BY: ALEXIS MILLER
In Tel Aviv every 50 meters you can spot a bustling café, each boasting a different atmosphere and ambiance, and filled with literary intellects, high-tech workers, families, and soldiers all in the same place. Cafés range from hipster, to preppy and chic, and anything in between. When one thinks of a café in the United States, it most likely consists of a Starbucks to-go or a muffin for the road. Yet, in Tel Aviv, the intersection of European style and start-up culture makes cafés used as meeting spots for friends, provisional offices, a writer’s haven, or for first dates. Their versatility is what makes café culture an institution dating back to Tel Aviv of the 1930s. Any time of day, Tel Avivians and tourists migrate to conduct business or people-watch, all while snacking on a salad, sandwich, or drinking a fresh juice or cocktail, and of course the fantastic lattes, espressos and ice coffees.
Even in times of struggle within the country - as we are experiencing now - many café-goers continue about their daily lives of eating and drinking. It keeps a sense of normalcy and allows people to find a sense of togetherness. In the height of this conflict, many businesses have taken a toll, and they are trying not let that affect their execution. At Totzeret Haaretz, which means Made in Israel, (located at 12 Masaryk Square) the owner says that business is definitely slower than usual, but since most of their business is based on locals and people from the neighborhood who know about their café, they are staying afloat. The café consists of mostly outdoor seating, which is great for enjoying delicious coffee and a meal with a breeze. Totzeret Haaretz is known for their specialty coffee, which of course, I had to try! I had an iced cappuccino to accompany my shakshuka, which was probably one the best iced coffee I have ever had. Totzeret Haaretz attracts many different types of people from artists, musicians, and painters to businessmen and students. If the owner, Michel, does not like the vibe from a customer, he has no problem sending them next door to a more touristy spot.
Overall, the café culture in Tel Aviv is evident and is one of the many features making Tel Aviv so unique and accessible. Whether CEO of a major company or a local artist, people of all backgrounds can enjoy the Tel Aviv café scene. You do not necessarily need to go to a fancy restaurant for the best meal of your life. Many cafes produce delectable food and drink that will leave you wanting to come back for more!
Best Cafés in Tel Aviv:
Café Xoho- Gordon Street 17. Try their freshly squeezed juices and smoothies and allergen-friendly fresh-baked goods.
Café Puaa- Rabbi Yohanan Street 8. Their décor is antique and all furniture is available for purchase as part of the Jaffa flea market shtick.
Rothschild 12- Rothschild Blvd 12. If you are looking for a buzzing café in the heart of Tel Aviv, this is your spot, especially for people-watching.