Tel Aviv is relatively a small city, but the number of coffee shops that opened and closed can compete with any city double its size. At any hour during the day you will find the cafes fully packed with those who just want to indulge and those who made the cafe their work space. In most cafes in Tel Aviv you will find free WiFi, so even if you just want to chat with friends on WhatsApp or upload a Selfie to Facebook, you will not be limited.
Despite the large number of cafes in Tel Aviv, there is still a big difference between the great cafe places and the ones that’s better not to get near them (sometimes they are right next to each other) or near others which are, well, how to put it gently, just boring. After all, you are coming to Tel Aviv for a limited time and it is better not to fall into a tourist trap or soulless commercial networks. By the way, if you are looking for independent businesses in Tel Aviv, not only coffee shops, but also designers and bookstores, have a glance on project Oorbo that shows recommended and independent places in the city, not based on advertising, only genuine references from people who live in Tel Aviv.
There are many neighborhoodish and cute cafes in Tel Aviv, some of them were opened by guys who just wanted to open a place for friends, some of them already exist for decades, changed owners but kept their nature, some are located on main streets while others are hiding on side streets, known mainly to local residents. Most of them pleasant and friendly and it is likely that just after two or three visits the owners will remember how you like your coffee.
In most of these places the audience are local residents, many of whom are related one way or another to the press, literature, art, and film. It would not be uncommon to see the same faces day after day, sitting for hours on their laptops and working on the next book or movie.
In most of my favorite places, the service is practical, and this is a good thing, but it is likely that if you return day after day, at some point you will be asked for your wellness, at least by some employees or regulars customers and you’ll feel like at home.
These are places where you can hang out with friends, but you can also feel very comfortable going there by yourself, over a cup of coffee and a newspaper or a book, and just relax and observe.
It is common to tip at least 10%, but if you feel friendly and kind, 15% – 20% will still be considered very acceptable amount. And forget all about bargaining, this you can keep for a visit at oriental market atmosphere.
Now the recommendations:
85 King George st. Tel Aviv
The Baccio was established twenty years ago and still retains its freshness. It was built sometime in the early nineties by a young woman. In the beginning it was a small ice cream place with coffee, improvised furniture design from the flea market and lots of good taste and good atmosphere.
Over the years the place has tripled and changed owners but kept its good and artistic mood. This is the place to meet artists, journalists, film makers and some who want to be ones. This is the place to sit with a sketch book or a book or meeting with friends. One of the beautiful things that distinguish the Batccio is intergenerational encounter between many of the regulars, it’s not uncommon to meet there 18 people having lively conversation about literature or music, or between seventy and even eighty. All share a love and passion to the city, coffee, art, and people.
109 Yehoda halevi st. Tel Aviv
Shmanmonett is relatively a new place that was built slightly on a side street but not too much, very near the central Rothschild Boulevard. This is a very neighborhoodish cafe located at the corner, one side is quiet and the other side is noisy and more central.
The place was founded by a group of young friends who are there most of the time and produce occasionally interesting events. It can be a live DJ or sale event in partnership with one of the local businesses. This is another place where you can feel comfortable with friends or alone with a book over a coffee or a glass of wine, a small snack or lunch.
9 Lincoln st. Tel Aviv
Cafe Tachtit is one of the favorite cafes of the neighborhood residents and rarely see here visitors, many regular customer are coming here, a lot of artists and journalists, but you will be happily welcomed here. Location: five minute walk from Rothschild Boulevard to the area that connects the downtown to the east side, the pragmatic and business area. The Tachtit is quite a big place that is open twenty four hours a day and always packed with people and joyful atmosphere, live, lively and dynamic.
There is a huge “work” table for those who want to work on their computers (and you will find them there also on Friday evenings, which are among Israelis traditionally characterized as family and homely), bars facing out for those who want a little privacy, a large and busy seating area, smokers area, and non-smoking one. All are always packed and crowded, full of regular customers and also walk-ins. The menu is simple and diverse, sandwiches, homemade food, or small dishes alongside alcohol. Meat, vegetarian, vegan.
19 King George st. Tel Aviv
The Hanasich Hakatan is actually placed on one of the noisy main streets of Tel Aviv, King George Street. On one side especially cheap falafel stand and on the other side a simple household goods shop. From the shop window it seems like a second-hand bookstore, a little messy and cute, but in the rear a spacious garden, a little oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle.
This the Hanasich Hakatan, second-hand bookstore, café, and culture club for poetry and literature enthusiastic who have made it their second home. This is the place to break away from the city ambiance, sit under a tree in a garden surrounded by shelves of books in all languages, snack something delicious and not expensive (fish, vegetarian or vegan). The Hanasich Hakatan is a very calm place, others have a little bit of it, slightly rough, slightly hipster, and certainly kind.
1 Raynes st. Tel Aviv
Cafe Nahat was established by a guy who worked as a waiter at Bacci’o years ago, the one mentioned first in the list. The interior design of the Nahat responsible the one who founded the Bacci’o twenty years ago. The meaning of the word Nahat is a moment of break or pleasant rest and so is this sweet place, settled in very original location. Located at the bottom of Dizengoff Square, a central area and very crowded and as such is contrary to the intimate perception of quality independent and calm cafes.
Nahat specializes in various types of coffee roasting and even coffee brewing, they will be happy to explain you briefly or lengthy about each species and type of roasting and you can also buy your favorite coffee blend by weight. The food at the cafe is small and precise. Small sandwiches and mini sweets. This is not the place to eat up to fill, the coffee here is in the center. Feel free just to get some rest, sit with a laptop or a book, watch funny little fountain at Dizengoff Square, the one that reminds a birthday cake and once a day ejects fire and water to the classical music sounds. It was the main attraction in Tel Aviv in the eighties, and now it’s a charming nostalgia.
Hi, I’m a former journalist and a fashion designer based in Tel Aviv, and also the editor of project Oorbo – mapping Tel Aviv creative culture scene. I will publish articles about Tel Aviv local & independent culture scene, about all the hidden places that are driven by passion and love to the city as well as to fashion, design, art, shopping, books, cafes, resturants and people.