blended together with spices, onions and peppers, while a Jachnun is a thin, rolled pastry slow-cooked the night before, served with hard-boiled eggs, grated tomatoes and, erm, hot sauce. Yep, really.
And of course, being right on the Mediterranean means Tel Aviv produces some of the finest seafood around. Head to the Manta Ray restaurant for stunning views across the sea with a fine fresh seafood dinner.
With a working week running Sunday-Thursday, it means that while many in the UK are down the local testing their knowledge in the weekly pub quiz, Israel’s capital is having another big Thursday night out.
Cofix Bar is a great place to start the night thanks to some very reasonably priced drinks before you head to the places like Minzar.
Open 24/7, this bar in the centre of town runs a happy hour from 8am until 8pm, so it’s basically a happy day. Every day. Regarded as one of Tel Aviv’s core meeting spots for a drink, it’s barely changed since opening in 1993 and is a refreshing and simple break from the modern world of shiny lights and cool cocktails. Did we mention it’s open 24/7?
If clubbing is more your scene, then Tel Aviv has you completely covered.
Head to the Penguin Club or the Cat and the Dog to bust out your best moves, or there’s the Bordel Bar where the bartenders like to breathe fire…
Tel Aviv in its current guise was founded a little over 100 years ago, but through the City’s ancient port of Jaffa, can trace its link back thousands of years.
It is widely regarded that Jaffa and its surrounding areas were inhabited over 7,000 years ago, and is where Jonah set sail on his feted voyage.
Indeed Jaffa is as important a place as any on Earth for a dose of history. Take a stroll around the old town, meander along the old port, take a deep breath, and soak it up.
Museum hunters should mosey on to the Neve Tzedek borough in the centre of the city. Tel Aviv’s Museum of Art is located here, in the former home of the city’s first mayor.
Beit Hatfutsot – the Museum of Jewish People – is certainly worth a visit too. Located at the Tel-Aviv university, the museum was one of the most interactive and innovative in the world when it opened in 1978, and it still retains a real factor of wonderment today.
One Last Thing
They always say do as the locals do, so take a walk on the beach and remind yourself that you aren’t in damp, cold and grey Britain.
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