My Neighbourhood: Tel Aviv

A red haired woman standing in front of a red wall.

Tel Aviv member and Israeli actress, Yuval Scharf, shares her insider’s guide to the best places to visit in the White City when she’s not on the road

By Pip Usher   Sunday 8 March, 2019

‘Tel Aviv is all about the spirit of creativity,’ says Yuval Scharf, the flame-haired Israeli actress who has made the beachside city her home for the past 16 years. A graduate of Israel’s leading drama school, Scharf rose to prominence in the local film and television industry, before landing a breakout role in the British gangster crime series McMafia in 2018. ‘It made me hungry,’ Scharf recalls of the experience, which saw her shooting in London and Croatia.

When she’s not overseas, Scharf lives in a leafy neighbourhood in central Tel Aviv with her husband, musician Shlomi Shaban, and their two small children. Here, she shares her favourite spots to eat, drink and be merry in this increasingly progressive city that offers ‘something fun to do, no matter what time it is.’

But first, coffee: Cafe Yael
18 Zeitlin Street, Tel Aviv; +972 3 639 9970
‘This is a calm, secret place. It’s small, around four tables, and everyone sits together and talks. I’ll grab an Americano, but they also bake their own cookies and bread.’

Brunch time: Hotel Montefiore
36 Montefiore Street, Tel Aviv, 66883;
‘On a quiet morning, I’ll head here for its classic Israeli breakfast. It’s just eggs, smoked salmon, cheese, vegetables and a bread basket, but they use local produce,
so everything is fresh.’
a woman with red nails in front of a plate of food and glass of rose
Dine out: Cantina 71
Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv;
‘Since Cantina opened, I’ve been so often that it’s become a second home. Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, this Italian restaurant serves simple but delicious food. Order their spicy fish – it’s the best in the city.’

Romantic rendezvous: Pronto
4 Herzel Street, Tel Aviv;
‘For a special meal, I’ll go to Pronto. The chef, David Frankel, is one of the greats in Israel, and the huge wine list includes my favourite Burgundy.’

Work it: Liky’s
Hatarocha 3, Nemal Tel Aviv Street, Tel Aviv;
‘Three times a week, I head to this cool workout space in Tel Aviv’s port. Its group classes blast out pop music, so it feels like a party at 9am. Afterwards, buy a shake, enjoy some fresh fruit, then start your day.’
A restaurant interior with a large plant and tables and chairs
A clothes shop interior with white clothes hanging from a rail.
Fine art: Tel Aviv Museum of Art
27 Shaul Hamelech Boulevard, Tel Aviv, 61332012;
‘This is an incredibly creative hub that constantly offers new exhibitions, cultural activities and a great collection of local and international contemporary artists. Check out the new wing with its must-see “light fall” atrium.’

Talking shop: Ella Levy
25 Montefiore Street, Tel Aviv;
‘Ella is a local Israeli fashion designer who creates elegant pieces for women, mostly in black and white, that you can wear again and again. Her boutique is on the same street as Hotel Montefiore, so grab breakfast, then shop.’

Retail therapy: Belle & Sue
41 Sheinkin Street, Tel Aviv;
‘Considered one of the most trendsetting stores in Israel, this clothing and homeware retailer curates a mix of well-known brands and independent designers.’
A busy seaside and beach with a city in the background.
After hours: Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar
66 HaYarkon Street, Tel Aviv;
‘A small, magical place hidden inside a hotel; it’s like entering a different world. They have a lot of imagination when it comes to cocktails, so I recommend asking the bartender to create something that they think you’ll like.’

Eat up: Carmel Market
48 HaCarmel Street, Tel Aviv
‘Check out Tel Aviv’s most famous food market on Fridays at noon. In Israel, we enjoy Shabbat dinner on Friday nights with our family, so everyone at the shuk is preparing themselves for that. It’s a happy atmosphere.’

Slumber party: The Norman
23-25 Nachmani Street, Tel Aviv;
‘We enjoyed a staycation here for my husband’s birthday and I didn’t want to leave. It’s a stylish and super-fun boutique hotel with a great cocktail bar and a rooftop pool.’ 

Images from top: Yuval Scharf (courtesy of Rotem Lebel); Pronto; Hotel Montefrore; Ella Levy; Tel Aviv beach
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