Dennis Cieri, a New York writer, filmmaker and founder of Cieri Media, recently traveled to Tel Aviv where he discovered that the modern day Promised Land is a lot more fun than he thought it would be. Not only was he wowed by Tel Aviv’s dining scene, but he was very impressed by the city’s cultural offerings.
Tel Aviv boasts one of the best museums in Israel, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. And in honor of the inauguration of museum’s gorgeous Herta & Paul Amir Building exhibiting the world’s largest collection of Israeli art, the city has declared 2012 as Art Year with tons of events in various venues in addition to the museum itself.
While the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is the main attraction, don’t miss the Ilana Goor Museum in Jaffa, where metal, wood, glass and leather weave together into anything from chairs and lighting fixtures to necklaces, bracelets and sculptures. A belt buckle she designed was sought by Bloomingdales and her work has been sold throughout Europe and United States. Originally a hostel for Jewish pilgrims, this 250-year-old building serves as Goor’s residence, but is open to the public and is a true Jaffa jewel only a short ride away from downtown Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is a true shoppers’ paradise; that’s where Israel’s top designers have their stores. Noa Yaron’s boutique has a new silk collection and Gadi Elimelech’s styles are bold and showy. And while not everyone may be able to afford Alon Livne’s or Mira Zwillinger’s evening gowns, trying them on doesn’t cost anything so plan to stop by.
These days every big city loves to boast its market. Rome has Piazza Testaccio, Vienna has Naschmarkt and Tel Aviv is no exception: Carmel Market or as the locals call it “Shuk Ha’Carmel” where hundreds of vendors sell everything from fresh fruit and fish to spices and Judaica. While there, try some sizzling falafel or spicy shwarma, and wash it down with a frozen limonana, a popular lemon-mint slushy.
For another incredible market, take a day trip to Jerusalem, where of course you’ll visit the old city, the Arabic quarter and the Machne Yehuda market. But, if you want to dine at the Machne Yehuda restaurant, you must make your reservation weeks in advance or as soon as you book you flight. It is the hardest-to-get-into Israeli restaurant where three celebrity chefs Asaf Granit, Yossi Elad and Uri Navon cook a different food medley every day with the market’s best and freshest ingredients. But if you can’t score a reservation, just come back to terrific restaurants of Tel Aviv.
Comped but never compromised: Dennis went on a press trip to Tel Aviv sponsored by the David Intercontinental, but he is free to write whatever he wants.