Last updated August 7th 2014
We found this in Vogue Italy from October 4th 2013… it’s cool to be in Vogue (albeit only a very little mention :))!
Live concerts, festivals and raves in the Negev desert plus the unexpected luxury of Tel Aviv, the new nightlife capital of the Mediterranean
Israel, the “adolescent” country, is rich, noisy and always up with the new technologies; it cannot stop being talked about on newspapers and glossy magazines, as if it was an egocentric starlette. It just finished celebrating the beginning of the new year on the Hebrew calendar. The year 5.774 thus came with so much music. For once, you don’t have to be worried about the wars that have always troubled this “sacred” land, so everyone’s attention is focused on music.
Yes, there is a lot of fun, but also the luxury of restaurants and hotels hidden by the sand hills of this longed-for strip of Mediterranean land. We start from the south, where the desert ends and the rocky region of Negev starts, that served as a “connection” between Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea for the Nabataeans to carry incense and spices. Here, the lookout point of Mitzpe Gvulot is located next to the historical and traditional Kibbutz Gvulot. 4 stages and over 80 concerts will celebrate the Israeli Independent music, with young bands and famous artists from the Israeli music scene, such as Ester Rada, Marina Maximilian and the band “The apple”.
Many news will characterize this seventh edition. For the first time, two European bands will perform, too (German band Cooga’s Bluff and Please The Trees from Prague); there also will be a place for a festival in the festival. Thanks to the partnership with the radio station “Kol Ha Campus”, the area “InDtronix” will be set: it is a place exclusively dedicated to electronic music, where numerous bands will perform, and major record producers will be there. Green light then for tents and alternative accommodation. Those who love luxury, and don’t want to sleep in the Festival’s area dedicated to camping for backpackers, can go to the near city of Mitzpe Ramon, to be welcomed at the Beresheet Hotel, that can also be reached with the helicopter that leaves directly from the Tel Aviv airport. The contrast between the wild nature of the desert and the sophisticated architecture of the hotel creates a charming and elegant atmosphere. Same thing for the Boutique Hotel Chez Eugene. There are six suites, fitted with different styles, and a renowned restaurant, where Chef Shahar Dabbah only uses “zero km” products, to give his customers the real taste of Mediterranean.
You just have to head north now, and after having visited Ashkelon and Ashdod, the mandatory destination is Tel Aviv. Like a “nymph”, that knows she can be loved, Tel Aviv is haughty and off-putting. It is not afraid of what people tell about it, it is not afraid. Even with no makeup on, with no frills and half-naked, this city always manages to amaze us, thanks to its dynamic and lively atmosphere. This is a city with a high artistic density, and since some years ago it is the destination of an “exodus” from all over Europe, especially from France.
It is the crossroads of new trends, new ideas and lifestyles, and it is always full of new initiatives and new places. Maybe this is the reason why the new queen of pop, Rihanna, chose it as one of the locations for her world tour, and she will perform there on Tuesday October 22nd.
Tel Aviv is not beautiful, but it has got something. It is a labyrinth of neighborhoods, that take inspiration from different cities. At the Brasserie restaurant in Kikar Rarbin, you’ll feel surrounded by the Parisian Art Deco atmosphere, but you just need to turn at the corner and you’ll turn up in Italy. If you are sitting at the austere bar/restaurant Port Said, that is surrounded by porticos and bicycles, you feel like you are in the city center of Bologna, although there is a big Synagogue just in front of the bar tables. A bit of Italy can also be found in Pines St., in the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, the first one of this young city, while the Café Dalia by Nahalat Binyamin reminds us of the ’68 atmosphere of the Frida bar in Milan. But if you feel like tasting a “true” pizza slice, Zota Pizza (that means “this is pizza”) in Dizingoff St is the right place for you; besides, if you feel like tasting a good coffee while being surrounded by an Italian atmosphere, there is Barista in Ben Yehuda St.
A decidedly more bohemian mood at Rehov Ahad Ha’am, where must-have treats are a nice coffee at the cafeteria/bookshop Café Seferia, enjoying a bite at Nama Va Etzi facing the Abima Theater, indulging in a tasty Schnitzel at Café Noir. For Spanish cuisine lovers the place to go is Tapas 1. But Tel Aviv is a also a place with lots of “cuisine milestones” like the restaurant Herbert Samuel, while for humus or falafel the go-to places are the small kiosks inside the market and in Florentin.
If you are looking for Tel Aviv’s glossy allure you have to go to Taizu, the restaurant of Chef Yuval Ben Neria, halfway between the East and the West which also stands out for the lamps designed by Foscarini. Not far from the luxurious Yoo Towers where famous top model Bar Rafaeli lives (she loves eating at Zinc), close to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a few steps away from the legendary Cameri Theatre, founded in 1944, where you may watch a performance (English subtitles are available) featuring internationally acclaimed actor Itay Tiran, you will find Meatos, with its meat specialties, and the stylish Toto that proposes local and French dishes with a pinch of Israeli flavor.
Yehuda Halevy St. looks as if it was borrowed from Manhattan. Here the Delicatessen reigns supreme, part restaurant and part high-quality produce and flower market. Another piece of the US can be found in Dizingoff St, at NOLA American Bakery: the young owner, who speaks Italian, will be glad to serve you the typical Louisiana cakes. While for a good hamburger Agadir Burger and Wolfnights Wolfnights Chef Burgerare still evergreens.
If you wish to experience to the fullest the Israeli culture, on the sites www.eatwith.com and www.airbnb.com you may reserve a “shabbat” dinner with an Israeli family.
As for shopping, the vintage store Mugrabi is definitely worth a visit alongside with design shop Leopard Fun Shop in Allenby as well as the local designers’ studios. Once in Tel Aviv, Yafo/Jaffa is the place to go. The Container pub, in the recently refurbished port area, remains the best place for a drink with friends. As for accommodation, the best areas are Downtown Tel Aviv and Hertzelia that host the Rothschild 71, the Ritz Carlton Hertzliya, the Alma Hotel & Lounge and the Brown Hotel. And of course “the night crowd” totally loves this city. he Block, Clara, Valium, Bordel and The Comfort 13 Club in Yafo/Jaffa, are the best place to dance the night away.
As a conclusion of our journey into an “unexpected” Israel, turntable regulars and neophytes looking for their favorite DJ can only head straight for Masada, the solitary monolith that stands out against the desert, dominating the Dead Sea. Right here, in the lowest point below sea level (-424 mt) on 17 October the -424 Dead Sea Rave will take place. Among the artists attending also local idols Infected Mushroom that on this occasion will perform with a DJ set, alongside Steve Angello and the King of “hands raised to the sky” David Guetta, ready once again to have a whole generation dancing.
WHERE TO SLEEP:
1, Derech Beresheet , Mitzpe Ramon
Chez Eugene Hotel Restaurant
505, Spice Quarter, Mitzpe Ramon
Tel. +972-86539 595
71, Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv
Tel. +972 3 6290555
Ritz Carlton Hertzliya
4, Hashunit Street, Herzliya
Tel. +972 9 373 5555
Alma Hotel & Lounge
23, Yavne St. Tel-Aviv
Tel. +0972 3-6308777
WHERE TO EAT:
23, Begin Road, Tel Aviv
Tel. +972 (0)3 5225005
6, Koifman st. (Gaon house), Tel Aviv
27, Ahad Ha’am st., Tel-Aviv
5, Har Sinai, Tel Aviv
Tel. +972 3-620-7436
70, Ibn Gvirol St., Tel Aviv
Tel. +972-3-696 7111
78/81, Yehuda Levi St., Tel Aviv
3, Berkovits st Tel Aviv
57, Nahalat Benyamin
4, Heychal Hatalmod St., Tel Aviv
Comfort 13 Club
The birthplace of DJs Infested Mushroom, Skazi, Astrix and Astral Projection
13, Kompert, Yafo/Jaffa
WHAT TO DO:
Yoga: check out www.yogaspace.co.il
Facebook: check out the group Secret Tel Aviv
To know about the happenings and exhibitions of the week: thebubblist
WHAT TO SEE:
Carmel and Levinsky: the two historical food and spice markets. Levinsky is famous for its spices,tea, herbs and dates
Farmer’s Market: the coolest market. It’s in the port area and has been created by celebrity gastronomer Michal Ansky, who brought the cult of organic food to Israel
Bezalel Market, Jaffa flea Market: perfect for vintage and souvenirs.
Antique Market: Dizingoff square. Open on Thursdays and Fridays. Art déco and antique jewelryi.
Design Museum Holon
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Cameri Theatre: founded in 1944 it’s the most important theater in Tel Aviv. Home stage to Itay Tiran, an internationally acclaimed actor
Aqua Gallery: 29 Ben Zvi Road, Tel Aviv
STA Gallery: Ha’aliya 25, Tel Aviv
Talents – Gallery of avant-garde design: 34, Nachmani Street, Tel Aviv
Artists’ House Gallery: 9, Alharizi, Tel aviv
Old Jaffa Museum: 10, Mifratz Shlomo, Old Jaffa – Exhibition Toy Cycle until Dec. 31
WHERE TO SHOP:
Leopard Fun Shop – Design
33, Allenby St., Tel Aviv
Arik Ben Simhon – Mobili e Design
110, Nahalat Binyamin st.
Tel. +972 (0)3 683 7865
Mugrabi – Second Hand Store and Café
33, Allenbe St., Tel Aviv
155 Dizengoff – also on 49 Sheinkin St., Tel Aviv
Made in TLV