Bona Fide Tel Aviv

enRoute online, November 2011

Sevonne Cohen, 29, hospitality industry
Bloom Field, Ruchama 12, 972-8-518-0124
In June, this design concept shop arrived in Noga, solidifying the neighbourhood’s of-the-moment status and elevating the city’s retail scene. “Tel Aviv is ready for this kind of boutique,” says Sevonne Cohen. “This city embraces the new.” Here reclaimed timber-and-steel bookcases, salvaged wooden trunks and a 1960s-era tripod-turned-lamp sit alongside locally designed summer dresses and jewellery, rotating artwork and a stack of vintage magazines. “There’s nothing else like this,” adds Cohen.

Hagai Maoz, 37, psychiatrist, with Eviatar, one
Tamara Juice Bar, 171 Dizengoff St., 972-3-523-4445
Juice kiosks abound in Tel Aviv, but Tamara stands out. “It’s different,” says Hagai Maoz, who lives nearby and visits frequently with his partner and their twin one-year-olds. “It feels like the original juice stand.” Maoz names the carrot and ginger juice and the orange, mango and strawberry smoothie as his favourites, but adventurous imbibers may prefer the iced coffee with bananas or a date-and-pomegranate-based concoction. As Maoz puts it, “You can’t go wrong.”

Danny Jacob, 31, investment manager
Volleyball Courts at Metzitzim Beach
Most Tel Avivim associate Metzitzim (peeping) Beach with the eponymous 1973 film, a comedic cult classic about peeping Toms. Not Danny Jacob. “I’ve been playing volleyball here with the same friends for over 15 years,” he says. Most days, the courts bustle with action. New arrivals are always welcome to join in, though Jacob’s own games might be a touch competitive for some: In 2005, he was a national beach volleyball champion.

Noah Slepkov, 29, political advisor
Sonia Getzel Shapira, 1 Simta Almonit, 972-57-944-2801
The backyard garden at this café is “a hidden gem,” according to Noah Slepkov. With palm-tree-mounted fans, scattered pockets of sunshine and friendly service, Sonia offers a laid-back antidote to a frenetic city. But house-baked Moroccan breads, addictive shakshuka – a Middle Eastern staple of eggs, tomatoes and spices – and bright, satisfying salads made with produce from nearby Carmel Market take the appeal beyond the atmospheric. “This is a place I love – a place I’ll bring visitors to or come to on my own,” says Slepkov. “I’ve never been disappointed.”

Shirlee Harel, 28, development director at a non-profit
Comme Il Faut, Old Port, Hangar 26, 972-3-171-7550
Since 1987, when Sybil Goldfainer and Carole Godin founded the feminist fashion label Comme Il Faut, the brand has grown to encompass nine boutiques, a women-only spa and this café in the revitalized Old Port. “Originally, they only employed women,” says Shirlee Harel. “And men weren’t allowed in the door. I guess they decided that wasn’t good for business.” For Harel, however, the draw is not philosophic but gastronomic: “This is a great seafood restaurant, though my favourite dishes are the beef carpaccio and the five-tomato salad.”

Merav Zachor, 46, human resources
Dan Panorama Hotel, Charles Clore Park, 972-3-520-2552
It’s been 20 years since Merav Zachor’s relationship with the Dan Panorama began. “I first came in 1991 with my husband – just a month after we met,” she says. These days, when Zachor visits the 483-room luxury hotel, it’s with four children in tow. “We live in Modi’in, about 30 minutes away, but the moment we walk into the hotel, we’re on holiday,” she says. “The kids love the pool” – a sprawling, pristine, beachfront oasis – “and my husband and I love the nearby restaurants.” With a sparkling new spa, Mediterranean-facing balconies and a legendary breakfast buffet, the hotel offers a tranquil escape from daily life, even if daily life is just a half-hour away.

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