Tel Aviv is an interesting and unique city on its own. In the 90’s and early 2000’s Israel was a hotbed and the culture of the people reflects what they have been through – the absolute love of life, the attention to food, and the warm camaraderie is all part of what I experienced when I visited this city for a too-short stay of 2 days.
Oddly enough, Tel Aviv does not have many luxury resorts, and there are no traditional chains here but the Hilton does happen to be one of them. Staying at this grand hotel reminded me of the luxury of Hilton in its heyday. Although the exterior of the building may look slightly weathered once you enter you realize that this property competes with some of the best urban luxury resorts in the world.
After settling into the hotel in a suite with a view fit for a king and newly remodeled bathrooms with bathtubs and windows that opened to the sea, I decided my first stop was to check out the beach scene.
I opted to ride one of the rideshare bikes that are prevalent all throughout the city and essentially rode the boardwalk South stopping along the way to take pictures and have a beer while enjoying the scenery. What struck me the most about being here was just how full of energy the city felt and how beautiful the ocean was. If you had just dropped me off here I would probably say it reminded me of a combination of Santa Monica California and Venice Beach (also in California).
My next stop was Jaffa and Jaffa Heights. At the south end of the beach you arrive at the old port city which put Tel Aviv on the international map. Established 1800 years BCE, this was an incredible sight to walk around and visit given that it was such a juxtaposition from the rest of the urban nature of Tel Aviv.
After quite a bit of walking and filming I realized that my next stop had to be for more food. After consulting Tripadvisor (which can be hit or miss – but still useful), I decided upon a place called “Ha’Pizza”. I had found based on my past few days in Jerusalem, that oddly enough – the Pizza in Israel was possibly as good or better than some of the best Neapolitan pizza i’ve had in the US in Brooklyn. I was told that this was because of the unique soil in the region and the resulting freshness of the grown tomatoes. As to whether this is true or not I’m not sure, but the pizza was damn good.
Of course I couldn’t just stop eating there. I had been told by an Israeli friend of mine that the most LOCAL dish I had to try was something called Sabich. A unique dish to this region, it consists of a sauteed or grilled juicy eggplant along with sliced hard boiled egg, generous amounts of creamy hummus, crunchy israeli salad, and Tahini and pickled sweet & sour mango, all on top of a fresh pita – this dish was essentially a to-go explosion of many flavors.
After stuffing myself to max capacity I decided to walk back to my hotel. Sunset was approaching and my solution was to soak in the bathtub with a view at the Hilton while listening to some Audiobooks. Tel Aviv – you have won my heart.