Cafes in Tel Aviv

Cafe Sonya, Tel Aviv, Photo by Jenny White

I mingled with the amnesiac crowd today in Tel Aviv’s cafes and played flaneur on Rothschild Boulevard all the way down to the Neve Tzedek old town between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. I admit it, I love open-air cafes. So let me play tour guide and recommend two cafes and a cafe-restaurant that I discovered today, in case you’re ever in Tel Aviv.

There’s a lovely cafe, Cafe Lieselotte, just a couple of blocks from Dizengoff Square. It only opened two months ago. A student who lives in the area brought me there.  The cafe is a family affair; Grandma Lieselotte is there too. And what’s special is that they make and bake everything themselves. I had a light-as-air croissant and an excellent cappuccino. Reines St. 20.

Then a couple of students took me to a hidden gem down an alleyway off King George St: The Sonya Cafe in a garden hidden behind some buildings. The alley, officially named “Unknown Alley”, itself has a fascinating history (see the cafe website). Simta Almonit 1 (corner of 18th King George St.) A lovely spot. I just drank carrot juice, so don’t know how the food is. Seems popular, though.

These cafes are both in the center of the city. I had lunch in a cafe/restaurant “Bistro 1887”  in Neve Tzedek on the southern edge of the city that was truly blissful. I found a table outside under the awning, facing a lovely old house across the street. Have the fish in wine sauce, salad and a Goldstar beer. Skip the overpriced desert. 27 Pines St., Neve Tzedek.

Prices are about $20-$30 per meal (lunch or dinner), less for pastries and coffee ($10-15).

Cafe Lieselotte, Tel Aviv, Photo by Jenny White

9 Responses to “Cafes in Tel Aviv”

  1. Good tips. Thank you.

  2. JW,
    Perhaps not the politest thing to inquire about, but could you also mention a few prices –ordinary daily stuff like how much is a loaf of bread, a cup of tea/coffee, a taxi/bus ride; that sort of thing.

  3. I added that to the post. It varies, but shekels go pretty fast!.

  4. The pastries look like they are worth it though…

  5. The pastries look like they are worth it though…

    Unless it has a better view [here] than, say, ‘Dilruba‘ and has more than 100 different varieties of pastry and other brunch items for $12.5/person ($17.5, weekends and holidays), it seemed a little on the expensive side.

  6. Lieselotte is a Dutch name as Ataturk Turks is….

  7. I must go to Dilruba then… It looks excellent. The places my friends take me to in Istanbul are usually overly priced quasi-European (cakma Avrupali) cafes with mediocre food. I must learn this kind of places. Good food at a good price.

  8. Cingoz,

    The places my friends take me to in Istanbul are usually overly priced quasi-European (cakma Avrupali) cafes with mediocre food.

    Exactly –meaning, I have been guilty of that myself too.
    For some reason, there are still plenty of places in Istanbul that we keep for ourselves and shy away from taking foreigners/strangers to.
    BTW, even though Dilruba isn’t in it (AFAIR), here‘s a book (in PDF form) that you might like [buy the book if you do] which lists (and reviews) a number of backstreet (i.e. obscured to foreigners) restaurants and other places to eat/drink in Istanbul.
    One more suggestion: If you travel by car in Turkey, try to pick those roadside restaurants that have many trucks parked in front of them.
    The decor won’t be much to look at, but the food will taste much better than elsewhere –simply because full-time truck drivers have their networks and communicate details of where to eat good food at good prices.
    [Note: You may not want to do that if you have female company though.
    Not that there will be any safety/security issues; but you will be stared at for the first few minutes which can be disturbing for the uninitiated female members of your group.]

  9. CA,

    Thank you very much for the e-book. It looks excellent, and like exactly what I have been looking for. I will definitely try as many of them as I can next time I travel to Istanbul. I could easily spot some well-known restaurants, such as Beyti and Konyali serving various traditional tastes but they were quite expensive.

    I spent my youth life in Turkey, and I had the chance to discover some roadside restaurants, which we called “trucker restaurants” at the time. We had excellent home food and excellent tea at those places. Thanks to the size and amount of bread they served, we could easily share one dish among many people. Of course, just like you said, our female companions never had the chance to enjoy the experience as much as we did. It was still worth it, I must admit.

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