Exploring the Café Culture and the Finest Coffee Shops in Tel Aviv
The artisan coffee roaster Cafelix has a semi-religious status among Tel Avivians | Courtesy of Cafelix
Tel Avivians are serious coffee aficionados, and the city’s hundreds of cafés are humming with the gentle buzz of coffee beans being ground from morning until night. With something to suit every taste, style and budget, Tel Aviv’s coffee hang-outs are ideal places for grabbing an early-morning brew, catching up with friends or taking in front-row views of the non-stop action the city has to offer.
Tel Aviv, among the world’s culinary capitals, proudly boasts an exemplary coffee scene, where speciality cafés are a daily essential for the city’s residents. The coffee, freshly baked goods and health foods served across Tel Aviv’s cafés are so good that mega-chain Starbucks has failed to penetrate the local market. In its place is Aroma, the country’s national espresso coffee chain, which has more than 125 shops scattered north to south.
There are also kiosks, quaint tucked-away cafés and other popular chains dominating every inch of the city. So, whether it’s a frothy hafuch (an ‘upside-down’ coffee), some blended concoction or a fruity elixir, Tel Aviv will deliver that much-needed pick-me-up every time. Here are some of the best cafés in the city.
Cafe Xoho was established by Xoli Ormit-Durbin, a native of Hong Kong who has created a tight-knit international community within this intimate space. The fun and vibrant café has become a go-to for morning coffees and afternoon grub, serving all-day breakfasts and lunches, including bagels, burritos and sweet pancakes. Its fresh-from-the-oven baked goods, including a variety of cookies, are not to be missed.
Part vintage bookstore, part café, the Little Prince Bookshop is a quaint and comfortable oasis, making it the ideal spot to indulge in a good book. Hundreds of second-hand titles in a variety of languages line wooden shelves amid a mix of armchairs, sofas, tables and chairs, and there is also a covered, tree-lined backyard. The café serves a selection of reasonably priced morning and afternoon bites, as well as sweet treats.
With two locations – on King George and Ibn Gabriol – The Streets is a much-loved spot to grab a coffee, snack or something more substantial at any time of the day or night. Its jam-packed menu offers a variety of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with many vegan and vegetarian options available too. Make sure to try the ginger and lemon Power Shot for a healthy pick-me-up (best enjoyed with a summer breeze on the outdoor terrace). It’s also a haven for digital nomads working from their laptops, so it’s always busy.
Bialik Street is one of Tel Aviv’s most fascinating stretches. It’s the location of the Rubin Museum, Bialik’s home and former City Hall, as well as some of the best examples of the city’s Bauhaus buildings and other eclectic, European-influenced architecture. Situated at its entrance is Cafe Bialik, a warm and welcoming institution with award-winning coffee and all-day breakfast, including the classic Bialik Morning with eggs, salads and cheeses. Operating as a home for musicians and a gallery space for artists and photographers, the café is a great spot in which to enjoy an evening of live performances and admire the artwork and photography on display.
Cafelix roasts its coffee in small batches | Courtesy of Cafelix
The Cafelix chain, which has four locations in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, is an artisan roaster with a devout following amongst Tel Aviv’s coffee aficionados. Cafelix imports quality beans directly from farmers with whom the owner has established strong relationships, and brews are handcrafted with special in-house roasting equipment, served alongside a spread of cakes in an upscale urban setting.
Renowned for its selection of freshly baked goods, Roladin is a showstopper in the cake and sweets department. Established in 1987 by two brothers who opened their first café two years later, Roladin has dozens of branches nationwide. Breakfast, coffee and sweet treats – including their famed festival-themed baked goods – are served at every location. Roladin also prepares home-made loaves of bread, including olive, rye, sourdough and spelt varieties.
Café Shneor has something for everyone | Courtesy of Café Schneor
Café Shneor is a bright and airy neighbourhood haunt on Pinsker Street. Every dish on its morning and lunch menus, including its healthy yet hearty breakfasts and sandwiches, is also available as a vegan option. For a taste of what’s popular among Tel Avivians, order the Coo Koo in a Nest (a fried egg in herb-seasoned toasted bread) and wash it down with a hot or cold coffee from the café’s extensive drinks menu.