Property guru David Ereira spills some Tel Aviv secrets, including opportunities to rent a luxury seafront apartment and a shop that mixes bespoke spices to suit orders.
This vibrant city is not only one of the world’s most dynamic business cities, it also has amazing food, picturesque beaches and glorious weather. Commercial property expert David Ereira, who has an office here, shares his Tel Aviv tips.
Tel Aviv has a New York lifestyle in the Middle East. The sun shines here for 325 days of the year. It’s also very cosmopolitan – there are 72 nationalities residing in Tel Aviv. So while Hebrew is the first language, English and Arabic are also spoken, along with Russian. All the road signs are in Hebrew, Arabic and English. I’ve been running an office in the city for 15 years – we have so many UK clients wanting to buy properties in Tel Aviv because it’s just the most vibrant place.
If you go on Airbnb, you can find unbelievable properties in amazing locations. A lot of people who have purchased beautiful luxury apartments as their homes let them out for a couple of months a year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to stay in one of the luxury blocks on the seafront.
Breakfast in Israel is the biggest meal of the day. The buffet in the international hotels will include around 60 or 70 dishes – it just goes on and on. There’s no meat but there are a lot of dairy products. I remember as a child going to Israel with my parents and being amazed by these huge breakfasts – I was used to a bowl of cereal! It’s an experience not to be missed. When the state of Israel was established in 1948, kibbutz workers would go out in the field to farm for the day, knowing they wouldn’t stop for lunch, so breakfast was their fuel.
The food is so great in Israel for two reasons. One, a lot of the chefs think outside of the box because they’ve got the most fantastic produce. Israel is one of the few places where you can only get seasonal fruit. The other reason is that most chefs here have Jewish mothers, who will be their biggest critic!
In the past 10 years, Tel Aviv has become a gastronomic destination. I’d recommend The Coffee Bar, which is off the beaten track. It’s like having a beautiful restaurant in the middle of Park Royal Industrial Estate, and it’s been there for 30-odd years. Some of the chefs have been classically trained at restaurants in Paris, New York or London and they go back and add in a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean touch. One of my favourite dishes is pan-fried seabass with roasted cauliflower drizzled with tahini and pomegranate molasses. It’s delicious.
Most business meetings are held in coffee shops. But for a private meeting, a new hotel, Publica, in Herzliya has become the go-to place. Just 10km north of Tel Aviv, it’s the district where Google, Microsoft and Apple are based. There is a very good chance that, if you go there, you will find yourself sitting next to a multibillionaire – albeit a very low-key one.
My greatest secret find in Tel Aviv is at the Hatikva Market. It’s a shop called Naama Spices, which is so discreet you would have no idea it existed. The man who runs it describes himself as a ‘spice pharmacist’ – you tell him what you like to eat and he’ll mix the spices to go with it for you.
For something unusual, try the Dialogue in the Dark tour at the Israeli Children’s Museum. It’s just outside Tel Aviv, in a town called Holon, and you have to book ahead. Here you experience what it’s like to be blind for half an hour – the guides take you through that experience with them. I don’t want to give too much away but it was nothing like I was expecting.
If you get a day to yourself, set the alarm early and head out of town. Drive past Jerusalem to the northern shore of the Dead Sea and spend the early morning rolling around like a hippo in the incredible mineral mud. Then head to Kalia Beach, which is 25 minutes south of Jerusalem and has the lowest elevation bar in the world at around 600 metres below sea level. Stay until it begins to get too hot, then drive back to Jerusalem for a lunch by grazing around the Yehuda Market, which has loads of fantastic pop-up restaurants. After lunch, head to one of the wineries in the Jerusalem hills for a guided tour followed by a wine tasting. Perfect!
David Ereira is a partner at commercial property specialist and investment consultant Ereira Mendoza, which has offices in London and Tel Aviv. He is also vice president of S&P Sephardi – the oldest Jewish community in the UK, dating to the mid-17th century.